It’s becoming one of my favorite traditions. To pack up the thickest clothes I own, borrow the ones I don’t own because I’m a Floridian, pack them as lightly as possible and road trip with my bunch of crazies, lots of coffee, & little sleep. It’s always astounding how much love, disagreement, and worship we can cram into four days.
This year finally felt like we got a groove. Things ran smoothly and the challenges that remained were mostly internal. I found even the painful things were given the attention they needed to provide growth & clarity so that the rest was truly fun. We acted like a team, or better yet, a family, helping each other fight those battles and praying over each other fervently.
This trip reminded me that my biggest issue, the thing that gets in my way, and the thing that I find conflict with the most, is me.
I am my own biggest obstacle between me and God.
Even as I write this I’m condemned by “I don’t have the words”, “I can’t figure out where to take this”, & “I can’t write what I want to” when all along I know it’s God’s words I want written through me.
In everything I feel opposition, the common factor is me. Friends & family are my support & protection far more than they are my conflict. I am my conflict.
Every commitment I make, every time I fail, every emotion that is too overwhelming to bear, comes back to the fact that I am unable, on my own strength, to do anything well. I’m learning all over to rely on God, but there was another realization before this one, that made admitting my own failure significantly easier.
Jesus loves me. Yes this I know. But have I let the Bible tell me so? Have I allowed Him to wrap His arms around me? Have I embraced Him as a being that cares for me and love Him back? Have I declared in my actions that I belong to Him and let Him take my weakness & make it strong?
God is not something I can set aside and expect to pick up where I left off. Our relationship needs work just like any other face-to-face relationship does, both ways. I need to be in the Word. I need to be praying. I need to vocalize my love for my Lord.
His name alone is blessed! (Psalm 113:2) Who am I to go to Him with constant requests without even acknowledging how deeply He loves me and reciprocating that to Him?
I have fallen in love with my Lord, again. And I’m astounded by how much He loves me! Beyond what He did for my salvation and my 21 years of life on earth, last week alone He used 20 hours & 1,200 miles roundtrip on the road to listen to His praise, 25 people that I treasure to wipe my tears, and 6 sessions of speakers screaming His word, all to simply tell me,
“I love you.”
I am overwhelmed by God’s love; unending, unrelenting, unconditional. I am re-learning to delight in Him, to keep His commands, to see Him in the characteristics He has hidden in the people around me, and to speak to Him as to a friend.
John Piper said it best, “We were reconciled to God the person, not reconciled simply to get into Heaven or out of hell. We take joy in God the person, not only things He does or makes for us; we use those things to get to know HIM.”
If you truly love God more than His gifts to you, you’ll be satisfied in His will no matter how it aligns or doesn’t align with yours. “In every act & thing of creation the love of God is made manifest for us to taste Him & lead us further into Him so we can love Him directly.” – John Piper
“The 7th piece of armor in Ephesians 6: is prayer. God’s house is a house of prayer, not great preaching, great singing, lights, fog or cafés. We need to take up the weapon of prayer.” – Priscilla Shirer
“Salvation is not based on you, it’s placed on you.” – Levi Lusko
I’m getting out of the way. I’m letting Jesus love me, speak through me, and work in me because I can’t do it myself. I’m allowing myself to delight in Him! & I’m letting love open the gates for His strength to flood me to accomplish His will because my strength is drained. I am falling in love all over again, and I’m finally out of the way.
“But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.
I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”