Friday, August 24, 2007


About 3 years ago, our church went through a season we refer to as "Staking You Claim". During this time we were asked to create images of our spiritual claims of freedom. I've been reminded of something I wrote during that time, and am finding current relevance in the imagery - the following is what I wrote in 2004:

The worship started with a feeling of great expectation. I could feel the presence of God coming through the instruments, and all I wanted to do was bow down in awe. My body was frozen. A cold sweat covered me. My heart began to beat in a
trembling rhythm, could the people around me feel the conflict welling up inside me?

In the same moment of fear and conflict, my fleshly vision was clouded over with a very distinct spiritual picture. I am inside a wooden, stained, crudely crafted box, I can see through a key hole and I can feel the weight of the lid. I am certain that this
box has been locked for years, because I know this is the reason I cannot move to bow, shout, run, dance, lift my hands, lift my heart in worship. I had seen this picture before, and always from inside of the box. I had assumed that there were chains
around the box, as well as a large lock holding the chains. I had come to accept this position, as I had no idea who held the key to the lock.

This morning was different. I could see the box from another vantage point. This time, I could see the box through God's eyes - His loving voice saying, I didn't put a lock on that box . Look what's stopping you from bowing. He was right, there was
no lock - no chains. There were stones piled loosely atop the lid of the box. Each stone engraved with another lie I had come to know as reality. They read: Unimportant, Show-off, Uncoordinated, Ridiculous, Inappropriate, Unattractive,
Undignified, Simple, Disrespectful. Some of these stones had been inherited, some had been placed with ugly words, some with unapproving eyes, and some because of my own insecurities.

God's spirit swelled inside me - my body was overcome with confidence. I closed my eyes and took one step forward - I stood up inside my box - then another - I pressed against the lid and felt the stones shake - I only had to move five feet. Each step more freeing than the last. Each time I pressed against the lid, a stone fell to the ground. As the stone labeled Inappropriate tumbled, I arrived at my destination, I knelt down, then laid flat on the floor, with my face in the carpet. As I did this, I began to sob. What a simple task that I had denied myself all these years. Beside me the box sat empty for the first time in my life.

I felt the blessings of God raining down on me as I lay there in tears. Since that experience, God has given me many more opportunities to defy those lies. I have discarded the box. Although, I still have lingering fears, each time I come against
them in physical way (bowing, clapping, shouting, raising my hands) I am blessed in wonderful ways.

There is one stone left that I have made into jewelry. This stone says Uncoordinated. I have been wearing it around my neck since I have been outside my box. This stone discourages me from dancing and moving. Each time I feel the
urge to dance, a cold sweat comes over me and I am frozen. I will no longer feed that lie, I will bury that stone!
Like a child I will dance in His presence!

So, that was then... I can honestly say I do not know where that "uncoordinated" jewel was lost, but it's been gone for a while now! (that in itself is a miracle). What's going on now that feels like I'm revisiting this image? Well, I've found that there have been times recently where I've thought I was being held-back from some things... like I wasn't "allowed" do function in certain ways, or "released" to do certain types of ministry... well - those are lies! I know right now with certain clarity that the enemy would love nothing more than having me voluntarily step back into that box of bondage and lies, have a new list of excuses why I cannot do the things that God has for me. Well, guess what? I'm not going back in that box. The constraints that I have thought existed, do not. Knowing that, I will not be held back, I will run forward, as a flagbearer of truth and grace!

On another note... I recognized recently, that although the box was unlocked, I had to physically move in order to live in that freedom. Sometimes our healing requires action on our part. So... what's your box?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wake Up!!!

So, maybe there have been a LOT of distractions this last month, but I've found myself this week with that feeling of urgency again. Perhaps, in all the distraction we lost a bit of momentum, and I want to start gaining speed again... I'm ready.

God brought a passage in Ephesians to mind, and after reading it, I really felt like it woke me up. Like, it slapped me right across the face... "wake up!!!!", it wasn't even one of those nice mommy "good morning" songs... it was like one of those "you are late for school, get the heck out of bed!!! what are you waiting for?" - sorts of wake up calls. No time to shower, or finding clean clothes, not even breakfast - just get in the car and go!

I think The Message paraphrase version is a bit more raw and conveys what I'm thinking a bit better - Ephesians 5: 11-17 :

"Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busy work, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffin;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants."

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this passage is saying that we are supposed to abandon all chores and tasks that don't have eternal consequences - we should still be cleaning our houses and bathing the children, etc.

What I do think this is saying is that we have been called out as Children of God to be different, separate, holy - and that means a priority shift in ways that maybe we hadn't explored before. I think, if we're willing and ready, God will show us what's going on in His Kingdom, and we can be a part of it - we can change the world... we can actively participate, instead of living Christian lives that look more like "theological historians".

In order to live that way, there must be action! - We have to actually engage ... move forward... and Wake Up, open our eyes and be ready to run. So, just like that - there will be change... otherwise what's the point? Some things are about to give... and we're about to take off running!