Is God Working The “I Quit” Out Of You?

God always plants a seed bigger than you can handle at the time. The dream, the adventure He is inviting you on is way bigger than you would “think or imagine” and is way, way outside your comfort zone. That is why it takes God to pull off a God-sized dream, life, or impact. The good news is He moves in small deliberate steps to prepare the soil of your heart and spirit. Over time, you grow in capacity to handle the harvest of the seed He planted.

You already witness this in the physical world.

Think about pregnancy. The seed is far smaller in the beginning than can be seen. But as it enlarges, a woman’s body must grow, must change to accommodate the fullness of the seed-now-become-human.

Think about compound interest. It is a modest sum at first, but as it rolls over and over in multiplication, it becomes far bigger than the original investment.

Think about drops of water. These seemingly inconsequential, isolated beings of water congregate and become raging rivers and deafening waterfalls that literally move mountains.


Think about about your dreams and callings. They are smaller than can be seen in the beginning, nearly inconsequential and easily dismissed. But in the course of time, God is stretching you out of your comfort zones. He is changing your shape and capacity to be able to carry His calling. He is investing and adding penny after penny, drop of water to drop of water. In time, He will move the mountains in your own mind and soul to make room for His plans.

One of my biggest mountains was called, “I quit.”

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The Power of Being Cut Down…

I am in the most remarkable season with God.  It is very uncomfortable, sometimes boring, sometimes painful, and often irritating.  I love Him and so very confident of His love for me. This season, however, sucks. It is no wonder then that He brings up the idea of cutting off dead branches. The Bible uses the terms pruning.

gerund or present participle: pruning
trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, esp. to increase fruitfulness and growth.
Most people, and me, hear the term pruning and they want to run for the hills. But you’ll notice the last little part of the definition. To increase fruitfulness and growth.
Ah yes. Well this issue does make the most fearful, lazy, or resistent of us to hang around a bit more.IMG_5795
Let me give you a beautiful real life picture. I have a butterfly bush that seemed as if it was dying. Once vibrant and lovely, a home to many butterflies, it became brown and shaggy with very little monarch activity. I really considered pulling up the whole plant. But I kept hearing my gardener friend, Beth, talk about how she was “deadheading” flowers in her job as a landscaper.  One day I  walked past the butterfly bush and I sensed that my plant was not dying at all, but in need of a hard pruning.  The bush couldn’t keep up with managing the dead stalks and the new ones at the same time. So its growth and production slowed down.
Pause — for effect.
Give yourself a  moment to consider dead places  that once may have been great but now cease to have or give life. Give yourself a moment to think on the expense and fatigue it is to keep up with the dried out areas and nurture the new ones.
Moving on.  With my careful instruction, Charis trimmed off the dead or dying blossoms on the bush.  When she was done, it looked like it had a bad haircut.  But weeks later, it looked like a brand new plant. Fresh blossoms abounded as did the fluttering guests. Cutting off the dead or overgrown branches really did increase its fruitfulness and growth. Which brings me to my sucky season.
God is cutting off dead places in me.  I have some habits that have been chopped off.  Thinking too much about what others think of me, not defending my own boundaries, even wasting time…these dead methods have had to go because they suck the life out of me.  I have some people that I have had to let go of.  Some were beautiful for the season we shared. Some were plain toxic. But now, God is doing a new work.  I can hang on to the “idea” of our relationship, however, the reality is they are dead weight and carrying them around doesn’t make room for the new relationships God wants to grow in me.
Some other things He is pruning?
Getting rid of stuff.  I don’t need it. Clutter is costly to my soul.
Cutting off excuses about health and wellness.  Time to invest in this temple.
Stripping expectations of “how things should be according to me.” I am not in charge. Of anything. Period.
Surrender to the Gardener is non-negotiable.
As I  wait here being plucked, trimmed, and even gouged…there is a hope that rises.  God doesn’t waste anything. He is wanting what He has planted in me to bear the most fruit and growth possible for His glory.  And, He is willing to hurt me to help me.  What will I do during this process? Believe God or blast God?
Two questions fell out of my mouth when I was talking to a friend who is also going through severe pruning.
“What is God trying to teach me right now? and Am I being a good student?”
These are worthy of answers. I can spend my time complaining about the pain and uncertainty of the pruning. Or, I can trust that everything that is being cut away by His loving Hand is going to bring about good in my life.  So the pruning continues.
Here’s to holy shears.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14

Reorder Your Life.

