Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As for me and my house...

I have heard the story of the Israelites and the Promised Land many times; focussing on different aspects of it at different times. There’s quite a number of things that we can learn (should learn) from them, for example:
a. not to take '40 years' to travel an '11 day' journey.
b. not to go around the same 'mountain' continuously.
c. not to be as unbelieving as they were despite the many miracles God done.
d. sometimes life is 'exiting Egypt', and other times the wilderness with God.
e. God did miracles then, and can still do the impossible today if we believe.
f. we should have faith like the 2 spies, and not be like the 10 'grasshoppers'.

For a long time I was under the wrong impression that the Israelites inherited the land after 40 years, instead of much sooner; the idea of a second chance, so to speak. But recently Holy Spirit has been dealing with me about my own Promised Land, and something started showing up very differently to the way that I’ve thought about it till now.

Yes, the Israelites (as a NATION) had a second chance after the forty years of wandering in the desert, but not the same Israelites that made the decision not to trust with the first attempt at possessing the promise.

With the first attempt the spies went to see the land that God has promised them; was it really as great as God had described it? They returned and gave their report to Moses. Ten were very negative, only focussed on the giants, and how tiny they were in comparison, and how that made it impossible to take the land. They were basically saying that God was unable to give them what He has promised. They reduced God to the size of the grasshoppers that they saw themselves as.

Two spies (Joshua and Caleb) were men with a different heart. Their attitude was one of “but GOD SAID”. “Look at these grapes, it’s h-u-g-e, and it really is a land flowing with milk and honey as God said. The soil was fertile, there was plenty grazing for the animals, and they could most certainly live a good life there; just as God has promised. They looked at the giants and thought “they’re big, but GOD SAID, and therefore we are well able!!” This was crunch time – do or die – “come on, guys, lets trust the Lord and have this awesome land!”

A while ago I learnt the ‘overnight’ lesson and the importance of obeying God. God said, “take the Land” and Israelites said, “booo-hoooo”. Then they went to bed, and the next morning, when they’ve changed their minds, it was too late; God had said they must turn back into the wilderness, and if they tried on their own to take the Land, they would be defeated. Now they couldn’t touch the promise, even if they wanted to.

The New Living Translation says it so nicely (this is just after the spies had given their report): (Numbers 14:1-3 Then all the people began weeping aloud, and they carried on all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of complaint against Moses and Aaron. “We wish we had died in Egypt,” they wailed, “or even here in the wilderness, rather than be taken into this country ahead of us.”) Imagine wanting to die in the desert (or anywhere) more than you want a land flowing with milk and honey.

Then in verse 40 it says “They were up early the next morning, and started towards the Promised Land. “Here we are!” they said. “We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to go on into the land the Lord has promised us.” But Moses said, “It’s too late.” I thought this a little blasé of them...

You see, in verse 22 God says, “...so it is true that not one of the men who has seen my glory and the miracles I did both in Egypt and in the wilderness – and ten times refused to trust me and obey me – shall even see the land I promised...,” verse 25, “But now, since the people of Israel are so afraid of the Amelekites and the Canaanites living in the valleys, tomorrow you must turn back into the wilderness...,” and verse 28, “Tell them, ‘The Lord vows to do to you what you feared. You will all die here in this wilderness! Not a single one of you twenty years old and older, who has complained against Me, shall enter the Promised Land.” (Except for Caleb and Joshua, of course.)

It struck me like a ton of bricks to realize that things changed literally over night. They were RIGHT there! They would still rather die in the wilderness after ALL that God has done for them.

And, ironically, they were constantly complaining to Moses that he had brought them into the wilderness to die. This was not Moses’ idea, and most certainly not God’s, but it was the choice of the people. God showed them HOW MANY miracles, and often, straight away, they went back to complaining and crying. Come to think of it, they were really insulting God. He showed Himself as a loving God. He provided in every need and some. He defeated the enemies. He led them exactly where they were to go, and didn’t leave them alone for one moment. And still they labelled Him as not loving, not caring, and having bad intentions with them. All He wanted was that they would trust and obey... He offered them ‘the world’ in exchange. Not much to ask of them, he?

