Oh hey, February. I see you. I know 2017 is old news and everything, but listen. I’m not ready to move on without first addressing 2016. Because goodNESS it was a year. One of those game-changing, life-rocking years that will not be soon forgotten.
It’s funny, really. Because on January first of 2016, I determined that “rest” would be my one word- my primary mission statement- of the year.
I wrote about longing to do and to be and to be used up by God. I can just sense my passion spilling out onto the keyboard as I typed. And still, I felt as though God was telling me to stop. To wait. To rest in Him.
And so I did. I pulled back and pressed in. I begged Him to reveal Himself to me. And I am here to say, my friends, that those kind of prayers never, ever return void.
Over the past year, God stretched me and pushed me so far outside of my comfort zones that it’s laughable. I’ve found myself on a stage and I’ve found myself overseas and I HAVE FOUND MYSELF INVOLVED IN FREAKING WOMEN’S MINISTRY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
Is it unbiblical to say that God’s surely ROTFL? Because I’m pretty sure that’s precisely what’s happening right about now.
But here’s the thing. This crazy year- all. of. it.- flowed straight out of a deliberate season of rest. I have found that the greatest rest often comes when I’m busy seeking His face. I saw this and lived this close up. And as He taught me His character anew, it’s if He slowly released me out, saying, “Alright, kid. Now go live it. Follow me. Eyes straight ahead. Keep in step with my steps. Just keep doing the next right thing and the next thing after that and just keep stepping and stepping.”
And as I’ve stepped, followed, fallen, and stepped again over the past year, here’s what I’ve learned: Our God is loving, and He is kind. He is quick to forgive and slow to anger. He is righteous and good. But our God is not safe. He doesn’t call us to “be still and know that [He] is God” so that we can sit around and bless our little hearts within the confines of our Christian bubbles. No, that verse that we love to quote? It’s preceded by this:
“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling…
‘Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!'”
I mean, just check out that imagery right there. Mountains trembling. Waters roaring. The earth crumbling in.
You see, sometimes it gets messy. Scary. Uncomfortable. Sometimes our footing will get slippery and our ground shaky. Sometimes God will jack up our sense of comfort. Sometimes, he’ll ask if you’ll go, and you’ll say, “well, crap.” Sometimes, you’ll wave your arms around wildly like an obnoxious school kid yelling “me! me! me! pick me!”, and He’ll say, “No, not you. You wait.”
No, God’s not safe. But we’re safe with Him. Because no matter where he sends us or where He keeps us, he has promised His presence. He’ll always be with us- leading, teaching, giving grace for every impossible moment.
2016 taught me that God’s not afraid to get all up in our faces and in our spaces if the end game is our focus and affections ultimately directed toward Him. If experiencing His presence is the ultimate win, then God forbid I get comfy doing this life on my own. Lord, keep launching me into scenarios my stubbornly independent spirit simply cannot handle without you.
Man, I don’t know. I started off 2016 with “rest” as my theme and goal, and God really jacked with my life and heart. In the best way possible. Because, God.
That said, I don’t even know what to think about my goal and theme of 2017:
If assuming a posture of rest got me into THIS much trouble, maybe I’m just asking for it in 2017.
But, God, YES. Interrupt me. May I cling more tightly to Your holy design than my daily agenda. May my days be rearranged at a moment’s notice. May my priorities be realigned. May I pour out from the rest I’ve found in You. Lord, interrupt me.
And all God’s people said… “hang on tight.”