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Posts Tagged ‘risk’

My head is still spinning from this past week at Catalyst. Such an amazing two days of fast, but rich wisdom. I was in need of a time to soak up the inspiration of others, who are way further down the line.

My faith is small. Sometimes my dreams feel even smaller.

Do you put God in a box?

I do. I look at my life, my future, my dreams, and I limit God. I stick Him in a box with the boundaries that speak of understanding and calculated risks. Feeling uncomfortable and out of control is not my forte, but it is the recipe needed for faith.

I spent two days listening to men and women speak of great steps in faith. All of them spent a season choosing to be out of control and uncomfortable. That is what faith is. Faith takes the willingness to fight through being afraid, jealous, and anxious.

How do you handle discomfort with where you are in life? Do you take control? Do you take the reins?

The words, “I believe” should be so powerful. I am sad for the ways I water down them down. Those words mean everything – believing changes everything.

I want to be a person who believes big. Not only believe, but wait on the weight of those words.

Faith is illogical. Faith is that place in a great movie where you say, “Oh my dang! Didn’t see that coming!”

I watched these great men and women and thought they don’t even see how much God has blessed them. That is a part of just believing – walking in obedience. Feeling the grace and peace of living out the gifts and race HE has designed.

Let’s do this friends! Let’s risk to believe – to spend some time in out of control discomfort!

Truth? Our plans never work out. Our visions go nowhere without the extra step of His planning.

Reality?A part from Him, we can do nothing.”

There is weight in believing. There is a responsibility that comes with waiting on what is bigger than we are.

Risk to believe. 

What holds you back? 

What makes you take back the reins?

 

 

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For my 30th birthday, my friends set up a surprise scavenger hunt for me. As much as I HATE surprises, I loved seeing friends from all seasons of my life.

One of the challenges I had to do was hold up a “Free Hugs” sign on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in downtown DC. I loved it. I’m a hugger. Affection is one of my natural languages.

Although I shouldn’t have been, I was shocked at how many people wanted a hug. People of all different faith, size, age, color, and background came up to hug me. I loved seeing their smiles, not to mention the joy that filled my heart hugging all of these people.

I was just looking back over those pictures with the words, “are you willing?” running through my head.

Are we willing?

Are we willing to hug someone’s heart? Are we willing to be interrupted with the stories and needs of others? Does your life speak of invitation and willingness to others?

My heart melts every time I read the story of the man with Leprosy in the bible. Here was a man who was given up on by everyone close to him, as well as his culture. This was a man sent to spend life quarantined from the willingness of anyone else.

Then one day Jesus passed through his town. This man took a risk and knelt at the foot of Jesus–the closest to another person he has been in a long time. With quivering voice, teary eyes, and shame filled words, he asked Jesus to being willing.

Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.

Jesus touched this affection starved man and said, “I am willing.” The man looked up with life’s first redeemed touch and eye contact. He was clean.

Life just needs willingness.

We are filled with scars and wounds that are in need of willingness. This poor-in-spirit girl is in desperate need of His willingness. I also desire to be a person who is willing to reach out and hug another’s heart.

Be someone’s willingness. Risk to hold up a sign that says, “I am willing.”

Help someone feel seen and known today.

It matters deeply.

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One step….

One step is all we get.

One step is all we can really handle.

I am a visionary by nature. I see the big picture and get so frustrated with the steps to get there. To a visionary, every step is the one that should be right before the big picture. It usually is far from it.

I need steps.

Steps take courage. Steps take risk to not only just step into, but to believe and trust that the step is okay – that it’s necessary.

Steps require obedience and courage to know I’m not finished. Steps let me know that who I am right now cannot handle the right weight of what is to come. Steps get me there. Steps ready me for the value of the weight.

I have been stuck in Joshua the past couple of days. Joshua is a man of surrendered steps. Joshua was Moses’ successor to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. He has some big steps to fill.

I have just shaken my head and smiled at how awesome God is to only give Joshua what he can handle. God only gave Joshua each step. Joshua had the choice to obey – he had a choice to surrender and trust, and he did! Without knowing the how or what of anything, Joshua stepped up.

