Once Upon A Time, I used to work with a bunch of people, and one of the things that we would remind each other was something like this: ‘the interruptions while you’re trying to work are the real work you’re supposed to do’. As long as you’re not creating those interruptions yourself that is…!
It seems I have been interrupted this week. To learn another lesson, or re-learn it, or be reminded of it, one of those options.
I know I have talked about Seasons before here (A Winter Season), and to some extent here (Prophetic 2x4s) and it seems it’s time to talk about them again. Not just because we’re firmly in the grip of Spring, as changeable and fickle as it seems to be here on the Isle at the moment! 30 degrees Celsius one day, snow the next… But also because there seems to be a definite shift in the weather, in a lot of other ways.
You know the beginning of Mary Poppins (the movie)? Everything is sailing along, same as dreary, and suddenly the wind is in the east and change is brewing…
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling it…!!!
I had someone challenge me this week, and they didn’t know they had. I didn’t know what they had done, all I knew was that I was feeling squirrelly and embarrassed and looking for a hole to hide in. It took me the better part of two days in prayer and listening to understand that Jesus was taking me at my word on something, and I was being asked if I was ready to face what I had put my hand up for.
It’s interesting that we can dream and dream with God, but what are we prepared to do when He actually says, “Well, come along then, here is your dream, what will you do with it now?” I think there are lots of things that we take for granted, and for some people, what looks like normal life to some of us, for instance getting a job we like or are good at, buying a house, having a family, even having a legitimate way of providing for that family in safety, can be this kind of enormous dream.
Some of us have more existential dreams. These are no less legitimate, and no less about building the Kingdom of God. They all require us to be about the business of being Authentic. How will our relationship with God stack up against the tests of our obedience in the moments of the fulfilment of our promises, the realisation of our dreams, or the tests of our hearts in the face of the rubber hitting the road.
We learn a lot about ourselves when these things happen. When the season changes from dormant to active, when the poop hits the fan, the rubber hits the road, when God takes us at our word. Are we really prepared? Am I prepared to grow?
This is why the hard yards in the times when everything looks quiet are so very necessary. If we lay around when nothing looks like it’s happening, how can we stand up when we are being challenged?
Athletes don’t get to the Olympics because they look good or have their names picked out of a hat. They put in hours and hours of training. In the worst weather and in the best weather, just so they might get a shot every four years of representing their country on a global level. Even then it’s not guaranteed. They still have to trial the best out of their fields in their own country first.
I’m firstly writing these things as a reminder to myself. Jesus spoke about his return like this:
‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will make them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or towards daybreak. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’ Luke 12:35-40 (NIV)
Our relationship with God needs to be about authenticity and increasing intimacy. We need to be able to be honest with ourselves and God and the world around us where we are at on a whole bunch of different levels, as it is actually appropriate for each situation.
If this is true, then anything that is done by us, anything that happens for us, or to us will be viewed by others through this relationship. Even if they do not know us, or have known us by our behaviour in the past, our present Authentic, Intimate Relationship with God will speak those words that need to be spoken.
But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. Luke 21:14-15 (NIV)
(Also Luke 12:11-12 (NIV), Matthew 10:19-20 (NIV))
Again, Jesus reminding us, that God’s got it all under control…! Woo! The only thing we have to do, is make sure that we have exercised our relationship muscles really well, so that we can be disgustingly confident in our super amazeballs dipped in awesomesauce God!
I have a feeling that all my life I have been set up to love Jesus in a completely outrageous manner; probably before my life began.
Even at Catholic school we used to sing every week a song of the Vocationally-Ruined-Forever-Lovers-&-Dogged-Pursuers-Of-The-Eternal-God. Here is the chorus, the rest is below:
So I leave my boats behind!
Leave them on familiar shores;
Set my heart upon the deep;
Follow you again, my Lord!
I know I didn’t do a good job for a long time, I did a pretty garbage job for a while. I can’t get out of that, but I can live the life of Authenticity and Intimacy that I was made for, as can everyone, no matter where they’ve been. I think sometimes we have less Grace for ourselves than we have for others.
I pray that whatever it is that He is calling you to, His Joy and an underlying sense of Peace will carry you through your growth into it.
Realising things about yourself and dealing with them is not always smooth and lovely looking, but it can always be accompanied by a deep sense of Joy and Peace. You’re getting somewhere, you’re going somewhere, you’re becoming the best you, the most authentic you, the you He created you to be!
God Bless You Very Much.
Deep within my heart, I feel voices whispering to me.
Words that I can’t understand; Meanings I can’t clearly hear!
Calling me to follow close, lest I leave myself behind!
Calling me to walk into evening shadows one more time!
So I leave my boats behind!
Leave them on familiar shores!
Set my heart upon the deep!
Follow you again, my Lord!
In my memories, I know how you send familiar rains
falling gently on my days, dancing patterns on my pain!
And I need to learn once more in the fortress of my mind,
to believe in falling rain as I travel deserts dry!
As I gaze into the night down the future of my years,
I’m not sure I want to walk past horizons that I know!
But I feel my spirit called like a stirring deep within,
restless, ’til I live again beyond the fears that close me in!