23 August, 2006

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted... Things have been crazy here in Denver. I was the assistant director of my school's orientation weekend for the 400 new students starting this year. Starting Thursday of last week we had 1,000+ people on our campus. The weekend went well except for the two fires that happened on Friday afternoon - one was smoke only, the other one was in the basement of a town home... Fortunately no one was hurt in either – and the basement fire was mostly structural, but I think it can be repaired.

I feel as though the last two weeks have been this whirlwind of activity and most of it’s been good, if I could just wrap my mind around it. Let me explain… Two weeks ago I went with my mommy to the leadership conference put on by Willowcreek. I was a wee bit skeptical about the whole thing really, but my mom thought it would be a good idea, and it did get my off work for two days – so I went – half expecting to spend much of 2.5 days journaling and zoning and counting spots on the ceiling. But – wow – how wrong I was. From the second speaker on I knew I was in trouble because I could feel my soul stirring in a way it hasn’t for a very long time. The conference is geared toward church leaders – but there was so much that was applicable to me as a person, and me hoping to start a NGO. I learned about communication, how to lead, and the importance (a duh statement I know, but you forget!) of letting God be first and seeking Him before you even move. Someone said something along the lines of, “Don’t try to make God bless you by fitting Him into your plans, discover where His passion is, where He is already moving – and you will never be out of His blessing.” That hit me and encouraged me because I know God loves children and I know He has a special place for the poor. He commands us to take care of the widowed, orphaned, and hurting – and I plan to do that for two groups of people He has a definite leaning towards. Above that, I am going to do it in His name! This conference really jumped started me again on the process of figuring out what I want to do, and how, with this NGO I’m going to start. I was in a rut, had hit a wall, and God used this conference to get me going…

But it wasn’t all good… He also used it to reveal how far I am from being the kind of person people would follow willingly. I discovered I am a very fearful leader, someone who either shrinks away from, or uses fear to lead others. That’s bad. I also realized that since coming back from DC I had done everything to pour myself out without doing anything to refill myself – which could explain the mental breakdown, the increased sickness, the apathy and tiredness that has engulfed me for the last 6 months. God smacked me across the face, woke me up, and turned me on to Him again – in a real way, in a way that acknowledges, maybe for the first time, an understanding of His grace and what that means to me, and how that should impact the way I live.

But with the awakening from God came an attack from satan.

I was in the most sour mood starting Monday when I had to come back. Sunday I was just exhausted (and I still am) but Monday I had sunk to this place of “I am so far from what God wants, I am ineffective, mean, hurtful, I can’t lead people, everyone just leave me alone and let me sit in my corner.” Yeah…Not good. So I spent much of the next two days quiet and on my wits end – I was short tempered and if I didn’t like you watch out. It’s amazing how quickly what we hear goes in one ear and out the other…

But He woke me up! I’ve come to see that following Him, in a radical, life altering way, takes time, perseverance and an intentional decision to do so. It’s not just “I’m a Christian, change my Father.” It’s spending time in His word, praying, being intentional about the guidance you seek, asking (and being ready for) Him to break you and kick your butt so you can be refined closer to Him. It really is the attitude of turning to satan and saying, “Bring it on” knowing whatever he does will only make you draw closer to Him. It’s learning to walk with Him morning, noon, and night; and being very intentional about spending time with Him, in prayer, in making your devotional not just be skimming the Bible but reading the words, letting them come alive in you.

We make the study (finding) of God so hard, so regimented, when I think He just wants us to come, admit our weaknesses and ignorance, and let ourselves be open to Him. He wants our love and devotion – not our actions and regiments. How is being pharisaical (which I feel most churches and Christians are today) helpful? Look at who He was pleased with – the meek, the humble, those who cared for the people the world had rejected, those who just LOVED Him without really expecting too much in return this side of heaven…

That’s what I’ve come to in the last two weeks. It started in DC, resurfaced in April, and hit me like a 2x4 last week. God does not want perfection – He does not want someone chasing after the Joneses or the latest Hollywood lie – He wants a humble servant, bringing the few things they have to His feet and saying, “USE ME! I AM YOURS!”

I am so exhausted and have had a persistent headache for almost two weeks. My body is not right – but I am pressing on. I think it’s satan trying to hurt me, to drain me physically to damper me emotionally – but I will not give in. So I pray for strength and rely on Him because I don’t know how to get through a day.

I’m growing, I’m being refined – it hurts like hell – but I am loving every moment!

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© Amanda Lunday