I don’t like the spotlight.
I have always been a wallflower and would rather be in the background than center-stage. Being a pastor’s wife doesn’t always accommodate my insecurities, so learning to accept being uncomfortable has been a journey that started long ago…
I can still remember squirming in my seat as a young girl because I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to surrender my life to Jesus–and back then it meant I would have to “walk the aisle”. Raised in a traditional evangelical church, there was an altar call after every service and it seemed, in my young mind, that the only way to be saved was to go to the altar and let everyone see that I was admitting I was a sinner who needed Jesus.
“Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”
[lyrics by Charlotte Elliot]
An avid reader, I was learning the truth of God’s Word, but very often He used the words of a song to speak right to my heart.
“Just as I am.”
How else can we come? There is no pretense with God. He created us. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and yet…
He loves us still.
Our weakness. Our insecurity. Our sin.
We come “just as we are”, but in coming we are asking Him to take what we are, who we are, and use us for His glory.
That is why I write.
Not many will read my words. Only a few will respond.
But He knows.
He knows my heart and He knows my desire to tell of Him, so if it is about reaching the one or if it is only to honor Him–I want to be obedient.
Charlotte Elliot was struggling with feeling useless when she penned the words of this beloved hymn:
“Probably without difficulty or long pause,” she wrote the hymn, getting comfort by thus definitely “recollecting” the eternity of the Rock beneath her feet. There, then, always, not only for some past moment but ” even now ” she was accepted in the Beloved,
Charlotte could not have known that her penned words would be sung by millions. Is that why she wrote? I don’t believe so. Those words came out of her time spent focusing on God instead of her feelings of uselessness.
My journey is not yours. My struggle to find God’s purpose for giving me life is unique. I cannot be what everyone else thinks I should be–but I can choose to do whatever God asks of me.
Just as I am, I come.
I have spent the last two weeks walking around on empty. A rare emptiness in my heart meant the words that often plague my mind and my sleep were non-existent. The last post I penned was about Easter, and for some reason, the days following felt like that empty tomb.
Just as Mary Magdalene must have had similar thoughts at seeing that empty tomb, my mind was saying, “where are You?” and “what does this mean?”.
While some might assume that not “feeling” God’s presence is a sure sign that sin is in your life, I can assure you that I confessed every sin I could think of and some that maybe I didn’t even realize…
I prayed, but my prayers felt empty. I read His words written in the Bible and He reminded me that faith is not based on feelings, but on Truth. The world presses around us and we start to lose perspective. We see hurt and pain and loss and we feel overwhelmed, useless.
Read Psalm 73. David started looking at those around him and was frustrated by the fact that they were prideful, over-indulgent and mis-guided–yet seemed to prosper.
Until He got into God’s presence.
“When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.” (v. 16-17)
There has to be a choice. Just as in marriage when you choose to love someone even when they aren’t very lovable, following Christ means that we must choose to live for Him even when we are frustrated. Lonely. Weak. Or running on empty.
We are human–and He knows it.
“Yet I am always with You;”
Even when our feelings tell us otherwise.
“You hold my right hand.”
Assuring me that I am not alone.
“You guide me with Your counsel,”
Leading me on this journey of faith.
“and afterwards You will receive me with honor.”
Not for my glory, but for HIS.
“But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge,
…so I can tell about all You do.”