These days I’m somewhat of a mess. But a beautiful mess it is. Or at least one day I will think so. God is refining me to finish out the rest of my days in truth, not the lies that have been told or the past that has been lived. I’m so much of a mess that Greg has started to ask if I’m ok on a daily basis and the words, “I can’t do this anymore” have become part of my heart song. Words that are weighing me down but revealing what needs to change.
Growing up in the bible belt has felt like a continuous curse that everything has been filtered through. Relax beloved. If you were one of my Sunday School teachers or VBS leaders, I’m not talking about you and it would be extremely reckless and disrespectful of me to accuse everything and everyone as being detrimental to my faith walk. I am simply referring to the weight of what I’ve witnessed and what I’ve seen lived out that has twisted my understanding of genuine salvation and peace.
Sweet tea at potlucks, casseroles for the sick, and revivals under a hot tent built my spiritual foundation. Women changing diapers, men praying on mountains, and Sunday night specials are what became rooted at the core of my Christianity. Skirts long enough, Sunday naps, and hymnals opened paved the way to the cross for me. Not the blood shed because of my own wickedness.
Now listen to me, there’s nothing wrong with church potlucks and bible school traditions. Wherever the gospel is shared, salvation can be experienced. It happened to me. It was just that I never knew why everyone did what they did. Salvation was all wrapped up in my own low self-esteem and the issues that were so noticeable within the body.
Recently I’ve been reading Angie Smith’s “Chasing God,” and her words have been a salve to my broken heart on this journey of complete surrender and understanding. Check this out…
“The true understanding of our own depravity isn’t a punishment – it’s an opportunity to understand the value of the gift. So much of my time with the Lord has been spent trying to prove myself-not just to Him, but to everyone around me. I want to show myself worthy of the calling that has been placed on me, and that is where the chasing has, well, finally caught up with me.” ~ Angie Smith
You see dear friends, this sums it all up. Maybe for you too? And whether or not you feel “called” to lead a ministry or be a missionary, we are all called to walk with Him as believers. Are you sick and tired of being trapped in the lie that your faithfulness to God depends on the length of your skirt or how well you can host a dinner? Are you over having to keep a checklist to be good enough and out serve the next to prove your worth to the body and the Father? I am.
Sweet friends, this week my Pastor’s words hit me like a ton of bricks in the weak places of my broken heart. He spoke the words…
I won’t be used by God if I don’t walk with Him. ~ Ryan Huguley
Wow. Now that’s a mic drop if I’ve ever heard one. He was referring to the scripture found in Genesis about Noah.
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation, Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:8-9
Noah was chosen to build an Ark to help rebuild the planet because he walked with God. Not because his attire was on point each week at church or because his wife participated in every women’s bible study. He didn’t have a resume full of anointed gifts that could make worship memorable and he didn’t rock babies every Sunday morning to earn points with the big guy upstairs. He simply walked with God. And I’m certain that the overflow of his walk with God led to his righteousness and his part in the history of this world.
I seriously don’t mean disrespect, I’m just tired of it all. I have wasted so much time proving my worth to the church, to my family, and to God that it’s “finally caught up with me.” I’m exhausted.
And it’s here in the mess that I hear the sweet whisper of Jesus to just be. To simply walk with him. To obey and to surrender. He wants me to rest in the unconditional love of the cross and to choose Him over performance and acceptance. To choose Him over what’s next and what I can do for Him. Just to walk with Him and then, be used.
I’m afraid we have it all wrong dear loved ones. We serve to earn. Work to prove. Obey to gain. When the depravity of our own hearts make us sick, we just do more out of guilt and shame instead of just being thankful and receiving His unconditional love and forgiveness. Instead of entering into the quiet and just being in His presence, we just add to the to-do list and get to work.
What about it friends? How’s your walk? How’s our motivation? Listen, I can whip up a casserole in a quick minute and I can sacrifice family time in the name of Jesus to serve your family but why? It can no longer be because I have to prove I’m lovable or worth being used but because I am walking with the Lord. That is the truth. It is how I will be used.
Hello Friends! I am honored that you would choose to spend some time with me! My name is Melissa and oh do I carry a ton of baggage. Some under my eyes and even more in my mind! The good news, I have chosen to let that baggage serve as a reminder of the promise that “all things are used for good” and I’m hopeful it will allow us to bond over tears, smiles, and maybe even a little yelling. After all, I am a southern belle.