A Divine Discovery: Tending The Spaces God Gives You
Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! Five minutes of uninterrupted writing...no editing. No overthinking. Just write! Today's word is: DISCOVERY (True confession- I wrote for a lot more than 5 minutes on this one!!)
Well friends, I'm sorry I've been so distant these last few months...
I've been trying to sort through this calling of mine. Asking God questions to uncover heart of what I'm doing. The heart of what HE'S doing- or maybe trying to do- through me?
This is no easy task. Uncovering your purpose. Especially when you struggle, and resist, and avoid His leading as much as I do.
I've asked myself many times: Why me God? Why does this have to be my story?
I've been running. Hiding. Ignoring. Pretending this is not my story. Not this pain. Not this purpose. Not me God.
Have you been there too?
In Acts 17 Paul responds to God's calling head-on. Without hesitation. Without resistance. Seemingly without fear.
He went to Thessalonica to proclaim Christ and was run out of town by an angry mob refusing to put their trust in a suffering, risen, Lord. When he arrived in Berea the people were much more willing to listen to the hopeful message, but the Jews from Thessalonica followed Paul there and began "agitating and stirring up the crowds".
I don't know about you, but I really, really don't like it when people are angry with me. When people are offended. When they are hurt by my words or actions. When people judge me or think poorly of me. I just can't stand it. Paul was run out of town by angry Jews two days in a row and yet when he arrives in Athens by boat he immediately becomes overcome with intense, God-given emotions:
Acts 17:16-17- Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.
When his spirit was provoked (or stirred up) with grief and indignation at their idolatry he faced a decision.
1. Persevere with his God-given purposes in spite of all of the recent rejection and discouragement?
2. Allow the people to continue their idolatrous ways and never know their true God?
The book of Acts does not detail any hesitancy on Paul's part, but in fact shows that he went every single day to the marketplace to reason with them. To persistently and honestly and passionately help them hear of the great hope offered in Christ.
Acts 17:22-24- So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
His heart-felt response to their depravity came upon the realization that they were worshipping what had been made with their own hands. These smartly religious men with their own self-sufficiency on full display. The blatant religious stake in the ground proclaiming to all the land that they were satisfied with their quiet, rule-following ways. Content to exist in a world in which God is "unknown" in any real capacity. A safe space where God is in His proper place and I am in control of my own life.
But our God is not contained in earthly vessels. In an altar or a church building. He is not bound by any small spaces His creation has stuffed Him into. He doesn't need us to serve Him. He doesn't need us to write blogs and spread hope and give life affirming words in times of despair.
Acts 17:25- And he made from one man every nation of man kind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’...
Only He has determined the allotted periods and boundaries of the places that we each dwell in. The spaces we occupy in this world. The stories we have had and will have. The parameters and extent of those painful and uncertain circumstances. The usefulness of our willing- or not so willing- compliance with the boundaries and spaces we've been given. The goal is not to worship him more systematically, or fundamentally, or to worship the work of our own hands in HIS spaces but to feel our way through sometimes dimly lit tunnels and dark pathways toward HIM and FIND HIM. The light.
Paul was not pushing back or kicking against the boundaries of his God allotted seasons and spaces, but I'm sure behind the scenes he spent time wondering why this had to be his story. Shipwrecked. Imprisoned. Persecuted. Alone. Misunderstood.
He surely had to "learn" to be content with that story! (Philippians 4:11)
What parts of your story do you wish you could rewrite? What boundaries and spaces have you resented God for giving to you?
I've resisted His hand in this ministry. Revivemeagain.com The originating purpose for this space was to meet the needs of women within the boundaries of a divorce. Women in the spaces filled with pain and loss and heartache that many Christians don't or won't try to understand. This is still my heart.
I'm ready to embrace this space. To engage in the tough (but rewarding) work that God has for me in the boundaries of His infinite love and the spaces filled with His perfect plans. Building this blog into a safe place for hurting women. That's my goal.
I still believe in God's goodness in spite of this story that I didn't ask for. This divorce. This life I never thought would be mine.
I'll be posting a lot more content relevant to tools and supports for hurting women and I hope you'll stick around. I hope you'll share it with someone who needs to connect with this tiny corner of the world.
I hope you'll pray for this ministry. This little piece of earth that God wants me to tend.
This is a Divine Discovery- an infinite and real God in whom we live and move and have our being. I've felt my way towards Him and I've found a soft place to take shelter from the storm. Will you join me?
Join up at Five Minute Friday today to read more great writing on "Discovery"
Thanks to Mary Boswell for this concept of tending your pasture. Check out her blog here: http://www.thecalmofhispresence.com/gods-plan-seasons-pastures/