It’s been over a year since I’ve spent much time in my personal Instagram feed. At the request of a friend I went hunting through it for a particular post she was referencing, and I was freshly encouraged by the handful of captions I happened to land on. Then I realized it could be sweet and cool to have the photos + words in a more ‘permanent’ place, since I’m not on there much and you never know the future of the platform. Not sure how many posts there will be, but every few weeks I’m going to comb through my feed and put them here on the blog. Whether you have read them before or the words are new, enjoy. :)
Living life with the Holy Spirit — “you fulfill the will of God through the inner influence of His Spirit instead of the outer influence of the law of God” (David Guzik).
This took me probably 15 years of following Jesus to grasp. It felt too easy, my willpower was my measuring stick, and the freedom was terrifying.
But alas, God’s way is the best way, and there is no substitute for the Holy Spirit. I can’t muster spiritual fruit, but His goal, thankfully and marvelously, is vineyards and vineyards. May we surrender this work to Him.
Like Anna plays in my presence, like she comes to me when she gets hurt, like she wants to be held when she’s sick, like she unashamedly + honestly feels any and every range of emotion with me, like she never corrects or censors or judges herself before coming to me,
like she trusts me to love and care and accept her always… so it can be and is for me with God my Father.
What a delightful way to be with Him! Don’t hold back — disappointment, confusion, happiness, sadness, longings. Give Him access to you, as you are right now, and find rest and love for your soul.
Ruth Haley Barton writes that in silence we come to God with what is true about us and let Him be in control.
This is my personal prayer for this year and honestly for the rest of my life — that I would accept what comes, and what is. That I would welcome what God gives and allows for me. That I would grow comfortable in His presence with what is true about me, not what I feel *should* be true, or even what I wish was true.
Not defending, not comparing, not berating, not promoting, not criticizing, not earning… being with Jesus with what IS, and receiving Him. Letting Him form and grow what is there, the real me.
Accepting with joy. Because God is God, sovereign, wise, almighty, good and merciful, and I am His.
A natural perspective — What is most important is the life visible to others: appearance, reputation, online persona, ministry work.
A Kingdom perspective — Prioritize most often the life only seen by God: the heart behind the appearance, reputation, online persona, ministry work. Life is not only defined by what others can see. Right? A special sweetness and stretching and depth of life is cultivated in the places we are seen and known by the Lord only.
Private Abiding > Public Fruit
When *not* God, what I desire MOST results in me demanding life go the way I want which reveals an idol of my heart which results in cloudy vision of Christ and heavy yokes. 🤯
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory. There I’ll be when troubles come. He will hide me. He will set me on a high rock out of reach of all my enemies.” Psalm 27:4-6
“A few accept the invitation to come to God to find in Him everything their hearts desire, and then to live their lives in this world as He directs and enables, with no stronger wish than to hold His name high.” Dr. Larry Crabb
What a time to be God’s people. May we wear the identity joyfully, bravely and humbly.
What Anna needs is for me to be the best mom I can be for her. What John needs is for me to be a great wife. What my friends need is for me to be helpful, to listen, to offer counsel when asked. What my social media followers need is for me to write insightful and encouraging things to help inspire their relationship with God. What the world needs is for me to be kind, to give generously, to steward my possessions well, to work hard, etc.
Not entirely false. But lacking a lot.
What my people need is for me to be personally falling in love Christ more every day. What the world, online and off, needs is for me trust, know and obey God, and allow His life to flow through mine.
Let’s be careful of getting stuck in the quicksand of complex expectations and worldly measures of goodness. To gain Christ and be found in Him. Our love for others energized by His for us. Kingdom life is different. Not easy, but simple, and very doable with the Holy Spirit.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me… You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:4, 16-17
Jon Tyson, “God knows. He’s entrusted us here. We’re the ones that will steward this moment. Let’s take it with joy and responsibility, even though it’s heavy.”
Even here, especially here;
Even now, especially now;
We are sustained, energized and motivated
to be D I F F E R E N T in this moment,
to still make disciples,
to still cultivate relationships,
to still give cheerfully,
to still repent, forgive, show mercy,
to still humble ourselves,
to still pray faithfully,
to still serve my neighbor,
to still be in it but not of this world,
to still believe truth confidently,
to still share the gospel,
to still battle sin diligently,
to still store more treasure in heaven,
to still rejoice,
to still grieve with hope,
to still obey His commands,
to still lean not on my understanding;
Even here, especially here;
Even now, especially now.
I’m convicted. COVID and culture have given me too many reasons to excuse fear, selfishness, pride, discouragement and laziness.
Reality — God knows. God is present. He’s mighty in His people and there is Kingdom work and family to be part of.
At the beginning of the year, we were both up before the sun, John about to leave for a flight out of town. It’d be me and Anna for a week. He said, “I feel comfortable leaving you because I know He is your Shepherd.”
It is burned into my memory, and I keep praying we as Christians know a Psalm 23 confidence in God and pray it for each other, especially in times when fear seems justifiable, the overwhelming response, or what everyone around us is feeling.
Green pastures of nourishment.
Waters of rest.
Refreshment of soul.
Leading along the right paths.
Almighty Presence in valleys of deep darkness.
This is our life, if we want it. I don’t claim it enough. But I want to.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? … Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.” Psalm 27:1, 3
The ESV Study Bible includes this note: “the faithful must *learn* to base their confidence on God’s ever-present protection; this will be a confidence that *grows through experiences* of deliverance.”
Sometimes I think being courageous means choosing courage should feel easy. But courage is a choice to be made even (especially) when it feels unnatural or unfamiliar. It must be learned. Practiced. Based not on what I see or feel but on God.
I say I want to be more confident in God, then I live to avoid situations or possibilities where I’ll need to choose it. But it’s a confidence that grows THROUGH, not before, experiences of Him rescuing, leading, comforting us in difficulty.