I have been reading though some of my posts from 2017 and what a year it has been. But, when I look back at all the things I was able to do and places I have gone, the things that stand out the most to me are the times I have learned something about God. He remains my constant friend and Father through the good and bad times. He doesn’t change and His words are true.
When God told me in 2015 that He wanted me to write a blog, I said, “No!” I told Him that I couldn’t do it. I told Him that I wasn’t equipped to do it. I told Him He needed to find someone else. There was no way I was going to be able to do it. Well—because He can be a tad persistent—He didn’t allow my answer to be the final answer. It took about six months for me to realize He was right and I surrendered to His calling.
So here I am–a little over two years into this–and I still question Him and He keeps responding, “This is what I want you to do.” So, I keep writing and sharing. There have been many times I wanted to stop because I couldn’t see why anyone would want to hear what I had to say. Then, I would run into someone who told me they enjoyed reading my blog. (God knows I need encouragement!) And to be honest, we all need encouragement doing what we do.
With social media, it is so easy to get wrapped up in all the “likes.” And, it is so easy to get discouraged when you write something that you think is helpful and then only a few people respond. I have to remind myself that I am writing for the Lord and not for myself. As long as my heart is where it should be, that is all that matters. But, boy oh boy is that hard! You want people to like what you write.
But then I came across this comment from Ann Voskamp. “There is no need to produce or perform or perfect—simply become a place for God. That is all!” That statement has had a huge impact on me. So,I have decided that in 2018, I want to simply become a place for God. I want to quit trying to produce, perform and perfect because it has brought me nothing but stress, anxiety and panic. I want to sit before the Lord and just be what He wants me to be.
I am sitting in my chair—where I normally write—and I am closing my eyes and asking the Lord, “How do I become a place for you?” I had asked Him into my life when I was twelve years old, but I don’t think I had ever thought about becoming a place for Him. And, what does that mean?
Voskamp states, “When you are a space to receive whatever the will of God is in this moment as grace, you take hold of God. You most take hold of God when you simply receive Him in this moment taking hold of you. Taking hold of your unsure hand. Taking hold of your unseen needs. Taking hold of your unknown stress. He wants to take hold of you, to be with you. He wants to carry you, to be carried by you, to have relationship with you.”
It is dawning on me that in order to be a place for God, I need to be able to receive what God wants for me. There is a reason why God chose Mary to give birth to Jesus. She had the right heart and attitude to receive what God wanted for her. When the angel approached her to tell her about the baby she was to carry, her response was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38
Just think about that for a minute. I would like to say I would have responded in that way, but who am I kidding? I am embarrassed for all the times I have argued with God. I have doubted Him. I have tried to run and hide from Him. I haven’t listened to Him. I have said, “NO!” to the God of the Universe. (Who do I think I am?) I have even gotten mad and angry, which is probably how I would have responded to that angel! I am so glad the Lord has been so kind and patient with me. (I haven’t been struck by lightening yet!) And, I like to think He laughs at me, but I know I need to make some changes on how I respond to Him.
Maybe I have missed out on things because I haven’t responded to the Lord with a servant’s attitude. It breaks my heart to think that—but it is probably true. But I can change because the Holy Spirit resides in me. I can become a space to receive the Lord’s will for my life.
Part of my problem is that I have never been a good receiver. It has always been easier for me to give than receive. It is the curse of the performer-pleaser in me. But, I am ready to change. I am ready to be a better receiver. I don’t want to miss out on the gifts God has for me. When you think about it—in order to get a gift—you have to be able to receive it. If you refuse to receive, then you miss out on the gift. Well, I don’t want to miss out on any gifts that God has for me.
I know that being a receiver is out of my comfort zone. It is almost too simple. I think to myself, “You mean, I only need to come before the Lord and receive? He actually wants to give to me? All I need to do is ask?” John Wesley writes, “Nothing is more repugnant to capable, reasonable people than grace.” Ouch!
“Your greatest gift is not your gifts, but your surrendered yes to be a space for God.” Voskamp So, I am going to surrender, and say yes to be a space for God in 2018. Being a space for God really takes the pressure off me when I think about it. When I close my eyes and say, “Let me be a space for you,” I can have peace because I know that He is the one that is doing the work, not me! Oh, what a relief that is!
A little over a week ago, God was urging me to do some things. Instead of my usual reluctance or procrastination, I decided to follow through on His leading. I can’t tell you the joy it brought me to see Him work. I need to remember on a daily basis that I need to stay in communication with Him because I will miss out on so many wonderful things if I don’t.
So, I am going to surrender my agenda, my dreams, my plans and my days to be a space for God. I am going to let myself off the hook and watch God work. His plans are far better than I could ever dream or imagine anyway. The pleaser, performer and perfecter in me is going to have to get in the backseat. I want Jesus to be the driver and I want to be in the seat next to Him. I want to be at His right hand because that is where I am supposed to be.
I am having this visual illustration right now of driving in a car. Jesus is at the wheel and I am right beside Him. The kids—perfection, performance and pleasing—are trying to get my attention in the back. (Which is what most kids do!) And I am asking them to be quiet, so I can listen to what Jesus is telling me. I need to keep those kids in the backseat and let Jesus take the wheel in my life.
I would love for you to join me on this adventure. I want to encourage you to be a space for God and allow Him to do the work in your life. I have a feeling He is going to do some amazing things through us and in us. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! Until next time…..