Often times God asks us to lay down things we enjoy and show Him faith. This sometimes happens when we are least expecting it, and we usually react with an array of different emotions from joy, to sorrow, to anger, to feeling hurt.
Just recently I have had to practice faith.
*I want to add that this is a hard post for me to write, because it is forcing me to reveal that I have some personal things I struggle with God about, and I am not always the “perfect Christian” that most people strive to be.*
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Samantha and I am a published author. Because of this, I’ve recently gotten in contact with some other authors who are published or are in the process of being published. One of my recent interactions was with a woman (let’s call her Debby) who asked me to read and edit her manuscript (which is, like, HUGE in the writing world!). Well, Debby is the owner of a pretty big writing website, and this was the opportunity of a lifetime for me! Since I’m still fairly new in the writing realm, I immediately responded with a big “YES!” After that, Debby gave me articles to write, a writing partner to help critique me, and several kind notes of encouragement. Life in my writing world was going pretty smooth…
After about two weeks of editing Debby’s manuscript, I began to have huge convictions about it. It began talking about some things that I would not want my name attached to. I couldn’t call myself a Christian writer and have some new believer or non-believer read that novel and get confused about the Lord. I immediately recognized the Holy Spirit convicting me.
So, I concluded that I had a huge decision to make. I could either continue to edit this manuscript, edit another manuscript she wanted me to take a look at and continue growing my friendship with Debby, all the while I would have the Holy Spirit nagging at me, OR I could email her and tell her I couldn’t edit it, thus severing the bond I had with her and the writing website.
When I asked God what I should do, I was angered at His reply. Deep down I knew I should be emailing her right at that second and tell her I was having my own personal convictions about her manuscript.
But do you know what I did?
I pushed away the Holy Spirit for another month, acting like I was fine with it the entire time. Only when I got physically ill because of the whole situation did I realize that this was not God’s plan for me (I was definitely acting like Jonah, pushing God away and doing what I wanted to do). I realized He was asking me to practice faith in Him. I reluctantly opened up my email, and with tears in my eyes, I emailed the woman and told her I couldn’t do it.
I had to have God beat me down before I obeyed Him.
Now, just take a minute and ponder upon what I just gave up. With this writing website, I was given the opportunity to write for them. I was given the opportunity to read others manuscript and give my opinion because they valued what I had to say. I was also given many opportunities in publishing. This was literally the writers dream!
Giving up this was a big deal, because that meant that I would have to start from ground zero all over again, and I really didn’t want to do that.
But, surprisingly, once I sent that email I felt as if a boulder rolled off my shoulders. I felt the Holy Spirit cover me in an embrace-like fashion. I felt content. Believe it or not, but I felt good about what I had just did. I think it was a mixture of releasing the pressure I was having between God and Debby, and the warm feeling I get when I feel God’s presence.
But I regret that it took me a month and a half to obey God. I regret that I pushed the Holy Spirit away. I regret that God was asking me to show Him I had faith in Him, but I didn’t.
I would like to share a few passages of Scripture that came to my mind during the duration of that month and a half:
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?.”
Isaiah 1:19 “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”
2 Corinthians 2:9 “For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything.”
Now I would like to share with you some Scripture concerning faith in God:
1 Corinthians 2:5 “So that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
1 Peter 1:21 “Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified, so your faith and hope are in God.”
Please, dear ones, heed the words of the Lord.
I was disobedient. I did not listen to what He had to say. I pushed Him away. I was foolish.
And because of that, I disappointed God. I made Him sad, and making the Lord sad is probably the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced, even above the horrible feeling of disappointing my parents.
The Lord prompted me to write this post to be an encouragement. At first, I wasn’t going to write it, because it seemed too personal, almost like a biography about me, and not helping you. But after some thought, I realized that this is one of the things that most people struggle with. So many people push God away because they are scared, lazy or prideful.
I want you to know that the Lord will bless you because of your obedience and faith. He might bless you here on earth, or He might bless you in Heaven. But always know that those things don’t go unnoticed under the eyes of God.
In fact, literally minutes after I sent the email to Debby, I got a message from Deanna asking me to write an article for her. She didn’t know it then, but she was an opportunity God was sending me. I couldn’t believe that after my unfaithfulness to the God Almighty, he was blessing me by sending me an opportunity to encourage all of you.
In conclusion, dear ones, I would love to tell you that everything will be alright, and life will always be smooth sailing, and you will never, ever have to prove your faith to God.
But I can’t, because that isn’t how life is. Just keep in mind though, that God will always bless you after showing Him faith. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, but it will not ever go unnoticed.
Note from Deanna
Sometimes it can be difficultto put down the wants we have placed in this world and take up our faith. On a daily bases teens are tempted to push away the Holy Spirit much like Samantha was into his own little drawer.
Most Christian teens can relate to the fact that our friends live a more worldly lifestyle with lust, cursing, alcohol, drugs and the bad fruits of society. It is hard to not put away God. While Samantha did not struggle with any of those particular problems, she did however struggle with thinking of herself and not herself and God.
Next time you find yourself in a situation where you know you should give up a want so that you can practice your faith, think of Samantha and the sacrifice she made. Like her, you will feel the Holy Spirit overcome you and the satisfaction God has for you when you obey his command.
Oh ya. You see it. Just sitting there, a coned shaped mound in the middle of your yard. You get an erge… you want to kick it. Blow it to pieces and watch the little bugs scury. Everyone knows the temptation. Its to hard to resist.
How many ants do you think are in there? 1,000?
Do you think they bite? (Ouch!)
They will just build another hill… More to kick in.
Ya! I’m gonna kick it.
