Increasing Awarness

My Mom never let me quit anything. If I signed up for a sport or activity I had to finish out the season even if I hated it.

Ballet was the worst. Maybe it was the teacher…..I don’t know, but standing at a bar for an hour of Releves and Pliés was worse than boring. I can still vividly remember the torment of waiting for class to end….35 years ago.

At some point my Mom and I had a talk and that’s when I realized I didn’t have to take ballet when the next classes started…..but I was not allowed to quit in the middle. I think there were other activities I asked if I could stop mid-what-ever.  She never let me.

ballet-bun-for-young-girls-1

Fast forward 20 years. I married and started a career in vocational ministry at a young age.  Because my parents had instilled stability, maturity, and character in me, I think I was ready for bigger responsibilities earlier.

I was taught the importance of following through with commitments & that lying and stealing were wrong. The goal of life was not to get ahead anyway I could, but instead be a person whom others could trust.

More foundations were laid during our years in Campus ministry. In fact the invitation to come on staff was followed by a prophetic word that went something like this, “The Lord says you have been faithful with little & so He is going to give you more & increase your sphere of influence”

Fast forward another 20 years. I’m now the director of a conference and event ministry (not looking for strokes, simply explaining) and guess what? The same principles apply in my life now that did when I was six.

Character matters. Gifting is awesome, but knowing people can trust your integrity is priceless. Knowing God calls you faithful is more wonderful than every compliment from people combined. If I’ve pleased Him, I’ve done all that matters.

So what does ballet class have to do with my life now?  Or your life? Ballet class matters because faithfulness and character are not fads. What you do in secret is seen in the light. Honesty matters. Following through with commitments matters.

This wasn’t something our parents or former generations did that’s now out of style. It’s become more rare, but honesty and working hard are not merely things to do or be, they are opportunities to honor God and serve Him. They are worship. They are one teeny tiny way to say “thank you”. Thank you to a God who sacrificed His Son in our place. Thank you to a God who bore our sin, sickness, and soul wounds on a cross so that we can live life abundantly and with purpose.

Honesty and hard work matter if you want more.  And most of us do.  I had the privilege of observing a friend recently who, in his own words, was “excited”.  Apparently, this was a big deal as this person is not given to this feeling of excitement very often.  So what made him so excited?  He had recently been given an opportunity to teach a class on one of his favorite topics.  Teaching + a favorite topic was the magic equation that brought my friend to this uncommon emotion.  And it got me thinking about how much joy God has when He brings us into a place of fulfilling more of our destiny.

There is not a magic equation for fulfilling your destiny.  If there were – no one would struggle with wondering what their purpose is.  All I know is that my friend has been faithful with little and he is being given much.

God cares about the little.

I have another friend who has been faithful in pursuing the dreams God has placed in her heart.  She and her team have developed a business plan for a large ministry that has potential to bring transformation to millions of people.  They are at a crossroads as they wait for the finances to come through.  The dream is literally hanging in the balance.  They were led by God but now the question is “Will God provide?”

All I know is that God is a good parent.  He knows what we need.  Sometimes there’s reward and sometimes He tests us, but both are because He loves.

Yes, the opportunities that God gives us are to bless others, but I’m always amazed at how much they are for our own enjoyment too.

I rejoice often because I’m reaping what I’ve sown.  Reaping a clean conscience is one of the greatest gifts of all….and it’s all because of His grace anyway.

The cross is an amazing place to hide.  When you hide in something it’s all you see.  It’s all you hear.  It’s all you experience.  The cross is abundant life.  Believe me…there’s no end to the wonder of His amazing grace.  You’ll not grow tired or uninterested as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation rests on your heart and mind.

When we move away from the finished work of the cross we can start to drift away from clarity in purpose and vision.  We become vulnerable to religious works or succumb to a failure mentality that says, “If I can’t stay holy, why bother trying?”

Let’s be encouraged today, friends.  If you have grown tired in the battle, take a minute right now and ask God to awaken hope.  Place your own hand on your own head and pray for the eyes of your heart to be opened to greater understanding of His works in your life right now.  Ask for clarity about how He loves you, has designed and created you.  Ask for an increase of joy.  Right now.  There is no time like the present.

And there’s no better present than this:

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,…”    Eph 1:17-18

Deep breaths…deep breaths…He loves.  He invites.  He restores.  He heals.  He renews hope.  He has an amazing destiny for you, and as you are faithful with little, you will enjoy the more that you are anticipating and longing for!

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