I remember a time not too long ago when I was in God's teaching wilderness. 2007 sucked - that's just how it was. 2008 - much better, but there were a few events taking place in which I will never be the same again: my Thrive presentation, working with youth & youth teachers, CIY, Philippine Mission trip, the after-effects of another minister leaving, a new friendship with someone I have grown to truly care about - respect, admire & support - and couldn't imagine not having him around, and hearing directly from God. For each of these, God told me to step out in faith, He's got it all planned out and in control. But you know what - at times, from MY perspective - it was out of control! There were moments it was downright crazy! And I'm not going to lie - I did not love every minute of it. But looking back, God's plan is always so much better than my own. (Romans 8:28)
Through it all, God has revealed a lot about myself to me. I am a horrible sinner - and fall short of God's Glory daily. SINNER! (Scott's voice ringing in my ear, LOL). Seriously, we are all sinners, and I acknowledge constantly that I am not perfect, nor will be until Jesus comes back - and what a day that will be! I have failed miserably at being a good witness in some situations, and failed at just being a good person all-together most of the time. I have apparently even been the catalyst for Satan at other times (which I am still trying to deal with). I have anger issues when I thought I HAD dealt with things. I've been called-out in this area and convicted to work on it with Jesus to remove the hurt and anger that I harbor about stuff from my past. I never realized that closing myself off to others was an expression of anger. I really just thought I was defending myself as well as protecting others from my bad attitude. Little did I know...
God also revealed that when it came to relationships - I walked in fear. Fear of everything that goes into having relationship with others. You have to open-up - be honest about yourself - do it all in God's time, not mine. And this is not just about my friendship with Bill - that's a whole 'nother book full. This is just about relationships at work, church, small groups, online even. It takes a giant leap of faith to trust someone with a piece of you. And my past is chocked full of people who have taken those pieces and ripped, chopped, burned, smothered, drowned them till I have been a walking jumble of busted-up glass. Yes, I'm sensitive to how others perceive me, feel about me, talk about me, etc. That's where I've been walking in fear. My relationship priority has not been quite right this past year - I've cared too much about what others thought, I've cared too much about being in a social circle than just being in the presence of God.
Every New Year's millions of people make resolutions they rarely stick with. I made a "new year" resolution long ago to not make "new year" resolutions. I've done really well with that! But after all that God has revealed to me about myself and situations around me - I have been resolved (determined). I've made the decision to be true - true to God, true to myself, and true to others. That's going to mean that I will not try to please you to placate, friend or no friend. I will stand for God's Word (the whole Jesus) above all else, letting the Holy Spirit lead me into all truth. I will love others as Jesus loves others - reaching out to the lost, teaching the truth of God's Word, meeting needs, doing the work God has prepared me to do, and motivating others to the same. I will love God the Father as Jesus loves the Father - pray continually in all things, spend quiet time with Him regularly, praise Him for EVERYTHING, and claim the love He has for me through Jesus. I will not be moved from this. I will not be perfect in this. I will fail miserably at times. But I will not be moved from this. I will pray before acting, I will pray before REacting, I will pray before responding - and in this too I will fail. But the more I stand, the more firm the hold God has on me, and I have on Him. I will stock my shelves with faith, courage, love - because perfect love casts out all fear.
I encourage all you readers to examine yourselves in light of the Word. Ask God to reveal yourself to you areas of your life where you may be harboring anger or walking in fear. And ask Him to help you remove those things that are holding you back from holding on to Him or being in His presence.