A few years ago, me and a friend went ski-ing for the first
time. We got a cheap deal for a ski
package for first-timers. I had never
massively fancied it as it is so out of my league, but thought with the deal,
it would be worth making the most of.
When we got to the resort and had our test to see our
‘skills’ or level, I could hardly stand up straight. It was like I had become a newborn deer
birthed on ice! As I had no control over
even standing and unable to control myself as my legs went opposite ways, I
could feel my ski goggles would be able to fill up with tears with my ‘out of
my depth frustration’ and overwhelming sense of rubbishness at my
incompetence. It was such a horrible
feeling. Because of how bad we were, the
beginners group was split again to create a further group of ‘total beginner’ of
which I was one of the three.
The first day was pretty frustrating and slow, but when we
got the basics, it was so amazing!! It
felt like I was flying!! Totally free
with amazing white and fresh mountains and snow to be a part of. I couldn’t get enough of it! At the end of seven days I was so in love and
exhilarated with life! As I ski-ed, I
could feel the adrenalin of speed and the rush of the whole experience- the
mountains, snow, crisp cold air with bright sun… I felt on top of the world!!
I remember making a note to self to say this is how I want
to live- to not be afraid of the unknown, but to release myself into adventure
and the fullness of what Life has. I
vowed that I would remember that during the times when I feel out of my depth
and unable, that they may actually end up being the times that produce a
fullness of life and sharp growth of ability.
That to embrace the journey and be out of my own comfort zone can
produce an amazing rush of life!
Sat in this café in Madrid last year, I was having some thinking time about how I can be so misunderstood. As I thought it, I felt God agree with me(!), but then tell me that it was not how I understood the word to be. Instead it was about my identity in Him. That I am ‘Miss Understood’. He also showed me that this applied to every other ‘mis’ words, like misinformed, misguided etc. To show me that with Him I am Miss Informed and Miss Guided. It doesn’t matter if I am misunderstood by others, as my real identity is actually Miss Understood by the God of the universe. He guides me. He informs me. He is everything else that creates who I really am.
Okay, a couple of years ago, it was all about balance. I am pretty much all or nothing, and thought it would be a good idea to try and be a bit more balanced(!).
As I have pondered this over the months, I was really struggling how to understand balance. As I was thinking about the world at large it got me so down with the amount of pain and horrendousness that there is in the world. And then when I would think about some of the simple things in life that are so light and happy it would cause my heart to celebrate life. As I continued to think and wonder about how to be balanced, I started to struggle to even get a balance about God.. And how can anyone enjoy the little things in life when there is so much pain and hurt happening all around us??
Then I thought about the Lion and the Lamb.
The lion is totally untame and ferocious and is the king of the jungle, which is to be feared and respected. And the lamb is a totally innocent springing little being that has no ferocity in it at all!
So this makes me think: maybe my idea of balance is not as it is. God seems to be at the opposite of each side of the seesaw keeping it in balance. Whereas I thought the place to be is in the middle..
It seems that balance with God is fullness. Nothing less and never anything
mediocre. And we all know He hates
God, please, please help me to live in Your kind of balance
and have an amazingly well adjusted life, according to Your way and not my own.
I love driving and knowing that the roads that I’m on are being used by every other kind of driver and that there are no “special” roads for the rich and famous, but that we all share the same fate of traffic jams and it doesn’t matter if the car is fast and expensive, or a clapped out banger. I love the equalising effect that roads have. We are all sharing the same space and tarmac as those in high positions, and also those who are carrying hidden people, drugs, weapons of violence to deal and traffick across borders (a great opportunity to pray for God’s intervention en route).
As those of every walk of life use the same roads, it is an opportunity to be aware of The Way and remember that God wants all people to come into knowledge and relationship with Him- whether they are the rich and famous, middle-of-the-roaders, or those those living dangerously. That our human state is our own equaliser in the eyes of God. That not one of us is good enough/rich enough/famous enough/too evil/too destructive/too far to be saved, but that it is all by His grace and His desire that not one of us would perish, but have everlasting life and life in abundance. That God alone knows the hearts of men and that He is not impressed with money, fame or celebrity. Nor is He scared or intimidated by those who live in deep darkness. He knows that each one of us, whether we live comfortably or in pain, are in need of a Saviour, and has given us Jesus to be our Way.
