Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not a Popularity Contest

In High School I would religiously write down my outfit each day as to not have any fashion repeats within a two week period. Heaven forbid I walk into first period wearing the same sweater I had on last week! Think of my reputation! Think of all the girls who would roll their eyes at me snickering to each other, "OMG! She's totally wearing a repeat!"

I've come a long way, but the truth is a lot of us desire the acceptance and approval of those around us. We formulate decisions, even life altering ones, based on what other people think. It oppresses our freedom, our giftings, and ultimately our joy.

When decisions are approaching I tend to flop like a fish out of water wondering what is the best. Sometimes instead of going to God and ultimately obeying him, I ask friends, family, people I sit next to on airplanes (seriously) if they have opinions of what I should do. Of course they do! And then I flop around some more, only further from a pool of water.

The other day while flying back from my brother's wedding in Virginia, I read about Amaziah, a king of Judah, who made some decisions that made some people mad. Instead of wanting popularity, he decided obedience to God was far better.

Amaziah was going to war and decided to hire 100,000 troops from Israel for 100 talents of silver to help him fight the battle. A man of God approached Amaziah with this message: "O king, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the Lord is not with Israel-not with any of the people of Ephraim. Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow." (2 Chronicles 25:8-9)

Amaziah kind of complains saying, "But what about the hundred talents of silver I paid for the Israelite troops?" To which the man of God replied, "The Lord can give you much more than that."

So Amaziah decides to trust God's ability to win the battle with less men and with less money in his pocket and out of obedience he sends the Israelite troops home. Their response? "They were furious with Judah and left home in a great rage." (2 Chronicles 25:10)

Amaziah wasn't looking to win a popularity contest with people. Amaziah didn't change his mind when he saw people were furious at him. He remained obedient to God.

Being obedient to God doesn't mean you'll make the popular decision. It doesn't guarantee rejoicing from those around you when God intercepts and changes your plans. But it does guarantee you God's best.

Popularity contests are thriving within our culture. I pray we would always choose obedience to God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We didn't start the fire

I remember running toward the thick black smoke through the maze of condos a few months ago. Coming back from an afternoon hike I saw the dark cloud, heard the sirens, and instinctively knew my life was changing.

When I arrived and saw the flames pilaging the inside of the condos three things went through my mind: 1. Oh my gosh, all my stuff is gone. . .and I'm wearing my ancient faded green shorts. 2. Did I start the fire?! and 3. "You will keep in perfect peace him whos mind is steadfast, because he trust in you." Isaiah 26:3

After the initial shock, I went around interviewing people to try and discover the cause of the fire. "Excuse me, did I start the fire?!" I'd ask. Hmm, perhaps I should have thought through my statements a little better. And why didn't I pick my favorite pair of jeans to go hiking in.

In a few short hours, my life was becoming exceedingly more complex, yet more simple. I was immediately awarded the coveted "minimalist" title that had been held since birth by my friend, Suz.

What I experienced that afternoon was an angelic chorus of provision surrounding my soul. Theresa, a stranger, cradled me in her arms and sung sweet prayers over me. My friend Kim sat on the grass with me for hours while I made phone calls and talked to firemen. Allison, another friend, came up to me and said, "I want to be here for you, and I'll stay if you need me, but would you like me to go get you some underwear?" I laughed-so thoughtful! "Yes, please, and a cell phone charger." "Done," she replied, and she was off. That evening I had cookies waiting for me, dozens of housing offers, and a tiny stuffed panda bear from a three year old girl who heard mine had perished in the fire.

The blessings didn't stop at 12:01 the next day. No. For the next two months I saw the Family of God rally around me and generously giving and providing. From towels to dishes, to gift cards to money, to meals and beds, I was flooded with love.

I am so grateful for my God and his people. I am so humbled. What the Psalmist said is true, "The Lord has done great things for [me] and I am filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Posing in front my my condo in the infamous survior shorts and my 'life is good' towel.

A little roommate reunion: I lived with these beautiful women in 2270 Stepping Stones Way (prefire, that is).