JOURNEY THROUGH OCTOBER: CONQUERING FEAR – Giving up Friday

~week four~

In the summer of 2014, God made a request to me.  He put it on my heart to spend every Friday with Him in the summer months.  This meant putting aside other things, taking off work and being faithful for a season.

For those of you who know this story of my life, you know that I didn’t take off one single Friday that summer.  After confessing what I missed, I haven’t thought a lot about June, July and August of 2014.  I did take off this past Friday though.  A friend of mine traveled very far to spend a week with me.  As a result, my thoughts of the summer past came back to me.

Over that week with my friend, there were many days that I did things I normally do not do.  We sat at the beach and talked about the details of our lives that get missed when there is distance between two friends.  We smiled about age that continues to creep up on us.  We talked about the complications of love and relationships.  We ate out and shopped some.  We shared dreams, aspirations and hurdles.  We walked arm in arm in the warm sun and finally said our goodbyes for another six or more months.

As I headed back to normal life.  Having missed a few mornings and nights with my kids and husband.  Having missed some time at work.  After getting one good night of sleep back in my bed, I reflected on time spent with her.  I saw a few things differently.  It’s good to see beyond your own views.  I had some renewed enthusiasm for my daily grind.  Being away makes home better.  I said goodbye looking forward to next time.  Time spent with a good friend is good for the soul.

I see very clearly now what God was saying to me that summer.  He wanted to speak into my life so I could see a few things differently.  He wanted to renew me so that I could be a better woman.  He wanted to spend time with me because that is what friends do.  It would have been good for my soul.

I’m going to leave you with a call to action as I wrote it in the fall of 2014.  I am not sure that I could have meant it more than when I wrote it one year ago.  What is different now?  The call to action is lathered in love, quality time and friendship even more so now than then.

So, all of this about me, to say to you, that I am sure that there is something you are holding on to.  I am sure of that because we are not in heaven.  You have a lot of excuses like I do. Some come across as very justified, but they are not.  I know for a fact that you are braver than me and can let go of the thing, go do the thing, step out into the thing . . . before the thing expires.  You don’t need to wait anymore to do the thing you are supposed to do.  Please do it.  And, after you do, tell me all about it.  I’ll be encouraged to the thing He calls me to do.  At the very next redemptive opportunity. 

What are you holding on to?

Think about the deepest place you have been with the Lord recently.  If you have a troubled heart, you are probably crying out to Him.  If you have a conflicted heart, and you don’t know what to do, you are probably seeking His wisdom. If you missed the mark and know it, you are looking for redemption. 

At the heart of our conversations with God, we get to a place where we know He is real.  The person of God comes close and . . . gives you rest from your tears . . . gives you answers that you did not expect . . . gives you a path for redemption.  I am talking about that place, when you know deep in your soul, that He has taken you somewhere close to His holiness.  And, for that walk of your life, He changed everything.

This past spring, God gave me the fantastic idea to take off from work Fridays over the summer and spend the time with Him.  That request shook my feeble heart.  At the same time He offered me the invitation to be with Him, He gave me a new friend.  Since she was a new friend, we could not stop talking about who we are and how we got there.  Sort of like speeding up the friendship so we can get real, fast.  At the same time God gave me my Friday invitation, He also gave me Madison’s mama on a week long camping trip.

One evening, we sat in the dim light of the cafeteria, and she told me the story of how God recently showed up big beyond her wildest imagination.  Part of her story had to do with specific sums of money showing up in the exact amount of her dire needs.  As I am listening to the ins and outs of her God story, I start to cry.  Pretty loud crying in a pretty quiet place.  I feel the Lord impressing upon my heart – – He gave me this extraordinary story of trust, so that I can do the take off Friday thing.

After sharing God’s invitation with my accountability partner, LeAnn’s mama, she told me to trust God and do it.  So, what did I do?  I didn’t take off one single Friday this summer.  We had a couple of vacations that brought me out of the office on Friday, but every time I had the chance to trust God with my time and money making hours, I didn’t. I just didn’t.

My excuses included, 1) what would my employees think about my work ethic, 2) will people think I am lazy or absent from my responsibilities, 3) do I really feel comfortable claiming that type of time for myself and 4) what will really happen if I obey, it probably doesn’t make a difference anyway.  Rather than come up with a bunch of cuss words to describe my excuses, I’ll just call them what they are  – – sin. 

Now, a few weeks after summer’s end, I find myself seeking God for that deep, deep place.  I hear Him challenging me to not just get to the deep places of His holiness, back off and start again later.  But go to the place of depth and seek Him to push beyond.  I see that place in my mind and heart like a carrot waving in front of a rabbit.  The drawing feeling of something you are about to enter and you are just about to turn the key.  Like the first time the girl enters the Secret Garden.  The Lord is just waiting for me to enter into the garden of His depth.  I think that my summer was supposed to be about that.

So, all of this about me, to say to you, that I am sure that there is something you are holding on to.  I am sure of that because we are not in heaven.  You have a lot of excuses like I do. Some come across as very justified, but they are not.  I know for a fact that you are braver than me and can let go of the thing, go do the thing, step out into the thing . . . before the thing expires.  You don’t need to wait anymore to do the thing you are supposed to do.  Please do it.  And, after you do, tell me all about it.  I’ll be encouraged to the thing He calls me to do.  At the very next redemptive opportunity. 

FF be brave

 

Answers to Questions

By AbbyA

Do you find yourself almost wishing your life away as you wait for those Fridays or just live for special days like Christmas? 

A wise man once told me that every day is worth living.  He challenged me to enjoy each day and not to wish it was Friday every other day of the week.  That comes from my wise old dad whose days off were Sunday and Monday; who worked nights many days a week; and who always took a nap at around 3pm.  Yes, dad, every day is worth living.

What can you appreciate right now about your life? 

I appreciate that I have a mind to think, wisdom to understand and a heart to love.

While there are some things you can’t control, what can you change to improve your life so you enjoy it more? 

I’d like to learn to drain my expectations through a spiritual colander.  I figure if I deconstruct before I react, my communication will sound more like music than a broken record.  Help me Lord to express myself with clarity, truth and love.

We’re all consumed by life and the hectic chaos, but challenge yourself this week to be present in the Present and focus on the blessings in your life. 

Having lost a lot the last few years and suffered terrible pain, I am in a season of thankfulness and joy for what He has brought me through.  I pray that as mountains and valleys continue in my life, I would retain a spirit of thankfulness for the great work He has done on the Cross.  And, I pray that the prayer warriors in my life – – who interceded for me in my pain and suffering – – would reap a harvest for their prayerful sacrifice.  Among others, thank you Mom.  You will always be all that I am and all that I hope to be.  (Borrowed from President Lincoln, but from my heart).

FemmeReaders: I encourage you to ask yourself hard questions.  Seek deep answers.  For as you tredge through the darkness, Christ’s light becomes ever so bright.  Blinding your past, leading the way to your future and warming your Present.