Yes, the Israelites had a second attempt forty years later, but they were not the same men that stood outside the Land the first time. They were the next generation; those that God spoke about of younger than twenty. There was no second chance.

So, if you think about it, the Israelites really wondered in circles for forty years, waiting for everyone twenty and older that refused to trust God, to die, so that the word that God spoke in Numbers 14:29 would be fulfilled.

I had realized two things:

1. When God speaks, you listen. If He says “today”, then it does not mean ‘tomorrow’. You could lose the moment for waiting over night (which, to us, does not seem like a big deal, but for God obedience IS a big deal), and,

2. You might not get a second chance. God might not strike you with lightening, but you could miss God’s ultimate for you. Yes, God could still show you grace, but it would not be the best that He had planned for you. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a big fan of ‘second (third, fourth, fifth) best’. I want it all!

I feel such a sense of urgency about obeying God. Now is NOT the time to act ‘wimpy’. It is the time to stand up in the authority that we have in Christ, to FIGHT the battle, and to determine that we WILL trust God. He is a good God, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has never been a God with bad intentions who let His children down. He is not about to start doing so now!

I want to echo what Joshua said in Joshua 24:15 “But if you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey... But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Decoys & fishing tackle - creation & imitation

I looked up the meaning of the word ‘decoy’. It means “distracter” (somebody or something used to deceive or divert attention, especially in order to lure somebody into a trap) or “lure to attract animal” (used by hunters to attract wildlife to a place for trapping or shooting).

I was just reminded today what a sneaky cheat the devil is. I particularly thought back on two rather important points in my life. One relates to relationships/romance, and the other to destiny.

When I was younger all I wanted to do was marry and have a family. This desire has always seemed to be a target for attack in my life. Whenever the enemy wanted to serve me a low blow, he would send a guy along, I would loose my heart, and while I’m still contemplating whether something might come of it, they’ve moved on to greener pastures, leaving a shattered heart in their wake. Initially, it took me a long time to get over these rejections, but by grace, I’m grateful that it did become easier with time. However, I still felt some anger for being so stupid and having to waste valuable time to heal.

My last experience had a few significant aspects. I realized afterwards just how the enemy used elements that are really important in my life to deceive me with. My sister, whom I am very close with, was moving to Cape Town for her husband having had accepted a job there. Her leaving was hard for me, and Cape Town is not exactly just around the next bend. The night she left I went out with some friends as to not sit at home alone, feeling sad. I met someone there who thought she was giving me a ‘prophetic word’ for my life about a husband. She said that he would be arriving soon (as in roughly a year from then), and a few things about how great he would be and how God was going to bless me. I do believe in prophetic words and have some come true for my life, but not everything everyone says is necessarily from God.

I felt blessed at the time. I thought that God was really seeing me and encouraging me that something new is on its way even though I felt a loss right then. I would never have expected that from a night out. However, a few people have told me about meeting my husband, and none of that came to pass. So having grown wiser with time, I was wise this time. I would put it in my back pocket, pray about it, and if it was God, it had to happen, right?

So, eleven months down the line a guy approaches me – dark, like she said he would be – and I wondered: “God, is this the guy?” I wasn’t looking for someone, just waiting to see what would happen. I liked him, and started to slowly get to know him better. It turned out this guy was involved with a woman at the time of approaching me (I was the ‘other woman’ and didn’t know it). After about three weeks, he started avoiding me, lying and standing me up. I asked God for a sign, and He gave it to me. I caught them out and then the truth dawned on me. I knew then that he was not ‘the one’. I didn’t meet anyone else at the time or since. I cannot say, though, that I did not feel disappointed. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe this would be the end of the search for me.

