Have you ever felt like God was hitting you over the head with the proverbial 2x4 to get your attention?
I've mentioned a few times that last year was really rough for us Barefoot Hippies. Obvious things like losing a sister. Not so obvious things like ministry road blocks.
It has been difficult in two particular areas-Mr. Hippie's ministries, and my ministries. Where the two do and don't meet. But the lesson is the same. It is actually 2 fold. You can read the first part here, and then I will send you over to my friend Elizabeth's blog, where I wrote the other half.
|working together-at least posing together|
Here is the scenario that has happened 10x, if it has happened once, this past year.
Mr. Hippie or I, are asked to do something ministry related. Generally in our church, or in another church we are associated with. We pray about it, feel that is how God is leading, say yes, and then-Wham! Opposition.
From brothers and sisters in Christ. Opposition in the form of "you are too young." Or "you are a woman."
Those are the basic two protests we have heard many times this year.
|sometimes God gets right down on our level-to get His point across|
It almost feels like Indian giving. Giving a responsibility, and then taking it back. And its not like we asked for these opportunities either. They asked us.
Regardless. We are rather confident in the call God has placed on our lives. Mr. Hippie, in particular, has a heart for shepherding people. And he does it. And has for years. A huge chunk of our roofing business is shepherding and discipling young men. He cultivates relationships with people. He cares for people. And he doesn't need a position to make it official. He already is doing the work of shepherding.
The main area for me is working with children. We, as a couple, (in addition to children's work I do without him) are asked to teach VBS and Bible clubs, and kids' conferences, and then caveats are put on what exactly I can teach because I am a woman.
My point is not these issues though. My point is my reaction to them.
My point is what God seems to think I still haven't learned, even though I have been faced with these same two types of situations the past year. Over and over and over again.
|love these pictures|
And, I think I am finally getting it. I am so thankful God is patient with me. And that He keeps putting me in this place, because He isn't giving up on me. Or giving up on changing me into Christ's image.
So, just what is God trying to teach me? And, probably more me than poor Mr. Hippie. He is just a casualty to my pride and stubbornness. Ouch!
God is trying to teach me to let go of that pride. To let go of proving myself and my abilities.
See, my gut reaction when people pull the woman card is to pull out my credentials. To verbally prove how qualified I am. "I have done this, and been this, and if that isn't enough, I'm also...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."
Wow! That sounds nasty without even going into details.
But, you know what God has been trying to teach me this past year?
Do what they've asked you to do. Swallow your pride, and fit into their parameters. Submit-not just to them, but to Me. Humble yourself, and I will exalt you in due time. Don't defend yourself. Don't prove yourself by your words. Prove yourself by your actions.
The funny thing is-after I just let go, after the fight in my heart (and sometimes not only in my heart) God proves Himself through me. Every time I open my mouth in teaching, while relying on the Holy Spirit, His power and enabling comes through. And God gets the glory.
And the other funny thing is (there are a lot of funny things in this blog post), as I've done this, let go and let God in work my heart-He has also worked in other's hearts. These same people with the irritating parameters have been won over by me doing what I know how to do, the best I can, within those parameters.
Jesus didn't prove Himself. God commended Him. "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Jesus didn't defend Himself. He was innocent, and He died a criminal's death. To save me.
I guess I can let go of my defenses and personal commendations.
Obviously this has been on my heart lately. What with Monday's post (here) on God being big enough to grow my ministries without self promotion from me.
Then I wrote this post for Elizabeth's Blog, Dog Fur and Dandelion's, on patiently waiting. For God to fulfill His will for me, in His time. Just because He is saying, "wait" doesn't mean I misunderstood the call. It doesn't mean it is time to throw in the towel. It does mean He is teaching me to wait on Him, trust Him, and pray for His will to be fulfilled.
There is another verse in Chronicles somewhere about standing still and letting the Lord fight your battles for you. This is great in my context because, #1-I don't want to be fighting my bros and sis in the Lord. And #2-God can take care of my reputation, thank you very much.
Have I learned this lesson well enough yet? We'll see. I am sure it will be tested. Over and over and over again. Until I learn what God wants me to learn. Until these practices are my first reaction, not the last ditch effort after duking it out with God.
Have you ever had a situation like this? What was God trying to teach you?