dont just rescue it, heal it!

I sit. I look down at my half-empty coffee mug and see the words "Orange County" written along the top of the mug with the image of a surfer catching a wave below it. (Yes, I'm drinking from the ever famous Starbucks Coffee mug collection and pondering life's deeper thoughts.) I look to the left and see my hot pink and neon-yellow running shoes. If only it were a better time to go for a run perhaps I'd be running out my thoughts and energy rather than banging on the keys for a better way to release the circles my mind is running into. I see a pearl earring and some hair coloring and then a whirl of life's deepest questions come to mind. Ya know, questions like: Where the heck is that other earring? Why do I always lose 1 sock from my running socks when I wash them? And, am I ready to go all dark and forever give up my blondness? Who will call me Blondie still?

Okay okay, so they're not TRULY life's deepest questions, but it seems to be the theme of life currently. I find myself worrying about when I will get my workout in or how to schedule six happy hours into 3 free days. But, perhaps I'm stuck in a cycle because I'm somehow avoiding asking some of the other "deeper" questions that surface when we quiet our mind long enough to let it speak. These questions that keep turning to deeper probing questions I cannot escape more than a few dozen times before they resurface. I spend two seconds to think about what outfit I'll wear to Orange Theory Fitness class, If I should post pictures from the weekends' rendezvous or get more sleep; and then the thoughts come and I cannot escape them.

Some of these recurring thoughts and questions settled in a bit deeper this past weekend, and I think I am finally at a place of asking them, and even knowing how to ask myself them whereas even as little as a few days ago, I'm not sure I was at a place to understand how to ask myself questions like these, when I couldn't even, I'm sorry, "wouldn't even" allow myself to get to the root of my thoughts. my heart.

Its easier to keep it idle right?

I have a friend who once told me to not let my heart get hard and I thank her to this day for that!! "Tears are the antifreeze to your heart" she told me, in the midst of a moment I wanted to shut all my cuts and wounds and thoughts out. 

 And yet, even without tears, I know all to well to pay attention when my heart is stirred.
"It is when our hearts are stirred that we become most aware of what they contain" - Andy Stanley

And so the questions that have so often surfaced in the past like:
Why am i not content? What am I missing? How do I get there? When will I arrive? Who is Jesus to me? IF I believe He is who he says he is, how am I not leading and living a better example? What am I afraid of? Am I lovable? AM I worthy? Do I have what it takes? What is my life calling me to risk? ...and on and on the questions go.

Thankfully these questions came to a surface and I was able to identify some deeper and better ways of asking these questions this weekend.  

"Is the life I Lead, the life that longs to live in me?"
wait. Read it again and allow yourself to take that fully in thinking about YOU:
"Is the life I lead, the life that longs to live in me?" and what does this mean? When allowing your heart to sit in this question and actually think about how to respond doesn't your mind start to spin? Wondering if it IS???

Other questions I've wrestled with as a young-adult committed to walking with the Lord are questions like "in a world where everyone is looking for meaning, how are WE to be salt & light?" I have often times thought this, but never quite knew how to put it into words. Why are we not engaging culture in such a way that is causing people to hault and look towards a creator and loving God as their everything? Where are we missing the mark? Have we missed our chance because we are all sitting around 'talking about meeting on how to go about going out and talking to people?' ha. But seriously. What are we, what am I doing to expand and live out the great commission. 

THANKFULLY in a conversation I was privileged to sit in on this weekend, most of my above questions were answered to some extent or another. And yes, some of them were answered with even deeper questions, but some with greater answers!! I'd like to share a bit about the weekend and where I was challenged and perhaps challenge even you a minute as a reader...if I may? :)

Over the weekend I had the wonderful privilege of attending IF: Gathering via simulcast in Denver (woot woot! Thank you Downing house!!:) And while the entire event was amazing and totally awe inspiring, challenging, heartfelt and heart-wrenching; there was one particular session I found myself completely undone by. This session was by far the best on being set free!!! THANK YOU Rebekah Lyons!