I realized that the devil also heard the ‘prophecy’. He also knows our heart desires, and uses it against us. If he can keep us broken, disappointed and hopeless we cannot live victoriously as God intends for us. He ‘sent’ a man that looked, smelt and felt like ‘the one’, and because I was expecting something, I got caught for a sucker, and didn’t discern properly. He certainly had me distracted, and then left me broken again. I can only conclude that I was most certainly set up.

Now, in this defining season of my life – having resigned from my job, believing that it is how God lead me to do – another interesting experience came along.

I’ve been feeling very strongly in my heart since December 2008 that something big was going to change in my life around July 2009. I don’t know where the ‘idea’ comes from, but I’ve been praying about it and keeping an eye on the calendar as the days passed, expectant of what is going to happen, if anything. After all, if it is from God something should happen, right?

Then, as if on cue, something happened in my family, and I thought: “God, is this it?” I don’t believe that everything that just naturally happens is from God (e.g. David had two opportunities to kill Saul, but he knew those were not of God). When opportunities arise I normally talk to God about it, and ask Him to guide me with wisdom in my decision, and that He will give me peace if I must go ahead. In Colossians 3 God says that we must let His peace be the empire in our hearts when we have to make decisions. So I started praying about the opportunity that this illness has presented.

However, three months later, I still have no peace about this opportunity. I do not believe in my heart that this opportunity is God’s plan for my life. It looked, smelt and felt like it could be it, but I have no peace. For that reason I would not move forward. I believe that God spoke to my heart a few months ago and said that it is very important to have a strong discerning awareness of the next step before proceeding, and that timing is everything. I do not have it, so I’ve decided “no peace, no go”.

I think that is so important that we stay in a strong relationship with God, and that we keep our hearts tuned in to His voice. I believe that God wants us to have an amazing life, but I think sometimes we make choices because they are all that we can see, even if we don’t have peace about them. I think we let fear be the empire rather than peace. We will never know what God might have done for us if we trusted Him to be led by His peace. One thing I’ve learnt is that God is never in a hurry. He is not an instant God. Often he teaches us patience, stronger faith and intimacy with Him while waiting for the right time and the right opportunities. This is not easy, but when I look back over the hard times of my life, when all I had was God to cling to for life and death, I know that I wouldn’t want to be in any other place than what I share with God as a result of trusting Him on those journeys.

The devil cannot create. He can only imitate. He would take any good thing that God created and pervert it for his purpose of destruction. He cannot be trusted. I can understand why God stresses the importance of praying and watching. Satan puts bait on his hooks, setting a trap for us to be hurt or destroyed. If we don’t pray, watch and discern we could find ourselves taking a bite and before we know it, we are hooked. The moment the hook pierces the skin, is usually the moment that we realize that it is too late, and that the devil shows himself for who and what he really is. He never sticks around for the consequence. He is too busy baiting his hook for the next victim...

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; know Him in all your ways and He will direct your path. This way you will be best able to recognize the real McCoy; the only one really worth having!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A cuppa 'interesting' with me

It is overcast this morning. A 30% chance of rain was predicted. It looks like it’s going to be a good day... This morning I decided to do something a little different. I felt compelled to come to the local M & B (Mug & Bean) for breakfast and coffee at 9am. A first for me for sure. (I used to be a religious ‘nine to fiver’.) Join me for a cup of steaming ‘interesting’....

Initially it was rather busy. Against one wall you have all the tables filled with people typing away on their laptops. Same is true for the opposite wall. I did not know this before, but at this M&B they have made provision for electrical points for those with laptop computers so that you can stay all day. I did not even pack my power cable, thinking I would not be able to use it anyway, and calculating how much battery time I might have as an indication of how much I can get done whilst at the coffee shop. I’ll remember this for next time (smiling to myself).

Next to the lined up laptops, you have the more traditional news paper readers. They don’t need a power point off course, maybe the precise reason for having brought the newspaper instead.