Reading through chapter 6 of Daniel we are told that Daniel has acquired high favour from the King who he serves, and is able to worship Almighty God freely. As we can see, tall poppy syndrome has been present through the ages, and Daniel falls prey. The Bible doesn’t give us any indication that King Darius is a believer in the Living God, but if he was, it seems he lost his faith to ego for a period of time. He ends up sealing the fate of Daniel with his own ring to make it impossible for rescue, although showing his faith by praying that Daniel’s God would save him. He then goes back to his palace and continues to keep Daniel in mind. We don’t know if the king fasted and prayed, or was just is unable to eat due to grieving his ego’s mistake, but we can see that God heard the cry of his heart to save Daniel. We also see that faith is expectant in the king the following morning as he goes to the den and calls out to Daniel.
What a great example does this king show us?! That even when we seal our fate with a bad and destructive decision, we can believe that our God holds authority far above it all. That, although the consequence for our ego may be severe, we can have faith that God will work all things for good and is able to rescue those who are held in impossible dens.
I love that words are helpful for us to use to communicate to each other, but that God is able to hear so much more than our words, and listens to our hearts, and the honesty that we hold there. That God is able to hear every heart whether it is in the body of a believer or not. That God responds to faith and those seeking Him. And what a great example of faith that we see, not only in Daniel for his lack of compromise, but also from king Darius, who had expectancy in God being able to accomplish the impossible.
God, may we be examples like Daniel, and expectant for the impossible like King Darius.
Daniel Chapter 6
16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. 19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
For many months I have been impressed and influenced by
Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego being so strong in their faith and conviction
of who God is, that that don’t have any wavering as they come under pressure to
bow to a golden statue. They impress me
so much because they don’t come under any compromise or negotiation at all. They simply and honourably say that they will
not bow down because of their Higher conviction. I love most the verse that says “we don’t
need to defend ourselves. If we are
thrown into the fire then we believe that God is able to save us, yet even if He
doesn’t will we will not compromise and serve or bow to any statue you have set
up.” (Daniel 3.16-18) I love this verse
so much that it’s one of those I want tattooing on myself!
Then, after leaving my work to step into the unknown, I find
myself talking to God about how I want to know Him and if I don’t find my life
in His fullness then I will give everything up and live large in the
world. I felt (and feel) like I want to
live large and not just exist and wait for death to come. I was saying things to God like “God, you
need to come through. If you don’t then
I am going to leave it all and enjoy the world” and such like.. Now, I did not think I was being cheeky. My heart state was to live fully- either
way. I do not want any part of rat
racing, keeping on the Jones’, living on the conveyor belt of basic life.. If I am alive, I want to LIVE. However, after a few weeks, God showed me
this verse that I so loved, and reminded me that these “threats” are not so
appropriate to be making! That if I believe
in God, then I will do what He says and will go through fire- not knowing that
I will be saved or not, but will have FULL confidence that He is God and the
Highest Authority- to be served however that looks like.
Now, I know that God is the God of Life and abundance and so I have no doubt that He is not stingy or tight. But to come under alignment of His authority and His will is what He asks of us. And who knows, maybe He will join us in the fire and we will come out unbound and without burns! Free and refined! And a witness/testimony for decision makers and authorities to see God’s complete authority and intervention.
Daniel 3:17-18: “…If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,
the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power,
Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to
make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or
worship the gold statue you have set up.”
As I am free from my last season of crippled joy, I have
spent some time thinking and reflecting over how the season was so full of
joylessness and dying within.
When I was still working as a support worker, I felt a drop into my spirit to remind me the position as administrator at church becoming available, and also a seed of thought of living by faith. This wasn’t about money the living by faith, but I didn’t really know what either of it meant (or didn’t want to know!) and so I responded to God that I would pop it on the shelf and He can grow what He wants, but I wouldn’t be pursuing this as I loved my support job.
