The humility of rest


I have grown to love mornings.  Coffee in hand, sleepy eyes I stumble to the place God and I meet every day.   Legs curled under me, I take a sip and breathe.

The day holds so much.  My lists of things to do never seem to go down no matter how many I cross off.  The vast expanse of Luzon and the villages with no churches or true representation of Jesus cry out to my heart.  The needs, problems and solutions to find followed me through the night and are just as present as they were yesterday.  I hear the busy sounds around as my neighbour’s maid starts her morning routine sweeping outside.

And yet I hear His voice as I do every morning.  “Come to Me”.

It is in this coming to Him, I can find rest.   His presence begins to block out the noise of my soul.  Life with Him is not heavy.  It’s the way I try to manage it myself that is heavy.  My independence.  My analyzing and striving.  My self-reliance, even pride to think that I can accomplish all He has set before me.

Another sip of coffee and I relinquish my busy mind to Him.  My efforts even in this time with Him are useless.  Resting takes letting go.  A humility.  A surrendering to the fact that my endeavors are not what this life in Him is about.  I relax.  I can’t make anything happen.  It’s His strength, not mine.  His perfect timing, not mine.  Surrendering my self-will and plans to His peace.  In humility, I lay my heart before Him.  I don’t have it together.  I don’t know what to do.

All I know is, He says “Come to me”.

As we continually come to Him, we continually experience freedom.

And so, we come.  We surrender every agenda and we rest in You.

Matthew 11:28

What personality type are you?

It’s quite the thing, isn’t it? Those quirky little personality tests on facebook or elsewhere on the internet, telling us who we are as if we didn’t know.  Most of us have done one some time in their life.

For years, I’ve known my “personality type” according to Myers-Briggs.  INFP.  Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving.  I’ve also had people tell me who I am.  My introverted, feeling ways have made me seem like an unlikely leader.  Before I left for the Philippines, someone in authority told me, “You are just not a leader”.  That was interesting.  For sure, I didn’t feel like a leader.  I didn’t feel strong enough and I could see that I was not the charismatic, loud, center of everything type of person.  In fact, I often retreated in big group situations.  But something rose up in me that day and under my breath I said “You have no idea.”  I believe now that was the Holy Spirit.  God was calling me to something so outside of my personality and comfort zone, and I could not be boxed or limited by what Myers Briggs said, or anyone else for that matter.

“Stay in your lane” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot recently. This means stay in the place of your strength, of your talent and gifting and I do agree with this to some extent.

But my question is, who determines your lane?  Is it you?  Are you limiting what you will do because of what you believe about yourself?  What if God wants you out of your area of comfort and strength, and totally cast at His feet in dependence?  What if your lane is living an extraordinary, supernatural life?

I have been thinking about the disciples.  What a bunch of personalities there!
Peter, the crazy go-off-at-the mouth, impulsive, people-pleasing one.
Thomas, the questioning one, who had to see it to believe it.
Simon, the Zealot who would rather die for what was right than live under wrong
John, the one intimate with Jesus, who loved to rest on Him and hear His heart.

And He says to this mixed lot, “Proclaim this message: ‘The Kingdom of heaven has come near’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons….”  Matthew 10:7-8
Jesus didn’t say “I’m going to say something now John but don’t worry, this isn’t for you.  I know you are an introvert and you really would rather just be with me.  I know your personality type and you should stay in your lane.  I’ll send Peter. He’s extrovert and he will go anywhere and say anything to anyone.  It’s his personality.”

Quite the opposite.  Despite the different personalities and giftings, Jesus sent out all 12 disciples.  The introvert went as well as the extrovert to preach and demonstrate the good news of Jesus!
His command is still the same for us as it was for the disciples.  In the same way, he is calling us to live supernaturally beyond our natural personalities and giftings.  So many times, I’m in over my head and actually it is the best place to be.  Here I know I have nothing in myself to make it work and God is going to have to do it.  In our weakness, His strength is seen.

Stay in your lane?  Our lane, no matter our personality, is obedience to Him.