Against another window you have two mommies having some ‘girly coffee’, as a friend of mine calls it. They have just dropped the kids off at school, and use the valuable time available for some woman to woman chit chat. Just watching them, it certainly looks like being a mommy is hard work. I often wonder how I would fare as a mother, but it appears as if their lives are basically consumed with the wants and needs of the children and the husband. I wonder where do you find time to be a woman; an individual. Who sees to your wants and needs? Or where do you squeeze it into your schedule? Or do you eventually not even notice anymore that all of that has faded into the lives of the other in your home, and wondering “who am I”, or is there not even time to think about that? I think you have to be a mommy to understand it.

Against the one pillar sits a young lady – not married (by the look of it) – also on a laptop. It would appear that she does this frequently. She seemed to know that you can plug your computer in at the M&B. I can’t see what she is doing, but she stares at the screen, and occasionally types something. I’ve wondered to ask her. Maybe later.

At another table you have four men in their mid fourties or fifties. They’re obviously discussing business of some sort. I wonder how many 'power deals' are made in coffee shops and restaurants, over a cup of coffee.

And at another there are two gentlemen having, what sounds like, a job interview. “So, what is it that you say you do again...?”

A young, pregnant lady passes in front of the coffee shop on foot. She seems to be in a hurry. My impression makes me wonder whether she is employed. Is she married? I could not see if she is wearing a ring; is she able to take care of the little bundle of joy that would be arriving fairly soon, by the look of it...? Does she have someone to help her? How will you ever know? More often now than before, so many young girls (almost not qualifying for womanhood yet) fall into the ‘trap’ of pregnancy with no means to support the little innocent baby. So sad for both the mother and the little one... I had a broken family. No one should have that, yet too many do. Also, the young ladies, now a days, often look so much older than they are. Society does not grant kids the opportunity to be children anymore. Everything has to be instant, happening at the speed of light, including growing up. I think we often then land up with a society of young ones who did not have time enough for laying proper foundations, and here they are trying to construct adulthood. Obviously it is not the same for everyone, but I think it most certainly is the story of many a young life in the modern century.

The smell of freshly ground coffee and muffins fill the air. Just the way a coffee shop should smell; probably one of the reasons why many flock to them so frequently.

This morning I realize how much of life happens over a steaming cup of coffee: business deals are closed, mommies meet about the kids, and woman meet to preserve their sanity away from the kids, friendships are formed, estranged friends reconnect, people fall in love, dreams are dreamt, conflict is resolved, hearts are encouraged, special occasions are shared and celebrated, and sometimes it is just a little time out, to find yourself again in the rat race of everyday life; to snack on a little something for the hunger and a little something for the soul.

Shortly after nine everyone seems to 'evaporate'. It makes me wonder what they do for a living. What hours do you keep, if not nine to five? Amazing how narrow minded you can become in the tunnel of nine to five. You lose sight of the reality that there is a whole wide world out there; options you have never even considered, as you drag yourself through each day toward that salary cheque at the end of each month, thinking you have no other choice. Or do you...? It is only when you emerge from the 'tunnel' that you often get to see the sun. Many never do.

Waiters start to sweep the floor. Others wash the windows. Another sits down at a table doing the admin for the shop. These are activities that I don't usually think of when a coffee shop comes to mind. Yet, they are necessary, and done in between life over a steaming cup of coffee.

Sitting here, looking at what happens around me, I realize that every day is completely unique. Not one day has the same people, coming for the same reasons, passing by at the same time. A different view of the world for me indeed.

The sun is starting to peak through the clouds. It’s going to be a beautiful day! Maybe it will even rain a little later. I think I'll be back for another cuppa.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dare to desire!

My sister blessed me with a book by John Eldredge called Dare to Desire. It made me think about this concept more than I probably ever have. D-a-r-e to desire... John had obviously discovered that it takes guts to desire. God might just give it to you.

I have to be honest that I have not always been bold enough to desire. I have very big dreams in my heart, and I have whispered them to God occasionally. On this journey in my life there is more focus on dreams, God’s will for me and the possibility of fulfillment. I’ve been thinking a lot about a moment that, I believe, might have been a defining moment for me.