WAIT! Hold your foot right there, now look again- this time I want you to think. Think real hard- your still thinking ‘kick’ I can hear it. Ease up. Its not just a pile of dirt, its a home. Individual little lives.
How do you think you would feel if some giant came up and kicked right through your life, and to make it worse, enjoyed doing it? It would not make any one person very happy. Think of this giant as temptation and that hill you want to crush is your life. Every little ant inside represents a piece of who you are. You see Bobby there, he is school, and Joe, thats family. The hill is the mold that holds it all together in one piece.
Everyday we are faced with temptation of all sorts. It rocks our worlds and it enjoys it.
At first, when we see temptation we think “Oh… that kind of looks fun.” Then we step in, enjoy it a little and keep going for more. When we come to a realize what we are doing, we are already in to deep and need help getting out. Its like seeing a bucket and testing whether or not your foot will fit- and you get stuck. You stomp around with the bucket wrapped around your ankle.
I am faced with so many temptations, and they are so hard to be strong through. OH! Like all those times I see the cute shoes at the store. Or when there is that last cookie in the cupboard. I even struggle with harder things, like lieing sometimes, and at one point, stealing. When I was a little girl I had a big battle with theft. I used to take things from all over. One time I even tried Target, but I got caught. Man oh man did I learn that lesson. I am glad I wasnt reported- I was only 6.
I, to this day, have not taken another thing. It is something I chose to ask forgiveness for and move past. God gives me mercy, and love and trust.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” -Mathew 26:41 (NIV)
Thinking back on it now though, these are all things that could have hurt my life. Made my family and friends not trust me. Being banned from stores because of my criminal record.
Temptation will take the rug up under you and make you fall. It will not care, or choose to say sorry, only leave its consequences. I urge you to look at your ant hill. Overcome your giant and embrace the strength God will grant you to just walk away. Your flesh is weak (Romans 8:3) but God is all mighty. He has given you grace to flee temptation.
Do not take something fun at the moment, only to get your foot stuck in a bucket. Do not give in to an impulse, only to rebuild what has fallen.
Have you ever been presented with a situation where you prefer something, but you are afraid of the surroundings? I have a little cousin that I spend a lot of time around. She stays the night every Saturday and insists on sleeping in my bed. I guess her reasoning is it feels like a crib- its a day bed. If I was as small as her and used to the bars surrounding me offering me protection from smacking my face on the floor in the middle of the night, I would want to sleep in my bed too. There is one little problem though- she is afraid of my room!
In order for her to sleep we have to tell her that Nana’s room is safe. My dolls are princesses and angels that will watch her and protect her while she sleeps, and the twinkly lights will not be turned off. She trusts us with everything she is afraid of. Young children place a lot of trust in the adults in their lives. They expect that they will always be protected, always have a hand to hold, always have someone by their side. The sad part is, they grow up and lose site of this peace, of this comfort. As teens we feel grown, and most of the time alone. “No one will protect me, no one is here, I have been abandoned. I have fear!” Let me tell you, your are protected, there is someone there, you are not alone and you should not fear this world. Rather you should fear God.
We fear what our peers will say, what our parents will think and what the people around us see. Do not look at the world’s expectations and think you will never be good enough. Look at God’s expectations and know you are good enough becuase he came to make you perfect, clean, and blameless. This world will pressure you and lie to you. It is the monster in your closet- but you must not be afraid.
Remember the protection you felt as a child. You may not be a little girl or little boy in the world’s eyes anymore, but you are a child of God. He tells his children “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV) Fear is only a mortal feeling, but you should always fear your God. Do what you expect would please him. Nothing will have power to judge you when you have the him on your side.
So that one thing is clear- I am not clumsy, I am only giving the floor a hug because people are always stepping on him.
Ok, so I lied. I am extremely clumsy, but hey a lot of people are- just in case you dexterous people do not know what I am talking about- Being clumsy is: lacking dexterity, nimbleness, or grace.
All of us have been in a situation where we have tripped on some uneven pavement, knocked over a glass of water while reaching for another object, and even running into a really clean door here and there. (You know who you are.) I have moments all the time. This past evening I was having fun with my family listening to music and dancing. I made an unwise decision, got down on my belly and started flipping around like a worm. Yes, I did the 1980′s “funk period” dance move and it did not end well. Today I am paying for my lack of common sense with a lump on my head and a headache. In case you cannot put two and two together this worm hit her head on the hardwood floor. Sometimes I doubt I will ever make it thru this life in one piece.
Being clumsy is nothing to be ashamed of, it happens to everyone. Some studies say that being clumsy affects social abilities, phyisical wellness and many other factors. I tend to disagree. Being clumsy is a characteristic of someones personality. This trait may one day help somebody they meet in the future. How so you may ask. Bumps and scares and bruises leave people wondering, wondering leads to questions and quetions lead to conversations. There is a reason you have a bruise on your knee, a cut on your finger and a lump on your head. The reason? Psh! Like I know, but what I think is, God has a plan for me to maybe one day accidently run into someone- in a clumsy fashion- and help them. It may even be that someone will run into this post and really need to hear about my being clumsy. Honestly, I have no idea. I am 100% sure though that God always has a plan or reason for all my mishaps.
And on my own, I’m so clumsy But on Your shoulders I can see I’m free to be me and You’re free to be You. -Francesca Battistelli
If you are someone who is clumsy, whether it be physicaly, or you are having a hard time in life. Always remember ‘though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.’ (Pslam 37:23-25 NIV)
You are likely to leave this world with a bunch of physical and emtional scares, but they paint a picture of who you were. Go out into this world and stumble down your path in God.