This is a weighty statement. It is not one you can just blow past or check off. But when the question is: how can I live my life with more of You, more peace, more connection, and this is God’s answer…what do you do? What will you do?

It stopped me cold in my tracks.

If minutiae is a demonic distraction, if fretting is evil, if my busyness  just avoids the rest and trust in the Almighty, if there is more and all I have to do is reorder my life — then how and where do I begin?

This blows new year’s resolutions right out of the water. This requires a surrender of supposed needs, desires, wants, isms, have-to’s and ought-to’s.

Think of Abraham. Think of Deborah. Think of Paul.  Their lives were as loaded, strained, demanding, and draining as ours. And, God totally interrupted their lives for a holy calling. I don’t think the calling was the “outcome.”  I think the calling was saying yes when God asked them: Will you do whatever I ask? This is before the outcome was known. Maybe we deceive ourselves and think we will respond to God when He calls us to “big” things. But it is the “yes” in the moment He is after. Will you lay aside whatever YOU think is important to follow Him?

Think of Jesus.  He actually knew and understood the outcome of His calling. Yet he was not hurried. He was not distracted from the person in front of Him, though the masses pressed in. Nor was He distracted by the person in front of Him, though they wanted  more and more from Him. He was utterly present, and completely surrendered to His Father to live and move according to His will. His surrendered intimacy changed and challenged the status quo. He lived a “reordered” life. We can too.

But it might kill us in the process.  What I mean is, it might kill the whims and excuses, the fads and phones, the complaints and crammed calendars. How about just keeping up with all the “stuff”?  I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some of this to die off, not to become monks or hermits and withdraw from life. But to shed the layers of lies that keep us from our God and each other.

He and I are still talking about exactly how to “reorder” when I have obligations and others depending on me. But the first step was my “yes.” Yes Jesus, I am willing to do whatever it takes to have more of You.  I will gladly trade the American manic panic lifestyle if I can have more of His presence.  How about you?


Our Prayers for Zimbabwe

I told my friend that my heart is so different and I haven’t even left for Zimbabwe yet.  God has convinced and convicted me of so much. He keeps talking about trust and surrender. His life in my life. Trust that His life is in me when I surrender my life. Funny how those two things always hang around together. Think hand in glove. Think air in lungs.

But as we draw closer to leaving, would you pray with us? My heart’s cry has become the same things for two different groups: The team going and the people staying. Our needs are much the same, and our God is definitely the same. So join us as we ask God to pour out His favor on us and on them:

Health — Protection and strength, ability to sleep so our bodies serve us well. That those we visit will be healed and renewed in physical strength.

Revelation — We need a greater vision of God’s loving relationship. So do they.

Sustaining Power — In the strain of daily living  that we, and they, might ask for, expect and receive the grace from God who sustains all things by the power of His word.

Encouragement — Praying for God to strip off the lies and traps that keep us and them numb, silenced and defeated. That we all would experience the courage and comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Here is the scripture that God gave me in answer to the question, “What are You up to in Zimbabwe?”  Hallelujah, what a Warrior God.

 5 This is what God the LORD says—
       he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
       who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
       who gives breath to its people,
       and life to those who walk on it:
 6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
       I will take hold of your hand.
       I will keep you and will make you
       to be a covenant for the people
       and a light for the Gentiles,
 7 to open eyes that are blind,
       to free captives from prison
       and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
 8 “I am the LORD; that is my name!
       I will not give my glory to another
       or my praise to idols.
 9 See, the former things have taken place,
       and new things I declare;
       before they spring into being
       I announce them to you.”
Isaiah 42:5-9