A few months ago my employer requested something of me that I really felt convinced is wrong. I felt strongly that I would have to compromise my character before God to do it, and I just couldn’t accept it. The thought of it caused anxiousness and upset. I’ve been unhappy at work for quite some time, but on this day, I felt it a cherry on the cake. I had to escape and breath; talk it over with God.

I took a drive to a nearby lake, all the way telling God how angry I felt that they could even consider this idea, venting my frustration, swinging my fists at heaven, having a rather intense ‘heart to heart’. How could this happen? I asked God that if I’m wrong, by all means, then show me, and let us resolve it between us, but I couldn’t settle down about this. I’ve had to deal with a lot of upset for a long time and I tried to be mature about it, but it was more like trying to suppress a volcano. This day the volcano erupted. I called out with great desperation: “God, I WANT OUT!!!”

IMMEDIATELY after I’ve uttered the words I felt such a rush of emotion. I felt scared and relieved all at the same time. I felt scared that God had heard me, and that maybe He would do something about my circumstance. (Ironic, isn’t it, how you can be afraid that God would hear you, and yet He knows every thought before you even think it.) I also felt relieved that I had finally said what I’ve been thinking for so long. I felt a kind of pride for having had the courage to call it by name, and not to whisper it anymore.

I’ve often seen it in movies: usually a couple having an argument in a public place, the conversation heats up, they yell and act out, and all of a sudden you realize that everyone has been listening, having stopped what they were doing, and staring at you intently. You feel embarrassed and flea from the room. I felt like the whole of heaven had sat up and taken note of what I had just uttered. I didn’t feel like I could flea the ‘room’...

I wanted to ‘apologise’, tell God that I didn’t mean what I said. That maybe, with His help, if I co-operate, we could do this better together. Maybe the circumstance is not that bad, I just need to grow more mature as a Christian, then I’ll be able to handle it, and then it, and then it won’t need to change after all. (Funny, isn’t it, how we negotiate with God?)

Being honest with yourself is scary – afterwards you cannot pretend that it is not what you think or feel, and change of some sort is imminent; a point of no return somehow.

As much as I desired it, I felt fear for God moving me out of my comfort zone; a place where being miserable has become acceptable for me – my normal, my familiar. When did I start settling for miserable?

Define ‘comfort zone’? Maybe you imagine a comfortable place (maybe a sofa), with your feet up, putting your head back, a steaming cup of coffee on the side table and a foot rub, no interruptions, not a care in the world. Or maybe for some it is the illusion of being on a tropical island somewhere, toes in the sand, an exotic pineapple umbrella drink, the sun on your face. However, that is very often NOT the comfort zone that people find themselves in. Strange how a comfort zone can be everything but comfortable...

Often it is a place like what mine used to be. A place where you’ve become familiar (‘friends’) with your bad circumstance; your pain, anger and being miserable most of the day, every day. “Rather the devil you know, than the one you don’t”, right? You’ve suppressed your dreams to the point where you almost don’t remember having it, and you’ve ‘accepted’ that your life is the best that it will ever get, calling it ‘contentment’. You encourage yourself that you should be grateful for at least having a job. Many are not that fortunate. You’ve become your own hero... In the meantime you exchange little pieces of your soul for a monthly salary cheque.

This has become my ‘normal’. But now I was realizing that it wasn’t good enough anymore. I have dreams in my heart, and big ones at it! The burden of carrying unfulfilled dreams also takes its toll... We have just become so numb that we don’t realize it anymore, and we’ve stopped looking for opportunities to make our dreams come true, stopped trusting God for the extraordinary.

Please, don’t misunderstand: it is good to be grateful for a job, and yes, many only wish they had a job, but this is about living a mundane existence because you don’t believe that you can have anything better. In this context that would be existing, rather than living! I believe that God wants us to have life abundantly, including living fulfilled lives with purpose.

