Thursday, February 27, 2014

releasing it to God

I am not one to often be found in a place of uncertainty. I've been blessed with a kind of self-assurance that is difficult to scramble, a (sometimes) quiet confidence that has guided me through the good parts of my life. God placed within me an ability to know, discover, discern, and a desire for action. The times in my life that those abilities align with the Holy Spirit's leadings in my soul have led to moments of great spiritual awareness and direction... not to mention growth. Those are exciting times, and I long for them to be a more abundant occurrence.
That has not been the case lately, I find myself trying to figure out what it is that I am to be doing. I know that my career is not currently what God would have for me to be doing. Though I also know that what God would have me to do would be to glorify Him through whatever I am doing... I can't say that I have been doing that well lately. I have been so focused on finding whatever it is that God is leading me to do next in my professional life that I have been ignoring His glory in my current work...

I interviewed for a position this week. I honestly don't know if God would have me to make this shift or not. In my world of knowing, confidence, and self-assurance, I hate not knowing. I do know that circumstances surrounding my applying, connecting with, and interviewing for this position ensured that they did not have the opportunity to see me at my best. I sent them the wrong resume the first time (I had recently updated it, and sent the old copy), I missed the call from the recruiter and then had trouble using their phone system to leave her a message (leading to an embarrassing number of attempts to call her), when we finally did make contact we set up an interview, upon setting up the interview, I remembered that I signed up for extra shifts at work the night before and night after the interview thus ensuring I would be exhausted at the time of the interview. I then managed to make it to the interview with my hair misbehaving, my eyes red, massive bags and circles, to sit down in front of a panel of 6 people (3 of whom do the job I was currently interviewing for). I attempted to wax poetic about myself, showcase my talents and giftings, and present myself as a great candidate for the job. The problem is, as practiced as I am at keeping my ego fenced in while I am meeting people who don't know me well enough to understand me, when I get tired, that filter malfunctions.

I want to be able to trust that all of those roadblocks served one of two purposes:
1) If they offer me the position after all of that, it'll have to have been a God thing, and I will feel confident that He would have me embark on this next great adventure.

2) If I am not offered the position, I will feel assured that I was chasing after something that was not of God, and each of those stumbles was there to ensure that I would not pursue it further.

Tonight, I find myself struggling as I wait to learn which of these cases is true. I have hymns blasting in my ears, silently offering up worship, trying to release my anxiety to a God that I know and trust to be sovereign over ALL things.

I'm also toying with the idea of opening a coffee house/roaster/pastry shop... if anyone wants to invest in everything I would want/need to do that...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

extended grace

If we count ourselves among those who have been called out, set apart, and free recipients of the sovereign grace of God, then how can we choose to not extend that same grace to all whom we come into contact with in our world? 

I'm thinking over this question tonight, and it worries me to see the people of God, who are so willing to claim, and at times, presume upon the grace of God, and yet who do not show this grace to those in our culture and society who need to experience it. 

I am not speaking to the condoning of sin, but rather to the condemning of people for their sins. We too were yet sinners when Christ died for us, we too were dead in our trespasses apart from saving faith. We too struggled with sins of pride, sexual immorality, greed, and so on, and so on. And it's not like we accomplished anything of ourselves to be pardoned for those sins... we were simply slaves to the shared sins of ALL mankind who have now been called out of that slavery by the singular, powerful, effectual calling of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as such have been loosed from our shackles of sin to join into the family of God as co-heirs of the glorious riches of Christ, as a father lavishes his son with the inheritance of his wealth. 

As recipients of this grace, and the inherited, imputed righteousness that bears out with all who believe, we know that we have done nothing to earn favor with God. There is nothing that separates us, who have been saved, from those who still sit under the wrath and judgement of a holy God except for His calling us, by name and raising us up from the depths of our sins. And because we are able to see this truth, we need to be able to stand with those who still are enslaved by this broken and fallen world, and share with them the beauty and love of the One true God, and allow His glory to shine through us that through us, He might call their name, regardless of who they are, regardless of the filthiness of their sins, and that the light of the gospel might shine brightly forth in their heart, that they might, under the power of Christ alone, repent of their sin and join with us in the family of God. 

How dare we tread on the cross of Christ to think that we deserve a say in who does or does not receive the opportunity to experience the grace that was given to us. 

I don't pretend to believe that I succeed in this at all either, but I do know that through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit active with the depths of my soul, that each day Christ is interceding on my behalf that I might become more like Himself, and that I may be more able to look beyond a person's sins (that I only recognize because their scars are present in my life, when I gaze upon the mirror of my past) and that because of that, I can extend grace. 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if you claim to be in this family, extend grace...