Not only did she talk about healing and being set free from the bondages that so easily entangle us in everyday life like the ability to numb ourselves out or medicate with frequent target and Starbucks runs. 

(Hello! There's a reason there's a pin on Pinterest about walking into Target to buy one thing, walking out having spent $100! Its maddening I tell you - And i KNOW some of you can relate! :-P Just saying;) 
Anyways... What I loved about hearing Rebekah speak was not only her authentic nature of heart and communication but her openness to talking about the process and her struggle... she talked of her struggle to fight anxiety and depression (something all to close to home as I've watched my father fight this off and on for a while now), and then she talked about the calling she and her husband had to Q Ideas. And even furthermore she talked about identifying our callings, being freed from numbness, living for an audience of one and knowing ultimately what breaks our heart.

Viktor Frankl(Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor) said "The root of anxiety is ultimately unfulfilled responsibility and a lack of meaning"

In other words, "when you KNOW you are made for MORE, but you're not doing it." Lyons says to us; "we fade when we don't know who we are" and this hit home for so many reasons.

Can you relate? Do you really know who you are?
Or are you a pretty good version of who you'd like others to think you are?

I used to be great at this: a chameleon in whatever setting I was in. And while it might be a gift I've learned to harness for the good (Apostle Paul talks of "becoming all things to all people so that some might be saved" in 1st Corinthians) it was years of living the way I thought others wanted me to. I'm a performer, what can I say? But performing in every area of life, so even I don't know who I am? Its exhausting. How many of us can relate to becoming like what people want or what we're surrounded by just to fit a certain stereotype? Thankfully this was one of the first things God stripped of me as I attempted to walk closer to him in the beginnings of our journey together. And while its still not easy, I can say I'm a heck of a lot better at not being so "performance driven" and my quirks and fun little nuances come out a lot more often than not;) But if you can relate at all, you'll find this interesting:

Countless numbers of people spend half their life abandoning and trying to forget the natural talents and gifts they were born with(our birthrights) only to spend the second half our lives trying to regain these talents after we've rediscovered them.

Think about it - how many of you grew up trying to get rid of that 'talent' because it just wasn't cool to play the piano or guitar when others wanted to play soccer or socialize at recess? Life is so busy happening, and we've spent so long ignoring what we're REALLY called to do that we lose ourselves. Which in turn creates some form of anxiety. We lose ourselves into a 'job that seems happy because its not stressful' but are ultimately unfulfilled and frankly said, we're bored to tears on a daily basis. We lose ourselves into our TV shows and the romanticized reality life we see (which is far from real or anything realistic that would happen on a daily basis in our own home) We lose ourselves into the hustle and bustle of life and making sure the kids lunches are packed, daycare is taken care of and carpool all set for the week. We lose ourselves into the guy we're dating because what he's interested in is way cooler than what we're familiar with and its a new adventure. We lose ourselves into the drama of her colleagues and the excitement of her new pursuits or his new portfolio, and we forget we have our own life and our own dreams and our own desires, but feel like its too late.

SO, as Lyons says, once we rediscover our birthrights, we actually spend the second half our life trying to rediscover and activate our calling, which for some, could take a bit longer than they'd ever desire. (perhaps why its important to know who we are before getting married, or having a supportive spouse to encourage us to dig in deeper, no matter what it takes to figuring out who you are - But that can be for a different day, a different blog;)

Calling is nothing more than when your talents and burdens collide. Knowing WHY you use your gifts, your burden is informed by the life you live, the stories you've told, and its informed by a broken heart. Calling comes when you face your greatest fear. - Rebekah Lyons
Bill Hybels describes our "holy discontent" as knowing you can't just sit back and watch nothing be done to help a situation that just isn't right.

If our Calling is when our talents and our burdens collide, its in knowing our burdens that is key. Ultimately we can be using our gifts but for the wrong effort or towards the wrong thing. So, understanding what breaks our heart and where our burdens come from is the WHY behind the how we use our gifts. (It is not my intent to struggle with this for long!!) But ultimately, its in understanding our burden that we will be able to identify our calling. And our calling comes when we face our greatest fear. So what is your greatest fear? (this could be hypothetical now, but definitely a question to seriously ask one-self IF you want to identify your calling!!)