To desire takes guts! You might get your dream, but you will have to give up some familiarities in order to have room to contain the dream. Many of you might have heard the saying that you can’t discover new oceans without losing sight of the shore. The scary bit is that you usually have to let go of the familiar first. You might feel a sense of empty handedness, but if you have your hands full, you won’t be able to receive what God has for you. Yes, to desire certainly takes guts!

A few days ago I felt that God was telling me that, should I choose to get into His river, I will be astounded. He wants to do more than I could even imagine. I wonder what it is like to be astounded by God. Only one way to find out... I guess I will have to Dare to Desire!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Skinny cows & bolognaise

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time working on my blog. I’ve been deliberating over what to write, how to arrange different pieces, and discovering some that I’ve written over time past. It really made me think: “What has happened to that girl – the Liane who wrote these inspiring pieces?” It appears as if I believed that anything was possible. I had hope in my heart and a sparkle in my eye.

But then things changed: The world seemed to become a cruel, selfish place, and the hurt and disappointment of it chipped away at the hope and enthusiasm in my heart. I had lost some of that innocence and my hope had become clouded by all the hardship and difficulty that I had experienced. I had become an angry Liane.

It’s been a tough seven years. I often think of it, smiling to myself, as the seven
fat cows and the seven skinny cows in the dream that Joseph interpreted for Pharaoh. You see, the seven years prior were such great years that my heart wanted to burst with thanksgiving for God’s goodness. I desperately wanted everyone around me to feel such hope.

The past seven years I have found myself often desperately just reaching for enough strength and grace to get through a day. I eventually started losing hope that it might never get better, even though God would always faithfully be there to help me despite of. I almost became a survivor, instead of the conqueror that God sees me as. Sometimes I felt stretched, and sometimes torn. Yes, God had been faithful to encourage and strengthen me – He always faithfully helped me back to a grace space, reassuring me that He’s got my back; encouraging, strengthening and comforting me.

Then, in the past week God had allowed change to come to my life. I’ve had the opportunity to step away from the negativity that had come to gradually smother me over time. It almost completely put out the flame in my heart.

It made me think about why I write.

I really believe in my heart that God has given me MUCH. I have such a desire to use it for His glory and His purposes; to be part of the “change the world one life at a time” process. I want for people to realize that each one of us has been given a LOT. However, most people don’t even know the treasures in their treasure box. Some don’t even know they have a treasure box, let alone treasure. How can they enjoy it, use it and ultimately live fully? It burns in my heart that my life would be a vehicle to touch and change people’s lives; for their eyes to open to the treasure chests inside of them. They have to be able to experience the WOW of it for themselves, embrace it and enjoy it. Only then can they start to share those jewels with anyone else. Ultimately it would have had to change their life so much that they would reach out to another so that they too, in turn, can realize their preciousness and for the cycle to repeat itself over and over again.

What is precious to me is that, in digging up these writings of mine, I was reminded of the girl I was then, and encouraged to refocus on the woman that I want to be now. It has been precious that the very reason why I write has become a special instrument to speak into my own life in this time at God’s feet. Amazing how God sometimes bring us back to ‘familiar’ truths where we learn something new from it every time.

Reading my bible is often the same: I would read a passage and think: “oooohhh – aaaaah”, and then some time later, Holy Spirit would remind me of it again, and show me something new that I had not realized the last time I looked at it, and again precisely applicable to that particular time in my life.

In a way it reminds me of my spaghetti bolognaise; I don’t understand why, but it always seems to taste better the next day. (I usually have enough for more than one meal, so I keep it refrigerated, and then conveniently warm it for supper the next evening.) It’s familiar, yet more tasty the second time around...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A big question...

I got married when I was very young. Even though the cost was VERY high, I've learnt much from that mistake. Still today do I look back on it, and find lessons that I've learnt that help me with decisions in the present.

