I absolutely love books! I find myself reading anywhere from 4-6 at one time…along with the Bible of course. I make jokes all the time about how I need to join (or start) a Books Anonymous because I am so drawn to them. Sometimes I wonder why? Truthfully, if I am completely vulnerable, I believe I may be searching for that “one thing” that will just tip those spiritual scales in my favor and I will have wisdom that reaches close to the wisdom that Solomon had. That is a silly goal because all that wisdom didn’t keep Solomon from sinning.
I sat in my office the other day and just became overwhelmed at the number of books that I had…ones I had completely read…ones that I’m halfway through…ones that I just had to have but haven’t even started page 1 and, God help me, I have a new one being delivered today. My guts ached a little. I started asking myself “what are you doing girl? What are you looking for?”
My daughter said something very profound this morning “Mom, our life here is spent trying to grasp the Gospel and sometimes we get so distracted by so many things that we miss the basics.” Oh, sweet child…you are right and that is why I am writing today.
I want to be honest with you and say that I feel very vulnerable in writing this to you today. As I talked with my daughter about it this morning, I actually felt embarrassed (or maybe shame) that I just realized this truth after walking with Jesus all this time. I know a lot in my head…I put millions and millions of words in my brain yearly…but not all of it gets to my heart…not until God gets involved. Which He did in my situation. He got involved and I will never be the same.
I write to help people. I open up my life so you can see that walking with Jesus is not a frolic in the flowery fields with birds chirping and rainbows and unicorns. Walking with Jesus takes faith and faith is the only way to please God. And it is sometimes very hard.
I am a very passionate person. I FEEL a lot of things and, if I’m not careful, my feelings can rule me. If I feel it, then it must be true and THAT IS SO FALSE. It’s taken a lot of counseling and failure and getting back up again to work through this stronghold in my life. I have experienced a lot of rejection, anxiety, shame, dysfunction, fear, depression, humiliation, etc (just name it…it’s on the list) and that has made me react in such a way where feelings tell me what to do or not do. So most of my life, I have lived by feelings and, as my Spanish-speaking daughter would say “that’s no bueno!”
God has been highlighting “by faith” in my life for a while now and this is my vulnerable part that I feel embarrassed about. It’s like I know what faith is. It’s just I struggled for the life application part of it. How does it practically play out in my life?
Beth Moore defines faith this way:
- God is who He says He is.
- God can do what He says He can do.
- I am who God says I am.
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- God’s Word is alive and active in me
I’m believing God!
Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And verse 6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
So my head understands but my heart was missing it because my feelings were still ruling me. If I’m mad, I go with it. I say what I want. I avoid who I want. I think what I want. When I act like that…praying usually slows down or halts, reading the Word feels hollow and empty because I’m living by feelings, so therefore I get the fruit of my feelings…which is being stuck in the same place with the same feelings.
The truth is that I’ve grown exhausted living that way. I say things like “God! I’m in your Word…I go to church when I feel like it…I pray from time to time and What LORD? Where are you?” This is a slippery slope to get on because it can lead to thinking things like “what’s it all for? Why am I here? I have no purpose.” I’m getting fired up in my spirit thinking about those stupid lies I have believed for so long.
But when I live by faith…everything changes. How? This was a process for me because truthfully, my feelings could possible still be the same. I could still get all fired up…I can still ask those questions and wonder what is God doing but, when I live by faith…the game-changer is:
I have INVITED God into my situation and
I am no longer doing things on my own.
That’s what living by faith does…it invites God into my life and THEN He is able to do a transforming work in my heart and mind. It brings freedom people.
When I am living by my feelings, there is no invite for Jesus to come in and help me. He never leaves me but He will not help until you come to the end of yourself and trust in Him.
I have had two weeks of walking out two very big situations where my flesh has screamed NO! I DON’T WANT TO! And BY FAITH, I have done it anyway. One of those two times, fear overcame me and I wanted to bail but, BY FAITH, I did what my flesh did not want and there was a calming of my spirit (eventually) and peace that I cannot conjure up on my own. Good things came out of it and I know God is growing my roots deeper and deeper into the soil of His Truth. In my weakness, He showed up strong. He gave me strength to love on other people when my insides were churning with fear. I kept whispering “Jesus” under my breath and kept taking one step after the next.
Most of my fleshly situations have to do with fear of other people. Ever since my moral failure in 2013, things have never quite been the same in relationships for me. My circle is very small…and recently has gotten even smaller. I believe I will have a season again of pure joy in relationships with other people but not until Jesus is my everything over everything and everyone.
I repented for being so uninvitable to my LORD and Savior. The fact is I am weak. I need Him every second, minute, hour of every day. When left on my own, I’m like a wandering toddler. I’m growing from glory to glory and He’s bringing me back to the basics.
Live by faith my precious daughter. Believe me.
Sweet people…God doesn’t need you to DO anything for Him…He just wants you…your whole heart, soul and mind. The Creator of the Universe wants a relationship with you so bad that He sent His Son to die the death that our tiny little tails should have died. He didn’t want that for us. He made a way so that we could come boldly to the throne and say “Abba! I need you! Please help me!”
That’s so simple, isn’t it…The Simple Gospel.
Oh, how we complicate it!
What you need will never be what is in the hundreds of books we read a year. Though they will inspire and help you feel like you are not alone (like I’m trying to do right now)…you need to hear from God…you need to be intentional about your invitation to Him in living by faith…not by feelings. I promise you will notice a change in your life, in your peace, in your joy, in your worship…in your love for HIM.
Psalm 34:4-5; 8 I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
It’s true! He is good! But some of us might not experience that goodness if you keep living by feelings instead of by faith. He is worthy to be trusted. He is worthy to be invited in.