“You can be in your calling, and still not be free, when you’re copying and competing and comparing.” Lyons warned us.

So where does safety, freedom, and rescue come in? Beyond working for the applause of the ONE, our fears will continue to taunt us and they can become a reality that will paralyze us and keep us from our calling, if we let them.

BUT... in the journey, when we are working for the audience and pleasure of ONE, we can know we're safe. 

Dont you want to find answers to all our questions that are driven from deeper fears? I DO! Those deeper questions that loom... what if we answered them honestly here? Do you think you/we could come to a place of receiving rescue and freedom to walk forward in confidence?
Why am i not content? What am I missing? How do I get there? When will I arrive? Who is Jesus to me? IF I believe He is who he says he is, how am I not leading and living a better example? What am I afraid of? Am I loveable? AM I worthy? Do I have what it takes? What is my life calling me to risk?
Ultimately, I look above at these questions and it all boils down to two questions that passionately drive me forward:
What am I worth?
Does my heart matter?
What am I afraid to risk? 

When I think about Lyons' words on working towards the applause and audience of ONE, I actually believe my fears will disappear and the questions above will fade, because I know I am worth EVERYTHING and I am not to be afraid about ANYTHING - because He is with me. Every step of the Way!!!!

admittedly so: I am afraid...
Im afraid I will fail. I am afraid I will not get the job. I'm afraid he will reject me. I'm afraid I will be wrong and have to come home. I'm afraid I wont make it. I'm afraid my pride will be insulted. I'm afraid I wont be enough for him to stay. I'm afraid. I'm afraid I wont know how to keep going. And YET - these are all irrational fears because I might not get the job, I might be rejected, I might be wrong and yes, have to come home. I might not make it and my pride could be hurt. I might not know what to do next. I might not be enough to be chosen... BUT I HAVE been chosen by someone who saw the joy set before him enough to endure the cross and guess what??? We WERE that joy! (Heb 12:2)And His sacrifice counted!! We can know we have a God who is interested in our best and will work ALL THINGS together for the good (of those who love him...Rom 8:28) And we can trust Him to be there every step of the way to empower, strengthen, and equip us to keep moving forward. Thankfully I will STILL get to live and experience eternity forever and with him, and in knowing even this, we cant lose. I mean, honestly, whats the worst that could happen? He will be with you, then and there, and Jesus will provide a way to move forward.

So today... I don't know about you, but I'm ready to be free enough to move forward! I'm tired of asking dumb hypothetical questions and even giving any credit or time to the devil for his ridiculous thoughts and lies that have us deceived. I believe God is moving, and when he grips our attention we need to move on it. Rebekah in the end of her talk, addressed confession. She talked about the numb state of life we all live in and the fact that most of us have no idea we're even sinning, which could be a lot of the reason why we're missing what God has for us - our lack of knowledge, our lack of confession, and ultimately our lack of moving forward. BUT... if we want to reach a place where we know what breaks our hearts so we can walk forward in pursuing our calling (where our burdens and gifts collide), and walk forward with a whole heart to love God and love others better outside of the little "christian bubble" letting the prompting of His word and the Holy Spirit lead you.

As Rebekah prayed, I join her until I see his freedom and restoration. This is the year! I believe it is the year I will see REDEMPTION and RESTORATION in my story. I want to believe this for you too, so if we want to be free, we have to give up the things that numb us!

And so we cry out for a broken heart to be healed so we can continue to set Captives FREE and be who we are CALLED to BE!:
"Father THIS IS THE HEALING we are asking for: a heart that comes in Jesus power. Father for my heart to pray for BOLD things and to be consumed with passion and purity and all that is holy! Father Heal our hearts, our broken hearts, don't just rescue it, heal it for good! Make our hearts NEW as if the wounding never happened in Jesus name!! Give us the ability to say NO MORE to the enemy. May we reject the things that numb us of our captivity... please done let us be silent" Jesus we love you and its in YOUR name we pray,


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