I was very ignorant back then. I had some concerns about intimacy in our relationship. It took me a while to realize that it is more than a spiritual experience, but while I didn't know better I was concerned for not having an intimate desire for my husband to be. Only years later did I realize that it wasn't merely about the intimacy, but rather what it was an indication of: getting married was not the right thing to do. Our relationship was not in a place of "I do". I didn’t have the courage to break it off, so I was desperately searching for a reason that would make sense (and not just a 'feeling') so that I could justify backing out of the wedding without the guilt for not pleasing people's expectations. I couldn't bear the thought of disappointing people, but apparently I could bear disobeying God in favour of my fear of people. The ironic thing was that, once everything had fallen apart, none of the people that I was afraid to let down was really around to help me. But the God that I did let down, was! I learnt a lot about making decisions. It really is true: Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Know Him in all your ways, and He will direct your path, and to be afraid of people will get you into trouble, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe.

The man I married was a good man. It looked good, it smelt good, but it was not God's best for me. I learnt that sometimes 'nice' simply doesn't cut it, and everything that seems to come your way 'naturally' is not necessarily a path from God that you should follow. No matter how nice my husband was, God spoke with my heart not to go ahead, but my fear exceeded my faith, and I went ahead in disobedience.

One day (shortly after the divorce was finalized) I was wondering in a bookstore and came across a book where the author was telling about following your gut. She said something along the lines of: "some call it a sixth sense, some call it gut feeling, some call it instinct, but whatever you call it, she believed that it was a way in which God communicates with us." She proceeded to tell the reader how she believes that one should always follow it. I knew that day that what she was saying, is true. I knew in my gut that I was doing the wrong thing - mostly everyone else seemed to think otherwise - and controlled by fear I did not have the courage to follow my own heart, but rather positioned myself to please the people. With every step I took, I felt like I couldn't turn back - I felt obligated to keep moving forward - and yet I was well aware that I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

Why am I thinking about this again today: I have resigned by job at TWP. I don't know what God has for me next. How do I go forward from where I am at? Again a pretty big decision, isn't it; a lot to consider.

When I got married, I was in love with the idea of being married, but I was not in love with the man. I was in love with the idea of being singled out by someone as one and only; with the idea of having a family (something I did not know much about growing up, and desired more than anything). When I wanted a divorce, some people suggested that I stay for the financial comfort and luxuries and any other perks that I enjoyed as the Mrs. I had learnt back then that there are some things that money simply cannot buy. So would I continue to betray myself, or would I have the courage to be true to myself? I guess you can draw your own conclusion about that. One cannot make a decision because you're in love with the idea of it...

Today, the decision(s) that I'm facing almost translates into trying to convince myself to "marry" someone(thing) that I don't love. Yet, because it is the only opportunity that I can see right now - just like when I was facing my wedding decision years ago - I am challenged to make the decision between what is more familiar (even though not completely so), and something that I know NOTHING about, and that scares the hell out of me; the path less travelled...

I think our desire to be in control is what prevents us from climbing out of the boat and walking on the water. It doesn't make sense to our minds, and therefore we don't consider the risk worthwhile, even though it would probably be the most phenomenal, unforgettable experience of your life. "No thank you", she says, "I'd rather be in charge."

In this situation, whilst trying to hear from God what He has in store for me next, I am again challenged to ask myself: do I betray myself trying to please others, or do I have the courage to be true to my own heart, even though I have no clue where it will lead me?

I've often wondered about this, but I will never know: what would my life have been like had I listened to God and taken the "road less travelled" a decade ago? What would it have been like if I didn't get married, and then considering ten years into the future? Who would I be; where would I be? The reality is: I will never know, because I didn't choose that path. So again, at this "fork in the road of my life" I don't know where the path would lead me that is the one where you follow your heart courageously as you have no clue where you're going or what you're doing...

Have I made a decision? By all means no, but the journey certainly keeps me thinking, and I believe that God will show me. He said he would take me by a way that I do not know and to rise up in faith that he is leading me forth in perfect precision.

