Monday, February 29, 2016

Radical

Photo: Sylvian Guiheneuc (Unpslash.com)
Sitting in a conference room of a hotel one Saturday evening for a women's retreat I was attending that weekend, I began to feel so overwhelmed for two reasons. For one, I was enjoying my time that I was able to spend with people that I knew and some family members that decided to come. But on the other hand, I was there serving as a volunteer for the retreat, which isn't a bad thing. My mind was totally set upon just serving. Doing whatever I could to the best of my ability, I was all in. But I felt the disconnection between my service for God and what my heart was experiencing. I didn't know what was wrong, but I knew something was off, something I felt was out of my control and couldn't fix.

Praying to God, I asked, "God, I know you've brought me to this place for a reason. Now, why in the world am I here?!"

As the night came, I began to prepare for the evening banquet that was provided for with this retreat. Although the speaker was beyond amazing, I still had that disconnect that I was experiencing from earlier in the day. Feeling under the weather, I left the banquet early and went to my room to rest up for the next day.

The next morning, which was a Sunday, was the last day of the retreat. Since the retreat was almost over, now more than ever did I want to know why God wanted me here, at this point in time in my life. I had been serving my little heart out over the weekend, doing whatever I could possibly do to make sure that the events and programs ran smoothly, seeing the hearts of women, young and old, rekindled and set ablaze for God, but I still wasn't connecting the same way.

Or so I thought.

With only twenty minutes left of the retreat, God interrupted my current flow of life and said - "It's not about you, Ashlee'"

I'm pretty sure right then my grandma and aunt thought I was losing it, but the stillness of the moment made me aware of the magnitude of how precious my life is, and how much value I should have been placing in stewarding my talents for God.

The Cost to Follow

Photo: Morgefile.com

I enjoy writing, and I have been writing in some form or fashion since I was about twelve. Half of my life I've been writing, but I can only say that about 15% of all the writings I've done - public and private - have been for the sole purpose of giving God glory. It wasn't because I wasn't a Christian (see My Testimony), although times of rebellion and repentance does factor in - I feel that, even in some of my earlier posts on this blog, I really didn't biblically steward the talent God entrusted me with.

When most people, Christians, think of following Christ, we think of the (pretty) simple life - a life where we're just doing enough to get by. We want everything to go well without any difficulties, but simply put, that just isn't how life works. 

Being a Christian, you've got to have guts.

I mean, think about it. We're called to deny ourselves, a move of absolute surrender. There's nothing to fall back on when we've surrendered everything we have to God. When we deny ourselves daily, we're purposefully making the decision to make God our Plan A, Plan B, and Plan everything. There's no going back. It costs everything to follow Christ, and so few are willing to do so.

Whatever we do, it should all be to the glory and honor of God. If you're unsure whether you believe in God or not, I have one question for you - are you willing to trust Jesus with all you have? I'm not just talking about all the great things that you have going for you right now so He can make them even better; He wants you to be open with Him about every aspect of your life. Those secret sins, feelings of failure, hurt and discontentment - you can lay them all down right now and allow God to bring about a radical change in your life.

I don't want to keep living my life just to be living. I want the Gospel of Christ to change every part of me completely, understand what it's done for me, so that I can live with purpose and passion for the only One who has saved me, reconciled me to God, and has "given me the ministry of reconciliation unto God" (2 Corinthians 5:18&19)

"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Questions to Think On:

  1.  Are you wiling to sacrifice all - family, friends, jobs, money, and even your life - to follow the call of Christ?
  2. Have you fully surrendered all to Christ?
  3. How have you been stewarding the talents God has given you, and what areas do you need improvement?


SDG