Fighting like a Girl

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The older I get, the more sick of myself I get.  I grow weary of seeing the same things, doing the same things, having the same flaws.  I find myself trying to soak up as much Scripture and study as possible, all without focus or connection.  At the beginning of this year, God and I had a little chat.  We talked of the sin that continues to run through my life and how I’ve gone years without freedom from it, all the while confessing and trying.  Then, as I was journaling one day, I felt that He wanted more focus from me in some of these areas…like a full on gorilla warfare attack.  I didn’t know what that was supposed to look like but I kept seeking him about it.  Here is a little of what I believe the Spirit told me. 

1.  Choose 1 thing to work on and focus!  I have a large collection of Christian books.  You know, the ones we’re all supposed to have.  I read a few chapters, get reved up enough for whatever I thought I was supposed to do, put it down, and move on to something else.  I jump from topic to topic, which builds knowledge from my study time but doesn’t yield fruit.  So I picked 1 sin.  1 foothold for Satan and Self.  1 thing to do some battle with.  This one thing was a huge issue in my spiritual walk and I can see that it has it’s hands in several areas of my life.

2.  Power up.  One thing I realized is that when I memorize scripture to do battle with, I memorize scripture about that sin.  Hello!  I already know it’s sin.  That’s a good way to remind myself of this truth, but it’s not what I needed in battle.  I started listing sin that talks of the Lord’s strength in deliverance and what obedience looks like in that area.  I began to be fully aware that freedom doesn’t come from me smashing my will, but in trusting in Him to be my strength to stand in that battle.

3.  Flee.  As I was studying 1 Corinthians, I realized that the time of temptation is the arena for either victory or defeat in my sin.  I also realized that I had counted myself defeated so many times because I was tempted, not because I’d sinned.  In that period of temptation, before we step into sin, we must make a choice for deliverance and RUN!  I became aware that in my certain sin that I’m doing battle with, deliverance in victory can happen everytime I choose to flee, not just when I’m not tempted anymore.

I write all of this as if I’m very capable of battling my sins.  I’m not.  That’s why such big lessons needed to be taught by Him.  I’m learning to stop depending on myself and start letting Him be the Deliverer that He died to be.  I will not for one minute think I can handle this on my own. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to edure it.”

And my new favorite:

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you competely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

Do it, Lord, that your glory may be seen. (from a Travis Cottrell song.  I’m not that clever.)

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Following the Leaders

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My life is full of people I want to follow.  I work with some of the most amazing teachers on the planet.  I serve with selfless people who pursue Christ with every ounce of strength they have.  I worship among the most passionate.  I study with a bunch of smartypants.  I look around and am constantly nudged to give more…in the classroom, in the church, in my studies.  The examples around me are a source of power in my life.

Those aren’t the leaders that this post’s title is referring to.  There are people who push me to new limits in my life that I’ve never even met.  I’ve prayed with them through major life/career changes, cross country moves, sending children to Kindergarten, and opening a new church. 

People like Amanda Jones.  I’ve been a silent follower of this wife and mother’s blog for years.  I don’t know why or how I found it.  Most of Amanda’s posts are about motherhood.  I don’t have children.  However, God has used this blog in my life to help me see the needs around me.  Amanda introduced me to one of my newest loves…an organization in India called As Our Own…that ministers to girls taken from brothels.  From the moment she wrote about this ministry, I could think of little else.  One day in my time with the Lord, He said to me, “Today is the day you invest.  Jump in!”  I posted on twitter how grateful I was that Amanda was such an advocate for the least of these. 

Grant Jenkins stands out in my mind for his incredible story of loss, obedience, and provision.  When I started following Grant on twitter, he was working at a Starbucks and would post some fantastic new concoctions.  I watched as Grant served and loved with passion.  After the Nashville flood and the Joplin tornado, Grant jumped into action selflessly.  Grant’s blog is tells a redemption story worth the read.   From what I can tell on twitter, Grant is all about community.  His life is lived intentionally, pouring into others and himself.  An example for all.

Then there is Ann Voskamp.   I love how she uses the word “grace” in almost every tweet.  Ann moves through twitter speaking kindness and encouragement.  I can tell she is a woman of simple compassion.  I’ve recently purchased her book One Thousand Gifts and am constantly challenged by her blog.

How then shall I live?  Will I float through my life busy and unaware?  Will I make moments count?  Will I reach out and touch my sphere of influence with the same passion and compassion as these I’ve discussed.  My only reply can be:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1

That’s what this new blog is about…living obediently in this season.  For those mentioned in this post, thank you for the example.  I’ll probably continue to follow you silently, but know you are being prayed for.  May He get every drop of glory as we run after Him.