Two words that change everything!
Something in the Church Punch!
Earlier this month I had an opportunity to speak at our Women’s Christmas banquet and I came home with an epic hangover! Now it’s not what you’re thinking! I came home with an epic vulnerability hangover. My life story seems so far off the grid of the average pew dweller. After sharing it, I feel incredibly exposed. Shame not only rears its ugly head but also completely engulfs me. When I got home that night my husband asked how it went and I told him we were going to need to change churches. There must be something in the church punch that makes me feel this way!
Wow in the Worst Way!
Don’t get me wrong. I love my church family and I know that they love me. The problem is the spin that the enemy puts on what seems like harmless feedback. After sharing my life story at any speaking engagement, I get a very consistent reaction.
“Wow, you’re so brave to share all of that. “
“Wow, you’re so honest.”
My interpretation? “Wow, I can’t believe you just humiliated yourself like that.”
I just took my mask off. Quick, put it back on!!! Enter in the epic vulnerability hangover. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning!
Phone A Friend Lifeline
Good news. I believe that this is it. This is the vulnerability hangover that will get me to my bottom. And so I vow never to share my life story publicly again. Never! And wouldn’t you know it, the minute I say it, scratch that, the minute I think it, Jesus taps me on the shoulder and whispers this, “Never say never.” To which I reply, “I heard you Jesus but when you said never say never, you didn’t really mean never, right?”
Sound familiar? So being unclear on God’s clear direction I decide that now is a good time to utilize my phone a friend option. I call my sage mentor, Beth. Surely Beth will tell me what I want to hear, I mean speak truth into my life. And much to my dismay she surprises me with this zinger?
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40 NKJV).
Beth, really!? Seconds. That’s all it took for this arrow of truth to pierce my heart. While I’m laying there dying a slow death to self, she finishes the job with this?
Beth: Did Jesus lead you to share what you shared?
Beth: So who are you to question why He wanted you to share it?
Beth: Was Jesus controversial?
Beth: Was Jesus met with criticism?
Beth: Did everyone get what He was talking about?
Beth: So why should the student’s experience be any different than the teacher’s?
Wow. Why should my experience be any different than Christ’s? Put a fork in it, I’m done!
Take Up Your Cross
When I signed up to be a Christian, what exactly did I sign up for? Forgiveness of sins? Check. Assurance of salvation? Check, I need that. 24/7 access to God of the Universe? Check. Love relationship with Jesus? Yes, yes, yes! Disciple of Christ? Huh? Take up your cross? Wait, what?
One of the first bible verses I memorized when I became a Christian says this,
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).
The Greek verb used for crucified is systeraoo. It means “By the death of Christ upon the cross, I have become utterly estranged from (dead to) my former habit of feeling and action.” (Strongs). I’m not sure I can say that I’m estranged from (dead to) my former habit of feeling and action. In fact I know I can’t. Can you? I’m afraid I act all too often on my own feelings. I’m afraid “sister Selfie” still prevails on many days. So God says,
Take up your cross daily and follow me (Matthew 16:24)
What exactly does it mean to take up your cross and follow Jesus? It means a lot more than dangling a piece of jewelry around my neck. For Jesus, it meant giving everything, his very life, for the good of other people. Why would it or should it mean anything different for me?
Can you imagine for just one second what this world would be like if we woke up every day and simply said yes to God. Imagine what our churches would be like. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like. Imagine what we would be like!
I’m so thankful for faithful friends in my life like Beth who don’t just tell me what I want to hear but challenge me using the truth of God’s word. I know I need more of that. How about you?
One Step At a Time
What’s God asking you to do today? Do you trust Him enough to be willing to say yes? Is there something He wants you to make time for in your over baked schedule? Is there someone He wants you to forgive? Is there something He wants you to make right? Is there an idol He wants you to lay down? Is there someone He wants you to pick up the phone and call? Is He asking you to get your priorities back in order? Is He asking you to take that first step of faith without knowing what’s at the top of the staircase? Is there something you feel strongly about that He’s asking you to give up? Will it hurt? Is it risky? Will it cost you everything? Why should the student’s experience be any different than the teacher’s?
Wherever He’s sending you, whatever He’s asking you to do, whether you feel like it or not, starting today, let’s do this together, take up your cross and say yes. Don’t overthink it. Don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it simple “sheep!” Take it one day at a time, one step at a time. You know His voice. When you hear Him give you your marching orders, say yes God. Those two simple words have the power to change evvvvverything!
Want to go deeper on today’s topic? Download the free study guide. And remember, someone needs to hear this as we head into the New Year.
Don’t forget to share the joy!