It is such a strange place to be when God says that He knows where you're going, and you are clueless. I find my mind trying to figure it out very often. The thing is: I keep having a sense that this is quite a milestone in my life. Back in January this year God described what was coming as a 'significant work', and to refuse to allow fear of the unfamiliar or change to cause me to resist what He is doing. He talks a lot about being positioned for destiny.

I have so many dreams that have been in my heart for so long. Over time I have started wondering whether all it was, was my overactive imagination - that part of me that dream about more in life - maybe merely a day dreamer? But then again, those dreams have never left me, and whenever I get a glimpse of someone else doing what I dream of, it makes something in me come alive... Is this the start of some of those dreams...?

Joseph had no clue about the moment that he would be fetched from prison to appear before the king, but it happened. There was about thirteen years between his dream and the fulfillment of it. God called Moses at forty. I bet you he never thought that he would encounter a burning bush. David fled for his life for several years since he was anointed as king. Over the history of the bible there hasn't really been (m)any instant greats. So, I guess, what is thirteen / fourteen years in God's calender...? No wonder He puts so much emphasis on patience. He knew we would be in a hurry, didn't He? But the righteous shall live by faith... "sometimes you're out there in God, I guess..."

Even the greatest idea is a bad idea if it is not GOD's idea!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The beginning of a new journey

Well, where do I begin.... it takes courage to express yourself. Whether by writing in any form, painting, drawing or speaking. Expressing yourself mean that you make yourself vulnerable to others. They might love you/what you put out there, or they might hate it. They might agree or disagree. But I also believe that each person have a chest full of treasures. We can never live fully if we are afraid to be who we are. So for this reason I am sharing my experience with you. For all I know some of you might even be travelling with me in some way or another...

So let's start with my resigning my job; something that happened very abruptly on the 1st of June. Today I heard something that reminded me again of what courage is... It is not the absence of fear, but acting in the face of it. I realized that I had courage when I resigned. I most certainly did not feel warm and fuzzy, but I did what I felt convinced I had to do. I also thought about often having the desire for a changed life, and I would think that it is easier said than done, considering that I'm not married.

You see, that had often been a 'convenient excuse' for me - especially for making big changes in my life. I've always had this fantacy that if I had a husband, he could pay the bills, while I be adventurous. The reality is, I am NOT married. I mean, you have to realize that I have no 'back-up plan' so to speak. But then I have also realized in the past few days that many woman are married, and still all end up going nowhere.

Ironic, isn't it; the conditions that we set for ourselves and then, even when we arive at them, all we do is move the line a bit further away. We find new reasons for going nowhere, all the while not liking where we're at. But then again; Hell, when the horse is dead, dismount... Yet, many have the whip and the 'heee-haaaaaaa!' on the back of a dead horse... hhmmmmmm.

Tim Storey also told the story of going fishing with his brother and dad when he was just a youngh boy. They caught fish like crazy, and he determined in his mind that he was going to go back there sometime and fish like they did. So as a grown up minist
er, he took some of his friends to the same like. And even though there was a sign saying that the lake was poluted, and you couldn't fish there, he simply wouldn't budge. Needless to say that they didn't catch any fish like in his memory. Even after a park ranger advised them not to fish there, they stayed.

Eventually he agreed that they could move to another spot, and all of a sudden they were catching fish left, right and centre. God spoke to him in that sometimes he moves our favour and he will cause the fish to 'dry up' as a means to encourage us to move to the next spot where he would rather have us 'fish'.

Even though I heard this story quite a few years ago, it has never left me. Ok, so I've dismounted. What now? To be honest: I have no idea. I often think of another story that Tim Storey told, and in it he said: "but sometimes you're out there in God, I guess..." He told of a really strange event that happened when he was only a young minister. How we don't always know what we're doing, but how God always has a plan. It is just very important that we trust and obey, no matter what it looks like to us.

So, do I have all the answers? Not yet, but God said that he will show the way. It is certainly a good excuse to spend lots of time with Him. He will be faithful. God cannot be anything other than who He is, therefore He will never let us down. The thing is: do we believe it... enough? Do I believe it enough...?