I had the most amazing thing happen to me this weekend! I got to witness God’s work in the lives of women I had never met before and experience His work in my life as well.
I was preparing for this speaking engagement and once again feeling the attack of discouragement and disillusionment. “Why am I doing this? I don’t have anything to say. There are so many needs, how can I meet them all? There is so much heartache and pain, how can I speak to all of it?” . . . On and on my thoughts raced round my head.
I had spent time in God’s Word and in prayer on Monday and had this wonderful feeling of expectation. I just knew God was going to do great things. But by Tuesday evening, I was in the depths of despair (as Anne of Green Gables would say) wondering why I had agreed to do this and feeling completely inadequate for the job.
On Thursday I spent most of the day hashing out my two talks and revising everything. By Thursday evening I felt the Lord say to me, “Your DONE. Put it away and I don’t want you to look at it any more. You need to TRUST me that I will give you the words to say.” (Admittedly, I don’t do this well but I knew I had to obey.)
I’ve been learning about the Holy Spirit in a Bible study that I’m in and feel like my whole life has been turned upside down by what I am understanding about the Spirit and His work in my life. I have known that He was there living inside of me but have really underestimated what He can do with a life completely surrendered to Him. I have pretty much taken Him for granted – He’s been a handy thing to have around but I have not given Him full reign in my life.
Ephesians 4:30 (The Message) says, “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”
In the midst of this study, I’m discovering that I DONT’ WANT to settle for just having the Holy Spirit living inside of me I WANT Him to be moving and breathing in me, in that most intimate part of my life. I want to live recklessly abandoned for my Savior! Whatever the cost.
As I prayed for the weekend retreat, I felt led to pray that the Holy Spirit would empty me and fill me with His Spirit. In the past, I would think that I needed to empty myself and then the Holy Spirit would fill me. I’m understanding more and more that His Spirit has to do that work in me, I can’t do it on my own. I just need to be fully surrendered to Him and step out in faith as I trust that He will do what He promises.
I have a confession to make: when I am upfront and people are looking at me, I struggle with wanting God to speak through me and feeling self-conscious and prideful always worrying about what people think. It has been a huge battle for me and I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never fully be able to put myself aside. I would always have to wrestle with this in my life.
As I began to pray that God would empty me and trust that the Holy Spirit would speak through me as I surrendered my well laid plans into His care, God removed the self-centered spirit within me; it was GONE and for the first time, I was able to be an open, empty vessel for Him to fill and use in whatever way He saw fit.
What about you? Have you, like me taken the Holy Spirit’s work in your life for granted?
I wonder if we will get to heaven some day and Elijah, or King David or Moses will say to us with wonder in their voice, “What was it like to have the Holy Spirit ALL THE TIME in your life, we only had Him for bits and pieces but He was living inside of you all the time. What was that like?
Will you find yourself saying, “Well, hmmm, it was okay . . . I guess.”
Let’s not live our life regretting that we didn’t take more advantage of the Spirit’s work in our life. Let’s give Him full reign in our hearts, recklessly abandoned to the Spirit’s leading in our life.
Mark Batterson in his book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, says this, “I don’t think anyone has sacrificed anything for God. Why? Because we always get back more than we give up! And if you get back more than you gave up, have you really sacrificed anything at all?”
I got back so much more than I gave up this weekend, sure I was exhausted and worn out . . . But I got the privilege of watching God work in my life and in the lives of His precious children and it was intoxicating! I have to say it was a BEAUTIFUL thing and I can’t wait to see God do it again!