From My Notes at the Ladies Retreat
I had the opportunity to join the ladies at Portland Christian Center for their ladies retreat. A good friend of mine attends this church, and she and I got be hotel room buddies, seat buddies and meal buddies and late night chatting buddies.
The speaker really spoke from the heart of a woman who really listens to God. Now a day later, early morning, I have been sorting and rewriting my notes. I felt like I was back in college. Sitting in a class and writing just about everything that has meaning. Then going to the library and rewriting my notes in an outline form, and then looking at the text to deepen each spoken word. I have done just that. Taking the passages of scripture, which I could not look up and read in the moment, and matching up the "text" (from the Bible) and aligning with my notes. I decided that over the next few blog posts I would share how God spoke to my heart. This outline is not exactly as the speaker spoke, just those things that God was speaking into my heart.
CALLED TO GO-------------------->DESIGNED TO GO-------------------->TIME TO GO
God has called us, designed us and well it's time to go. The message began with defining those things that keep us from understanding our calling. Perhaps there are reasons why we feel less Holy in our mission to go.
What are some reason's you believe YOU are less Holy?
We believe that our peers won't think our calling is what it should be. Your past, your bad choices from the past, you family, your handicap, your position in society?
The enemy feeds us lies, and those lies we speak into ourselves or allow others to speak prevent us from going.
What lies have prevented you from going?
GOD SAYS, "YOU ARE WHO I SAY YOU ARE."
I want to note that as I was writing this part of my notes, I got a tweet update from a friend in Florida which read something like this,
"Has anybody told you, you're beautiful?
You should have seen Me smile the day I made you!" -God
What limitations have you put on yourself? Your limitations are not God's limitations.
When did you orchestrate a plan that failed? How have you allowed God to lead in His plan.? Were the results different from your plan?
Isaiah 64:6 Reveals our Plan:
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness's are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
We can easily convince ourselves that we are in God's plan. Favor and Blessings come from obedience to God. I have done things that I think, truly this must be the will of the God. I then begin to measure my heart, my intentions, and see that self righteous attitude, or the laundry of dirty rags piling and then without thinking it's all gone and I scratch my head. I then have to realize that it was Elizabeth's plan, not really God's plan.
Isaiah 64:8 Reveals God's Plan:
"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
That quiet surrender, sometimes extremely painful surrender of allowing ourselves to step into the hands of our Maker, the Potter. Allowing Him to mold us, and shape us for His plan and calling for our life. I remember my plan for David coming to know Jesus. My intentions were good. Go to a big church, a prayer room to the side. Private and prayerfully David would meet Jesus. The day I prayed out loud, crying my eyes out and saying "Lord YOUR plan not mine." My husband met Jesus that very same day. Even as Christians our hands hold on tightly to what we want to be right in our eyes, but the Bible says what? "thou our potter"
1John 1:9 Reveals Our Action Plan:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
OUCH!!! Do I have it in me to confess and be cleansed of that righteous Elizabeth? In that confession we are free, cleansed and God is faithful to forgive. I am now saying, "okay God you called me to go, you designed me to go, and now it's time to go in God's calling, design, and plan for my life.
What labels do we put on ourselves that effect God's plan for us?
I have a young gal that I meet with. I have known her for three years. When I first met her she was painfully shy. Even for her it was painful. As she began to understand the labels on her life, she uncovered something very interesting in her life. She had some chatty siblings. Those siblings did not leave room for her to have a voice, so she was quiet. It was not long until every family member, extended family and friends labeled this beautiful girl as "shy". She spent her entire life being painfully "shy". She was introduced as the "shy" one, and adopted that label. The pain grew as she felt uncomfortable in her own skin, wanting to bust out of this life given label. As she uncovered some of the labels, she decided to try some non-shy things in her life. One day she sat in my living chatting away. Not the same girl I had met three years ago. She shared how she was getting involved in things that she would never have done as a "shy" person. Her face was bright and God was using her in ministries that seemed far away for her. "I think I must really have been born an extrovert, because I am doing all these extrovert things and enjoying my life, and the opportunities God is leading me to."
Wow, talk about labels effecting our lives for a lifetime. No!!! Not for a lifetime.
When I was a senior in high school I was given a "humorous award" at our senior banquet. I had spent most of my high school years missing important details. If I did not understand something I kept quiet. I did not ask questions. You see, my step dad started telling me, at a young age, that I was stupid and dumb. He would replace my name with those words. In my heart I thought I can't be that stupid because I am passing my classes. I was so ashamed of being stupid I never wanted anyone to know, so I kept quiet. Even over the details of an event, or place to be. I played it silly, and was funny. I gave myself those labels. "Silly" and "Funny" to mask my stupidity. The day I walked up on the stage in front of my peers to receive that award is that day I started asking questions. I was awarded "Air Head of the Year". OUCH. I was "silly", so I danced onto the stage to the music. I was "funny" so my acceptance speech was funny. Inside I was hurting deeply.
I decided that day, I did not care who thought I was stupid, and no question was stupid and every question is important. Now, as my family and friends know I will ask the same question five different ways just for clarification. I know today that God did not make me stupid. You see how labels can affect us deeply.
I will wrap up right here. On our own we miss His calling and design for our life. On our own the laundry gets dirty, we have attitudes of self righteousness. On our own we carry a life time of labels that hinder God's calling in our life. What labels are you ready to peel off? I will be writing more, in the next few days, from my notes at the ladies retreat.