James 1:2-4 MSG
v2. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
v3. You know that under pressure your faith-life is forced into the open and shows it's true colors.
v4. So don't try to get out of anything pre-maturely. Let it do it's work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in anyway.
WOW! This passage is speaking very strongly to me this past week. Everyone of us faces seasons in our lives where things don't go our way. Sometimes we have control over them, sometimes we don't. In any case, we are presented with a choice to let these frustrations take us out or take us up.
I love that Paul calls tests and challenges a gift. Our natural response to challenges is to back away from them. Gifts, on the other hand, are rarely refused. Seeing a challenge, not as a problem, but as an opportunity to grow us will cause us to embrace it.
Walking through a challenge is never easy and when the pressure is on, reality can overwhelm us. This is when leaning on God is extremely important. But, filling ourselves with His Word and keeping our prayer life vibrant is just as important in the good times as it is in the bad. We would not expect to run a race without training first, therefore it's important to invest time into our relationship with God so that we're stronger in crisis.
Growing up I was not very active. I played softball and enjoyed it because there wasn't a lot of running involved and usually it was only in short spurts. If faced with a running drill I would sprint as fast as I could to get it over with-usually ending in a sad, lung-burning walk half way through. Endurance was not my specialty and I wanted nothing to do with it. This all changed a few years ago. Through participating in triathlons I got a revelation of the importance of building endurance in life. I learned that sometimes you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes you have to tell yourself 'just keep going' to the rhythm of your cadence until you've completed your race. My friends and I joke when we arrive at a race, asking each other why we keep putting ourselves through these events. We put ourselves through it because of what we feel at the end.
Frustrations are a part of life but they're usually the catalyst that enlarge our capacity, elevate our faith and prepare us to live the life God has called us to!
Friday, April 15, 2011
So much has happened since my last post. I wish I had written down all of my thoughts along the way...should've, could've....
January was supposed to bring an automatic dose of vision but I felt I had missed it. I continued on, praying that God would give me the new vision I was looking for. Our worship services were going really well, but I started realizing it was time for me to stop carrying the services and push others on our team into the deep end. After all, raising worship leaders is a pretty important part of my job.
One Mid-February Sunday morning, I felt God say it was time to prepare the worship team to thrive in my absence. That same morning I asked the team to stay alert at all times during the service. That I wanted ALL of them to start thinking like I wasn't there and that they were in charge.
Before I move on, I want to say this...there's always a story within the story. One of my dreams was to travel and speak to other worship teams but whenever I would pray about it I could feel God saying, not yet. Over the years I have come to realize that God gives us the desires of our hearts when we're ready for the responsibility that comes with them. We have to believe that God is not holding us back but preparing us. Above all, we have to trust him. God's timing is perfect.
Two days later Ps Dean and I had a rather unexpected conversation. Ps Jeff and Sunny Kane had become the campus pastors of C3 Milton and were taking it to the next level. Ps Dean presented the idea of running the women's ministry as Ps Sunny would be giving more focus to C3 Milton. Needless to say, I did not see that coming. What did I know about being a women's minister? Seemingly, nothing. How did this line up with my dream of traveling and speaking? Seemingly, it didn't. Honored and a little puzzled by the path being laid before me , I accepted the new charge.
I'd be lying if I said I felt completely confident after our conversation...I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a few tears. I had no idea what my life would look like with this new addition but I knew it I would be stretched - I felt it almost instantly. Sometimes in order to move forward in life, we have to give up the things that make us feel comfortable.
God has started filling me with more vision than I can take in (for both departments). I feel an anointing I didn't have before. The filter I used to see through has been removed and undeveloped gifts are now being activated in me. I am completely thrilled about what lies ahead for myself and the gorgeous women I have the honor of serving.