I spent Friday night and all day Saturday at the IF:gathering in Austin.
There aren't words to adequately capture the experience.
We were blessed.
We were called.
We were challenged.
We were equipped.
We were prayed over.
We were sent out.
A friend of mine told me before I left on Friday that she was praying IF:gathering would be my DNOW. And that's exactly what it was.
Adding to the sweetness of the weekend was the fact that I had led a group of 7th grade girls at our DNOW the weekend before, and the topic was the SAME THING y'all.
God is crazy and awesome and He's hammering me with the challenge to be brave and courageous.
I told my girls this morning in Bible Fellowship that my challenge actually came at IF:, rather than at DNOW, but I have no doubt that leading at DNOW last weekend and hearing the messages from our speaker laid the ground-work and prepared my heart to receive this weekend.
So I'm sharing with all of you my confession and my act of bravery.
Actually 2 acts of bravery.
The first one, and the easiest of the two, is something Ann Voskamp challenged everyone to do.
1 Samuel 7:3 says, "So Samuel said to all the Israelites, 'If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve Him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.'"
So every morning, at 7:03, I'll pray. I'll pray for my heart and soul and mind to be pointed to the Lord. I'll pray that I don't allow any foreign gods to take up space in my heart and in my life.
This is brave thing number one. It's brave because I like to sleep. Like, a lot. And mornings are from the devil himself.
But I will be brave. I will set my alarm, and I will actually wake up when it goes off, and I will pray.
My second act of bravery first required a realization and confession. I had to have my eyes opened to what was happening in my heart before I could step out in faith and commit to the brave thing God was telling me to do. As I talked through some of the discussion questions with my friends at the gathering, God showed me that I've been keeping Him at arm's length for several months, because I've been afraid of what He'll want me to do if I draw close to Him and listen.
Have I been spending time with Him?
Have I been praying and learning?
Have I been putting my whole heart into it? Have I been all in?
Of being uncomfortable.
Of being pushed beyond myself.
Of being told to do something that would require me to put my faith to work.
But, believing in God takes courage. Living in faith, living out our faith, makes us uncomfortable. But faith, real true God-sized faith, overcomes the doubt and the fear and the insecurity.
Jen Hatmaker said this weekend that "We live out God's kingdom to the same level we believe in it." So, what do I believe about God's kingdom?
Do I believe it's worth being uncomfortable for?
Do I believe that what God can do through me if I'm willing, is greater than my fear of being pushed beyond myself?
Do I love God enough to put my faith to work? To take that next step?
So, in following the leading and equipping of all things IF:, I'm going to open my home and invite my neighbors to eat at my table. I'm going to ask questions. I'm going to talk to them about God. It might get uncomfortable, but I want to hear their hearts, and their stories, and I want them to know that this is a safe place.
And the bottom line; it's not my responsibility to get results. I need only to respond to the call, and let God do the rest.
So I'm going to be brave.
"But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." 1 John 4:4
What's God asking you to do?
***I actually do want to hear from y'all on this. For some reason many people have trouble commenting and I don't know why!! It has come to my attention that you can comment anonymously, but sign your name in the body of the comment. Or not. Either way.***