Finding my voice vs finding His

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Today’s chapter in Make Yourself Amazing touches on being authentic and transparent. So, here’s me, keeping it real.

For as long as I can remember I have had a thing for Psalm 24. I read the words as a teenager and they jumped off the page and grabbed me round the heart.

At first, I thought my mission was to make the world adore Psalm 24 – at least as much as it loved Psalm 23. Everyone knows Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd…” But no one knows, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…” What’s so special about Psalm 23? It is no more profound than, “Open the gates and let the King of glory come in.”

We had a bond, Psalm 24 and I, but I did not understand our affiliation until my twenties. Psalm 24 resonated with me because it was mine. It was my life scripture. It was not my assignment to turn the world into Psalm 24 fans. It was my job to live it. As Jesus stood in the synagogue and proclaimed Isaiah, my life would proclaim the message of Psalm 24. I would climb the mountain of the Lord.

Ascending the hill of the Lord has been my mission. Yet at times I was distracted. I lost my way and it all fell apart. In the valley life became hard and tiresome. Eventually I came to my senses. Peace returned; hope renewed. And I got back to journeying onward up the mountain. Where I belonged.

Three months ago I received an invitation from the Lord: Let me take you up the mountain.

The magnitude of those words weighed heavy on my life. What a privilege. Such an honour to be invited up the mountain by the Almighty.

And I did nothing about it.

Nothing.

I was busy blogging and taking courses on grammar and how to run a business. They taught me to build an audience and find my voice – a voice that would resonate with thousands. And while I had some success, it was not satisfying. I was not hitting it: my voice strained, progress slow. It was frustrating.

The one thing I had done in response to God’s invitation was search “mountain” on Bible Gateway. I pulled scriptures that stood out into a special document. I hadn’t even reached the Psalms, but I had a collection of verses that talked about being on the mountain.

Last Sunday morning I read over those verses and got stuck.

1 Kings 19:11-12 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

God said:
You have been worrying about finding your voice. Your job is to find my voice.

Other people have to find their voice. For some, it is all they have. But it is not for you. It is not what I have called you to. Find My voice, and people will follow. Find My voice, and I will sort everything else’s out.

And the light came on. There had been earthquakes, storms and fires in the form of blogging courses, guest posts and webinars. Nothing wrong with those things. But I had an invitation. And I wasn’t listening.

From now on, it’s not about me. It’s not about my opinion or my life, it’s His voice. No words wasted with antidotal rhetoric. Just. His. Voice. Not only as a blogger, but my whole life. His voice.

This is my pledge: I will go up the mountain and hear the voice of God. It is where I am called and where I belong.

I will speak His voice and write His voice. Not mine. Not ever. And if I do, you can tell me. Write and kick me up the pants, “Sarah, we couldn’t care about you. We want to hear God.”

And so do I. More than ever. So do I.

The Principle of Bounce Back

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If you have been reading my words for any amount of time you will know I do not use the blog to talk about my messy failures. Oh, I have them. I just don’t talk about them. I would rather forget about my shortcomings (wouldn’t you?) and who can forget mistakes when all you do is talk about them? Rehashing the mess glorifies the problem, the sin, the devil. Yeah, the last thing I want to do.

Saying that, 2014 presented itself with unexpected challenges. Sickness, accidents and mistakes left me reeling. I got through it, but I found myself asking questions, the most pressing being why?

Why did it happen? Why then? Why me?

My prayers were met with silence. Or perhaps with an answer I was not anticipating: bounce back.

Here’s Make Yourself Amazing:

Samson learned that when you bounce back, you are stronger than before. Job learned that bouncing back leads to blessing. Daniel learned that bouncing back makes you smarter. Paul learned that bouncing back keeps you flexible. Ruth learned that bouncing back can be better than your wildest dreams.

In this world you will have trouble. You will make mistakes. You will be dealt a bad hand. Bounce back. Don’t let failures define you. Define the moment by bouncing back stronger than before.

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. (Micah 7:8, King James Version)

Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of bounce back. He rose again. From death. Bounce back doesn’t get better than that.

You can rise from any affliction, any obstacle. So can I. Bounce back runs in the family. It’s part of our DNA.

