I learned two questions last weekend that have changed my life. Seriously life changing. And I don’t just bandy those words about willy-nilly. Those words are reserved for true life-changing events. The first time I tasted a hedgehog chocolate for instance. The first time I made cheesecake in my instant pot. The first time I made yogourt in my instant pot. The first time I put a frozen whole chicken in my instant pot and ate it an hour later. I know, right??? BOOM! I may need to broaden my perspective to include other things than food…. And instant pots. About which I still have many questions.
I am actually not fond of questions. Questions require an answer. I have a fear of the wrong answer. I am irritated by too many questions. I am irritated by the same question asked too many times. I am irritated by my fear of asking a stupid question. I mean, I don’t want to look stupid, but I also really want to know the answer.
For my immediate purpose I will focus on the two questions I learned last weekend. But first, a quick backstory.
Last weekend was our First Alliance Calgary Fall Worship Team Retreat. So much fun! Beautiful camp. Fun games. Delicious food. Cold air. Warm fires. Polar bear plunge. In answer to the obvious, no. Because although I love shenanigans as much as the next person, I am not a polar bear.
And worship! Oh, the sweetness and depth of experience in free, Holy Spirit led worship! No filters. No inhibitions. Open hearts and raw souls and tears and laughter and songs and prayer and…family. God’s family. Life changing.
Saturday morning we were blessed with the presence and teaching of Pastor Jeff Marshall. This man of God has many gifts, not the least of which is the gift of prophecy, as well as the gift of teaching about it. I learned God speaks to me in dreams. I learned how to recognize them and how to ask God what they mean. I learned more about the call God placed on my life. I learned that He pushed the activate button on that call in a big way on Saturday. I learned the two questions that changed my life. Drum-roll please!
God, what do you want me to give up?
I know, it’s simplicity may seem underwhelming at first ask, but stick with me. We all know about letting go. Even a three year old can sing about it. I teach this concept on a regular basis and even I am tired of the phrase “let it go”. Because I get the same questions every time. How do I do that? How do I know I have let go of everything God wants me to let go of? And the mother of them all – THEN WHAT? I have no idea.
Correction. I had no idea. Pastor Jeff had the answer to “then what”.
God, what do you want to give me in return?
This. Changes. EVERYTHING!!
God doesn’t want us lost in swirling mists of confusion. God doesn’t play hide and seek, and giggle when we can’t find Him. God will be easily and rapidly found when we seek him with our whole heart. Here’s a bonus question: God, Where are you? Oh! There you are! Right here in front of me the whole time. Protecting me and loving me and slaying my demons. And giving me what He wants for me, not simply what I ask for.
There it is. The rub. The prick to the heart.
God isn’t a vending machine for us to push buttons and then shake when we don’t get what we want. He is a good father and gives good gifts according to his purpose for us.
I’m going to share with you how this played out for me. I sat in the group, eyes closed, hands open, palms up. God, what do you want me to give up? Bam! That fast! Fear. And in that instant it was all laid out for me. Fear of not being enough. Fear of not belonging. Fear that others will think me arrogant or attention seeking if I say what he wants me to say. Deep breath. I gave it up.
God, what do you want to give me in return? Boldness. Confidence. Protection against the enemy. The promise that if I speak He will use it to heal others. And laid out before me was my blog. More of this, he said. A book I have been thinking about writing for years and never had the confidence to start. Do it, he said. And here’s two more books while we are on the topic, he said. Speak out loud about mental illness in My Church. It MUST be a safe place to bring broken minds, as well as broken hearts, broken families, broken spirits, broken marriages.
My Church can do better. And you must tell them it’s time.
So I guess you will be seeing a lot more of these posts. If God touches you and provides healing or transformation of any kind, please be strong and courageous to share it in the comments. It’s time to speak out and start a conversation about what God is up to in our lives. And while we are at it let’s enjoy some life changing chocolate together. Or maybe some cheesecake. Mmmmmmm!!! Time to get out the instant pot.