Then a couple of months later I went to Hillsong’s Colour Conference in which the word I felt God gave me from there was “prepare a way for God in the wilderness”. Encouraging eh?! And then a couple of months later I met an old friend and ended up compromising my witness and personal integrity as well as confusing my heart with a totally unacceptable and off the road lot of decisions. From this I decided that my life needed a new challenge as support working was too much in my comfort zone and perhaps the reason for my bad decision making of friendship gone mad. So I applied for the administrator and got appointed.
As my body struggles with being inside all day and working with people who I never get beyond the surface with, and as I am not moving from my desk all day, the crazy lack of blood flow was causing a sense of lowness, frustration and screaming inside of my being.
One morning God reminds me that David fought a different way to his brothers who had been trained soldiers and that God is not needing us to fight the same as what is expected. This was nice, and I appreciated the message. However, I didn’t realise that this was my armour for the season coming up.. It was like a word that I hung on my wall rather than over my mind. Little did I know that after the word had been given for my encouragement (and armour), I would be in war. People felt they were helpful in telling me how the previous administrator was better at the job etc and my mind also turned against me and I allowed lies to be planted and grew them into a whole twisted garden of mental craziness, lowness, and a dying inside.
Some time later my pastor told me that I was needing passion for my job. I had been praying for this the whole time of being there but felt God was totally ignoring me. It was only during a big brother “counselling session” that God showed me that He had given me a crazy load of passion but rather than it being for admin, it was for the community- and the job was the vehicle to get me into the area. This totally revitalised my spirit! God showed me that He had answered my prayer but just not in the way I had expected. I love Him for this! When I got to work, I told pastor this and was so chuffed, but all he said was that this isn’t what he wanted to hear! As soon as I heard this, I felt like my whole system slip right back down on a mudslide into the pit again. After this I could hardly lift the head of my spirit. (Just to mention, I love my pastor and he only wanted the best for me.)
After that the year, and pretty much the rest of my time
there, my spirit felt in zombie mode. My
body moved but there was no life within.
I felt like the walking dead, or walking ‘gone’ as I did not feel
present. I was gone.
Since leaving this job (on good terms and in God’s timing) and looked back and thought about my time there, God has shown me what I was too blind and dead to see while I was still there- that what He had told me for my “encouragement” was actually for my warfare. That it is what He says that counts and has authority, not anyone else, as well meaning as they may be (or not). That this is what it means to fear God over man. To value what He says over what man says. To respect and believe and rest in His Truth, rather than anything else spoken, felt, or heard.
I realise now that had I worn the armour that God had given me in my placement there, and used His authority as my weapon for warfare, then I would have been in alignment with Peace. I always knew I was supposed to be there, but as I wasn’t fighting the lies, or wearing my armour, I was easy meat for the enemy to take and keep me down.
Listening to a preach, Bill Johnson describes totally my
situation of this misalignment:
“The fear of man separates us from our nature of courage in
Christ. It is inferior and has us
operate outside of God. If we operate
outside of the Lordship of Jesus then a sensitive heart towards God and His
will, and the people around, will- being outside of the Lordship of Jesus-
become cowardly, easily intimidated, someone who withdraws from the grace that
God has given them. The same gift of a
sensitive spirit under the Lordship of Christ, will become something totally
twisted outside of the Lordship of Christ, and will cause a withdrawal.”
After three “gone” years, I felt God finally bring release (yay!) and say “everyone into position”. He has called me into the unknown (to me, but not Him) and is teaching me of His faithfulness and, I believe, positioning all of us as His Church to be ready.
In closing, I pray that you would know your position, not only in Christ and His Kingdom, but also in your assignment here. And that you would use every word of God to establish and declare Truth over your life and the world you live in. May you arm yourself better than how I did, and so thrive in your current position. And may you honour God and hold His Word higher than your boss, doctor, friend, or enemy.
8:12– But even though a person sins a hundred times and still
lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will
be better off.