The first several chapters of Joshua are laced with steps. In chapter one, God told Joshua that he must obey and follow after me before any next step can happen. Joshua agreed. God then told Joshua to order the officers to tell the people that they were to pack up and get ready to leave in three days. He had no other information than that. He just said okay.

God then gave instruction on how to advance and the exact order that needed to play out. No other explanation. Joshua obeyed.

In chapter two, Joshua sent spies into Jericho to scope it out. He waited days to hear the report. Joshua did not move until they returned.

Chapter three, Joshua is given one step at a time to cross the Jordan. Everyone was to wait three days and followed the instructions to only go when they saw the Ark of the Covenant pass by. Not before then. Why not? Joshua did not ask.

Chapter four, all pass through the Jordan on dry land unharmed. Twelve Israelites representing the twelve tribes obeyed Joshua as he commanded them to gather twelve stones as a reminder of what God had done for them.

No one moved without the command of Joshua. Joshua did not move without the command of the Lord.

One step at a time. No more. No less. That was the necessary enough.

One step takes courage and risk. One step takes surrender and obedience. One step at a time crosses Jordan’s and conquers nations.

I am learning to surrender to my steps.

What one step are you taking today?

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Risks are just that a risk…. 

Risk is exposure to the chance of hurt, failure, or  getting the wind knocked out of you.

BUT it can also mean experiencing a step, a move in the direction you needed, hope, vision, excitement, joy, and a YES!

I’mma bring the challenge to risk today.

What is one thing you can do to choose risk today/this weekend? This can be in any way, shape, or form.

Maybe you need to write for the person you’ve wanted to submit to. Maybe you need to say something to someone. Maybe it’s signing up for that race you’ve been thinking about. Maybe it’s choosing a new career, going back to school, or relocating!

Maybe it’s spending more time by yourself than filling your day. Maybe it’s risking to deal with your grief or sitting in the hard.

Or maybe it’s just getting out of bed today. (This is no small thing!)

What is your risk?

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About eight years ago I moved to Colorado. There was no real outward reason why I made the decision to move. Life was actually the most perfect I had ever experienced it to be. I had an amazing group of friends. Seriously, it felt like Acts living going on in our community. I loved my church, and I loved the city I was living in so much.

So why did I move?

Something in me felt the nudge to go. God had something for me. I didn’t know what. I fought hard not to go. Again, life was perfect. Maybe that was the why –I still don’t fully know, but it changed my life. For the four years following I was lonely, struggled to find a job, community was hard to come by, and I was not a big fan of the jobs I had.

However, something happened in me within those four years. I have never felt closer and more intimate with God. I learned a ton about myself and what he has wired me for. I honestly think that I would not know God at the depth that I know him now had I not stepped out. I actually grew in passions that I didn’t even know I had.

In Matthew 10, Jesus calls his 12 disciples to himself and equips them to be sent out on their own. Jesus provides some huge essentials for his friends before he sends them out. The first thing he provides the disciples with is his authority. Jesus provides his authority for his friends to experience the extraordinary. Jesus asked his friends to trust in the provision he was giving them to be enough.

The second provision Jesus equips his disciples with is direction. He tells them specifically where to go. Jesus states “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.”

I pray the prayer of direction a lot. I have made myself red in the face asking God the question of, “where am I supposed to be?” I am realizing that I am the one who makes this question hard. I am the one who doubts that he has a somewhere for me. If I am being most honest, part of me fears the where he has for me, so I listen with selective ears.

He is faithful to answer all of my questions for clarity and details. I am realizing that the places that grow in my heart are there for a reason. Colorado was no coincidence for me. I may have thought I was bringing a new idea to him about Colorado, but he nudged me in that direction first.

Jesus has a specific people, and place, in mind for his disciples to go. He had something just for them. He has some place in mind for you and me. There is always a tug on my heart when it’s time to move.

Colorado was a season for me. After four years I moved back to the DC area. Ironically, four years later I am feeling the nudge to move again.

