When God “Speaks”

I was going through a women’s Bible study at my church. We were going through the book of Philippians. There’s a passage in there where Paul says:

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ {Philippians 3:8}

I hadn’t been accepted by the mission agency I was working with yet, there were so many variables that made it seem impossible. And yet I felt confident that I was pursuing something good and in line with God’s will. After all, I did have a degree in Christian Ministry & Psychology; obviously that meant I had to be doing ministry. I knew that I was not meant to do any kind of direct service because that’s not where my strengths lie. And God continued to close every door I pursued in that direction. I am very strong-willed.

I was crying a lot; prematurely grieving losses I would endure should I find myself accepted. That was a weird experience. Leaving anywhere was always invigorating for me. But, I’d finally found a church community. One where I attended and served every week faithfully for four months. I’d become a partner. I was baptized. I’d found roommates I’d always dreamed of having. I thought I was pursuing what the Lord was asking of me while I was walking toward Spain, but I was not confident. I felt that staying because things were finally starting to stabilize was selfish. “Christians are supposed to live lives of sacrifice.” I didn’t feel I actually had permission to leave Chicago for lesser commitments, but I was willing to leave for something like this? Why? Because it seemed easier than what I was doing. It seemed more romantic. It seemed more Godly.

As I was praying I prayed a variation of Philippians 3:8 –  “Lord, I count everything as loss – Spain – for the sake of knowing you. I will count it as a worthless pursuit if it is a distraction from you. I want to want you more than anything. Help me.”

And as I cried and continued praying, “God what do you want me to do?” “Am I supposed to go?” “Am I supposed to stay?” I heard (my own thought in my mind) “Let it go. Let Spain go.” And I started sobbing. No…I didn’t just hear think that. Now, when I say I hear God speak, I mean that something in my spirit and thought process that did not follow the logic of where my mind was going pops in. And I’ve learned it’s imperative to check whatever that is against Scripture because as Jeremiah tells us, the heart is deceptive.

 So after a good ol’ sobfest, I composed myself and had peace. “Okay God. I’ll let it go.”

And then I got an e-mail the next day.

“We are pleased to inform you that you have met the conditions outlined in our original offer of conditional employment.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The greatest irony in all this is that as I went to write this post I pulled up the entirety of Philippians 3 and realized that Paul was listing all his rights to bragging about righteousness under the law. And him saying that those things were the rubbish. A huge part of my pursuit of Spain was in an effort to add an accolade to my resume of righteousness; I never would have admitted that at the time, but deep down, I knew that. Yes, even then, but I had a real problem with deception. And I was the most deceived.

Journey {not} to Spain | When God “Speaks” | Don’t be a Lone Ranger Christian | Crossroads | Say the hard things {part one} | Say the hard things {part two}

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