If you only get good at one thing this year, may it be the ability to bounce back. Stronger. Tougher. Better than before.

Bounce back is where victory begins and God gets the glory. In 2015, I choose to bounce back.

If you have decided to bounce back this year, leave a comment or hit reply. I would love to stand with you in faith.

Tired? Weary? Read this.

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This chapter of Make Yourself Amazing talks about hard work. The post I want to share with you today is a reflection on the opposite: rest. I pray it is a blessing.

The smell of lemongrass and jasmine envelop my senses. I flop into the massage bed and close my eyes. My time, this is my time. Time away from work, kids, family, everything.

But I don’t relax.

Instead I worry.

It never used to be this way. I have always had my hands in many pies, but lately I find it hard to shut off. I am obsessed with being busy. I feel valued when I am busy.

I am Sarah and I am a workaholic.

And I don’t have a full time job. Except being a mother. Which I guess is a full time job.

Rest, for me, is daunting. When I stop and do nothing, my mind goes where it should not. I worry about what is not done. I feel guilty that I missed something. And the worry and guilt lead to more destructive feelings and thoughts.

Rest. I just want rest. Where I do nothing. Absolutely nothing.

It eludes me.

My discovery
Rest is not nothingness or the absence of problems. Rest is found in renewal.

Matthew 11:28-29 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

I look to refuel through emptiness: losing my responsibility and letting go of reality. Rest comes when I am filled. To overflowing. Taught of the Lord in grace and love.

In renewal I am filled with the Word. I make my way to the secret place and fix my mind on things above. I meditate on scripture and become who God wants me to be. I discover value in Christ and the finished work of the Cross.

Striving, worry, guilt, pain: gone.

This is the rest I strive to enter. Where days off change from emptiness to renewal. Where a full spirit eases my body and emotions.

And I have rest.

Child of God, it’s your time to rise!

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As a Christian woman I tend to gravitate to stories of women in the Word. Women don’t get a big mention in the Bible so when one appears, I feel compelled to listen to her legacy.

One such woman is Deborah. Deborah was a judge who brought about victory and peace for Israel. In Make Yourself Amazing I tell her story from Judges 4 in detail, but here I would like to draw your attention to the final line of a song Deborah sang once the victory was won (yes, there appeared to be no end to Deborah’s talent, she was even a worship leader).

Judges 5:31b (NLT first ed.) says, “May those who love You rise like the sun at full strength!

Read it again. Let the words sink in because if you haven’t noticed, Deborah was singing about you. Deborah sang a victory song millennia ago declaring you rise like the sun.

Here’s an excerpt from Make Yourself Amazing so you know what a good thing your missing:

Child of God, it’s your time to rise.

Satan is in a vulnerable place right now. Due to the death and resurrection of Jesus, he is completely exposed. It’s time to take advantage of the situation and nail the devil once and for all! It’s time to rise like the sun. It’s time to nail the devil. It’s time to emerge from oppression and brokenness. Don’t delay; rise like the sun today.

Deborah did; now it’s your turn. Rise like the sun on a cloudless day, penetrating the atmosphere with intensity and strength. Jesus made a way: rise like the sun at full strength.

Do you have trust issues?

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To some extent we all do. Life experiences and hurt teach us people can’t be trusted. Even those you love.

God can be trusted.

Yet you may have trust issues with Him.

My article for Crosswalk about being stuck in the hallway continues to resonate with many people (over 11k shares and counting). Perhaps you found this blog because you are stuck in the hallway. Today I would like to reassure you: Father can be trusted. God has not forgotten. He has not abandoned you. Trust Him. He will open a door no man can shut.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Being stuck in a hallway doesn’t take much strength, right? I mean, running in wide open spaces takes strength; moving to another level requires strength, not being stagnant in a hallway.

As anyone in a hallway will tell you, it drains your strength. Till there is nothing left.

God is opening doors in this new year of new possibilities. Walking (or perhaps running) through a new door requires new strength. Renewed strength comes as you trust God.

You can trust God.

You can.

Trust God.

I have such an excitement in my spirit for you. Father knows your name and your struggle. Trust Him; renew your strength, for you are about to soar on
eagle’s wings.

Keep reading along with me for deeper insight on trust in Make Yourself Amazing.