God provides for all of our questions. He plants the nudges in our hearts. He grows our passions for specific things and specific places. There may not be a rhyme or reason for the where, but it is life changing if we would risk.

God provides the how and where.

Any place is he is nudging you to go? Are you in a place he has nudged you to be?

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One of the hardest attributes of God’s identity for me to grasp is his love. I have had great glimpses of what love resembles. I have experienced days and seasons of really understanding the character of God as being love. But I have a hard time trusting love. I can honestly say I struggle with the concept of love applying to me.

I desire to be a person who loves deeply. I really enjoy loving others. To love someone is so life giving for me. I have no problem believing love for another, but I just can’t seem to associate love with me.

God loves you” is a common phrase used in the Christian world. It is a very true statement. God loves us deeper than we can comprehend. He loves us so much that he gave up his life voluntarily. God loves me so much that he remains faithful to me when I am faithless. God doesn’t just love, he is love.

There are two crucial questions I have come across in the bible. The first is Jesus asking the identity question of “who do we say he is.” How I answer this question should be reflected in every area of my life. The second question comes from the Gospel of John. The very end of the gospel, Jesus and Peter are having a heart to heart conversation about Peter’s devotion to Jesus. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?

I understand that Jesus was asking Peter this question as a direct result of Peter’s denial a couple nights before. But I realized that Jesus asks us all the same question. Jesus asks me, “Tracee, do you love me?

This is an intense question. Intense because I think we toss the word love around flippantly these days, and it lacks sufficient weight. How I answer that question really does affect my life.

When Peter respond to Jesus with “yes”, Jesus said “follow me.” How we answer this question will affects our lives. I know I do not answer yes every time. The times in my life where I am most self-sufficient, most condemning of myself and others, the times in life where I feel like it is all up to me, are the times I respond with “no God.” My response affects the way I trust and follow God.

For me, answering yes, is a risk of faith. To tell someone I love them is a risk of my heart and trust. I want to give my heart and trust to him. God is the one person who knows how to be responsible with me. Answering yes is where my faith and active belief is going to come from. That is a hard challenge.

Love is not just knowing we are loved by God, but he desires to know that we love him.

How would you answer that question?

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Love is one of those words that requires a lot, if not everything from the one giving it. Love is hoped for, depended on, risked and longed for. Love is so strong. There are so many songs and movies that try and capture the essence of love’s power. There will never be enough to say about love. There will never be enough time to capture its essence either.

Love is also conscious. Love requires everything we’ve got.

A couple of years ago, my counselor taught me a principle that has stuck with me. We were talking about commandments in the bible. He told me that we are given commandments because there are things that do not come natural to us. For example, we are not given the commandment to breathe because our body just does that naturally. We do not have to constantly tell our eyes to blink. They just do.

Love is a commandment given by God. Love is something that does not come natural to us.

I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This truth brings a whole new light to the famous verses in Corinthians about love. Love has a list because it’s not natural to do.

Love is a choice.

I am sadly realizing how many people do not choose love any more. There is a lie in our culture that says you don’t have to stay in the hard. You can love whenever and however it suits your needs. Our culture is moving away from the heart of the one who created love. We are moving away from the one who created us to know and share in love. Sadly, our world is running on the fiction of love.

We have reduced love to a fairytale feeling, and the pursuit of happy, not faithful.

The reality of love is that it’s hard work. It does take conscious effort. There are times where love seems to be overflowing and very easy, but for the most part it takes effort. This is where the commandment comes in. God knew that the hard is where our human side comes into play, and that we would need a commandment to keep at it.

Love is no matter what.

Love is all the time and no matter what. Love is committed and faithful no matter what. Love is selfless and sacrificial. Those two words alone require everything I’ve got. Lord knows I am not good at choosing either one.

Love is no matter what because God has proven to love me that way. God has shown me that love is all the time, committed, and faithful. He laid down his life to show me that love is selfless and sacrificial. I can’t believe that love like this applies to me.

What are the challenges of this commandment for you?

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