Go!  People are waiting for you!

Childlike Trust

IMG_0218Not long ago we drove 3.5 hours to find people on the heart of God.  We didn’t know anyone but we came across Sandy*.  Her eyes held a depth of hopelessness and disbelief like I didn’t know existed.  I have seen my share of hopelessness here but this took my breath away.  Living in poverty in a flood zone with her husband and six children, her life had been one of misery. She was born to a blind father and a crippled mother, and because of this had only known financial hardship and ridicule.

No hope for the future.  All of it smashed as everywhere she looked were problems and insurmountable challenges.  What could we do?  God has good things for her.  How can we lift her out of her despair?  Holy Spirit how do we partner with you here?  We took her shopping!  Piling up groceries, she stood crying holding on to her cart in the supermarket.  We told her of God’s love and that He cares.

A few days later, we sat with her outside her home as she ran into the arms of her loving Papa.  She ran into hope.  She ran into her great future in Him.  There was no immediate natural change to her circumstances at this point but her face shone!  Jesus broke through the darkness with His hope and light.

There was a song we had on a Bill Gaither record, back in the day.  It was one of my favorites and I would sing it over and over.

I’m just a child!  My life is still before me
I just can’t wait, to see what God has for me,
But I know that I will trust Him
And I’ll wait to see what life will bring for me.

When I thought about the words, often a feeling of absolute exhilaration would rush over me.  Now I know and recognize that it was the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes I felt like I would burst!  I clearly remember, driving along in our car with Mum during one of these encounter moments.  I shuffled forward to the edge of the back seat so I could lean through the gap in between the front seats to get Mum’s attention.  “Mum, I’m just so excited to see what God has for me!”.  “Oh, that’s good” she replied, as she drove and juggled probably a hundred of other things in her mind as a mother of four kids would be.  By her reaction, I knew she didn’t really understand quite what was going on for me at that moment.  I sat back in my seat but I kept on singing.

Childlike trust and wonder.  You know, I’m now in my late forties, but sometimes I still sing that song.  I still have great expectations for the future and am excited to see what God will do through my life.  I want to remain in that childlike position of perfect trust whether I’m in a dark season or not.

I pray that your heart will be filled with His hope.  I pray that you will be exhilarated by His goodness and promises and that He will bring you into a place of perfect trust and peace.
Let’s grow down.  Childlike trust.  He has good plans.

Journeying with you,
With love,

*Sandy is not her real name

Here we go…

from the rockI guess this is it.  Some form of accountability to you, my readers, to follow what God has been speaking to me about.  This is not natural in any sense.  For those who know me well, you will know that I have to force myself to write newsletters every few months.  God has a sense of humor.  But to me, it’s not so funny.  Actually, I cried when He first told me to write.  That was a good few years ago too!

But delayed obedience is not true obedience and I’m confessing that I have been disobedient.  To say “yes” when He told me to go to Africa, or to uproot my 13 year old and settle in the Philippines without having ever been there before, no problem!  But to write?  Big problem.  So many excuses.  My primary one, is that I don’t have time.  My days and nights are full here in the Philippines.  But if God says do it, we should do it.  And so today begins my obedience.

Once something is written, you can’t take it back.  It’s out there for everyone to see.  This is kind of scary to me. A blog is a snap shot of here and now.  A raw take on life.  In the early stages, there are will not be larger picture showing the journey and the growth.  My issue is that I know I am learning and growing all the time.  Thank goodness!  Things I said, ten years ago, I may not say now.  So I invite you to take my writing as such, written by someone who is learning constantly and come on a journey with me into this fluid, moving thing called life in Jesus.

I pray God takes my simple thoughts on living a life of love, of missions, and of church planting and uses them to inspire and help others.

But I also get the sense, that this is more about me living surrendered to beautiful Jesus.  He is transforming and changing us all and I hope we can walk this road together. Thanks for joining me.  Here we go….

See you in a few days.  xo

Photo Credit: Rachel Soh