Today as I come to Jesus, in his word, he has given me a challenge and prayer. Micah 6:8 says to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.” Man what a verse!
This challenge has not come easy for I know that I am attached to my own comfort and my own concerns way more than I like to admit. Can I get a “head nod?”
As I was listening to the hero exaltation on the Lectio365 app, a quote stuck out to me as if my eyes had been blinded by light (cue dance moves):
“To better the future we must disturb the present.” -Catherine Booth (this lady and her husband started the Salvation Army movement in England. (I will be reading their bio soon). To better the future, we must disturb the present. This quote sure disturbed my present moment.
Confession: I used to pride myself in being focused on serving the poor and being ready to fight for injustices in the world. This is why when I felt the call to ministry in the United Methodist church, the deacon route spoke deeply to my soul!
I was quickly and very gently reminded today that I have lost that passion along the way. To be honest I lost the passion to act justly along the way “doing church.” I have learned that people, good people, inside the church put limitations on loving and serving those who are marginalized in the society due to preferences, comfort leveled, political stances, and the most disturbing of all: finances.
I have realized this morning that I have fallen short in this area with bending the knee (cue to “way church is done in the Avenue of service out it’s on walls.” I think we have gotten (as my momma used to say) to big for our own britches when it comes to serving the poor, speaking up for injustices, and just loving people in general.
So the question was/is: What needs to be disturbed in my life to see God’s direction for my future?
Here is the scary part for me. I was shown today that the very attachments I have about my own comfort levels and concerns for the world have been distorted to a level of submission and suppression. I used to be the kind of person that did not care what people thought of me. You either liked me or you didn’t but I was going to be your friend whether you wanted to or not. I wanted to be everybody’s friend. I wanted everyone to feel welcomed. Everybody had a place in my life.
So to answer the question above, once I grew into adulthood, answered my call into ministry, started serving inside the local church that my nature and attitude became clouded with being accepted into the society as a “Women Pastor” in Mississippi. I quickly fell into acting a certain way, dressing a certain way, and being real picky about serving the poor and marginalized of the society.
What needs to be disturbed in my life? My need for approval from people and my need of permission. I have longed so much as a women and young female pastor in the south to be accepted by society, and the only acceptance I need is Jesus.
Lord, forgive me.
My need of permission from others inside the local church and those in the higher power of ministry has crushed my own passion for ministry. All I need is the assurance of the call on my life given to me by Jesus and not man.
Lord, forgive me.
A life worrying about what others think about you and how you live your life will suck the very life you thought you had right out until one day you wake up and do not even recognize the person in the mirror who is staining back at you.
Lord, forgive me
A life worrying about “I don’t have permission to do this” is a lie from the pit of hell and only the evil one is going to gain traction with that mindset.
Not today satan.
So my prayer today for me is: disturb in me my worldly views. Disturb in me my need to be approved by other people. Disturb in me my need to seek permission from other people. Disturb in me the attachment I have to others opinions about my life and my ministry in how I live it, or how I display it. Disturb my thoughts of what you have planned for my life and give me only your thoughts. For your thoughts are better than mine, and your ways are better that mine.
I choose today to have joy.
I choose today to be disturbed.
I choose today to not ever ask permission to speak my mind, to act and serve others, to love those who no ones wants to love (or even be in the same room with.)
On our last Sunday at Asbury my husband preached a darn good sermon as how the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. We took up the empty chairs to represent those who are not in church now, who want return to church, but what my soul longed for was those who would never come to a church. My heart literally ache so much that I was cried tears, hard tears. As the chairs were being put back I saw a multitude of people that would never come back to those seats and my heart longs for them. My hearts wants to meet their heart. I believe that Jesus clarified and confirmed my call to regain my passion for serving those who are marginalized, those who are in pain, those who are suffering, and to the injustices in the world. A Micah 6:8 theme verse.
Lord, open my eyes to see the injustices around me, open my heart and and soul to those in pain around me. Open and give me strength to see those who struggle in the world.
May I no longer sit back and wonder what people think, or wonder “if I can do this,” wait for others approval and permissions, or even a like/comment of Facebook. I have not shared my life on Facebook a lot lately literally because I am terrified to “get that call” or “hear what others are saying”. That is no longer my concern. Disturb in me my thoughts and attachments to other peoples opinions, approvals, and permissions.
God, I pray that you “equip me to take the transforming power of the gospel to the people who need is most” no matter the opinions, approvals, or permissions of others.
Maybe you have read this whole post and thinking “that has been my life.” Start today. Let Jesus release those strongholds in your life. You were meant to have have life and life abundantly and not held down like a prisoner from “people who only have power from words.”
Don’t let their words, actions, attitudes, or way of thinking shrink you any longer.
Don’t let those words that you have been holding on to for years keep you hidden any longer.
Don’t let anybody take any more joy from you. May you look in the mirror today and see a glimpse of who you are/were and may that be enough to move forward in freedom.
“To better the future we must disturb the present” Let that “present” be your mindset you have today!
As my favorite movie says, “nobody puts baby in the corner.” Watch out world here I come.