Sunday, September 21, 2008

Growing Up...

This is officially our last week in Kirkland, for a while anyway. The shipping company came and picked up Tony’s Bronco today and then we had a great little “Good Bye” get together with some of Tony’s family this evening. It is definitely feeling very final at this point. There are still quite a few details to figure out, and there is a ton on our minds. For instance…

Have you heard this one before: “If He calls you, He’ll equip you”? This phrase has brought me much comfort and strength in the past. I mean, it seems logical, reasonable, and definitely encouraging. There are plenty of stories in the Bible of God asking people to do something that seemed impossible, and then He provided a way for them to do it, strength to get through it. I believe it’s even happened in my life where I felt God was asking, urging me to do something that I never thought I could do. Then, when I stepped out to actually do it, I found I had more strength than I could have mustered on my own… that the Holy Spirit was with me to help me accomplish something that seemed impossible. I’m not talking about lifting a burning mini-van up off of a trapped baby. I talking more about forgiving someone I never thought I could or would forgive. I knew it was something God wanted me to do, never thought I could or would do it, and then with His help I did.

If He calls you, He’ll equip you…

Do you think the opposite is true? If He doesn’t call you, will He not equip you? If you haven’t read our last dilemma about calling, you might want to check it out. I am still thinking and praying about it. Now I’m wondering about this "call you-equip you" saying. I call it a “saying” rather than a verse because I couldn’t actually find this in the Bible. I know there are a ton of you out there who are more scholarly than me (or is it, I?), so if you know where to find this saying as an actual Bible verse, I would love the help. But, since I can’t find it, it makes me wonder if it is really in a list of clichés we’ve made up. You know the ones I’m talking about…
Cleanliness is next to Godliness
God provides for those, who provide for themselves
The higher the hair, the closer to God

So, I’ve been wondering… if He didn’t call us… is there a reason He hasn’t actually asked us to help launch Great Lakes Church? I mean, are we these people who volunteer to do something we think is a good idea, but really… maybe it isn’t? Are we these people who give your four year old daughter a puppy, because we know she’ll love it, and because we love her, and somehow we can’t see past our noses to realize we have just cursed your house (and your carpet) rather than blessed you?

You see, having desired to follow Jesus Christ for the past 7 years, I have had my fair share of experiences with obedience. I learned early on that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). I also, for all of my life, have known what it is to disobey or live in rebellion. I am familiar with guilt and shame, and I am familiar with the joy that comes from doing what I know I should do. But, this Great Lakes Church thing, as we’ve said before, is not an obedience thing. It’s something else…

As kids, we rarely did anything we did not want to do without being asked. There were plenty of times I knew my room was a mess, but didn’t even consider cleaning it up until I was told to do it. Oh, and if I was told to do it, and then didn’t do it… yep, disobedience. Disobedience = BIG TROUBLE! But that’s normal, right? Nobody expects a child to clean up without being asked. It’s a precious little miracle if they do.

I knew a woman once who, when dating a guy, would occasionally take him to a jewelry store. She’d show him the things she liked, try them on with him there, talk about what she wanted him to get for her. (I know, not my idea of a good date.) Then, in a matter of weeks, or the next time there was some sort of gift giving occasion, she would receive in a pretty box the very piece of jewelry she’d shown him. How lovely, right? A guy who would do what he was told?

... Hmm… Would you like to pause and raise an eyebrow with me? If you’re thinking what I’m thinking… Wouldn’t it have been better if he’d thought of the gift all on his own? Wouldn’t it mean more, and wouldn’t she maybe feel more loved, if he’d decided that he wanted to get her something special and then he went, like a big boy, and picked it out himself? It’s like she never even gave the guy a chance! Or maybe she thought if she left it up to him, he wouldn’t show her love the way she wanted.

So, we know we are not going to help launch Great Lakes Church because God specifically asked us. At first that thought is quite scary. We wondered, and still do sometimes, if God will really provide for us, equip us, since he didn’t actually ask us to do this. (We’re not giving the kid a puppy, are we?) But now, it’s getting kind of exciting. It’s this feeling that maybe we’re not kids anymore, kids that can really only respond with obedience or disobedience. Maybe we’re growing up just a little bit, and learning to love God in a new way. It’s exciting to think we have this opportunity to do what we can, not because we were asked, but simply because we love God and we want to give Him something of ourselves. Our Father has always taken the initiative toward us. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He has pursued us, initiated the relationship, forgiven when we did not deserve. We know we cannot out-love Him. But, I wonder if maybe he hasn’t given us that assurance of a specific calling or conviction in order to give us room, give us a chance, to pursue Him and give all we can just because we want to.

Maybe this is our opportunity to truly love Him back.


Nancy said...

You two are amazing inspirational people. Keep on loving! You're really good at it!
He never gives you more than you can handle. You've got this!

I really love The higher the hair, the closer to God.


Michelle said...

Thanks, Nance! You should print the hair one and put it on your mirror for your clients to see. They'd love it :)