So my pastor is preaching a series of three messages out of this itty bitty book at the tail end of the Old Testament called Haggai . . . confession time: I have pretty much read the whole Bible but somehow never made it to this one. WOW. Right out of the gate, the first message was like an arrow straight to my heart.
On a quick side note: when you are consistently spending focused time with the Lord, you get to know His voice. You just might find that there is something for you – a word just for you -in every single message/study/yes, even conversations – JUST FOR YOU. He’s just good like that. He still speaks. Trust me, all the time.
Okay, back to Haggai. Haggai is a minor prophet that God raises up to get the people of Israel back to work rebuilding His house after many miserable years in captivity. They start off great, all gung-ho and whatnot until they run into some opposition, and they think “Oh this must mean the timing is all wrong. We can’t do this now. We’ll do that later . . .” Famous last words. Fourteen (some scholars say sixteen) years later they STILL haven’t touched the work they started on the temple yet they are living large (like the neighborhoods that give out the full-size candy bars at Halloween). They have it pretty good; they’ve definitely been busy, but not doing what they were sent there to do. So God basically says, “So what’s up ya’ll?” (This is the Crystal’s Southern Translation) The really haunting thing is reading Haggai 1:3-7 . . . it sounds so familiar.
The Lord absolutely nails the Israelites for mindless consumption, trying to satisfy themselves with stuff, working with nothing to really show for it. It sounds way too familiar. He says more than once in chapter 1, “Give careful thought to your ways.”
I hate to admit that I have had a bad habit of starting projects and not finishing them. This blog is one of them. How many times have I been so pumped about whatever it is I start – a clean eating diet, training for a race, a Bible study, a blog post . . . and then it gets sort of hard and not so easy to do or I get distracted (Squirrel!) Before I could blink an eye that project ends up as just another pretty thought collecting dust on the “I will finish that later” shelf of my mind. But nearly a year ago I chose a word for 2015 Discipline. Oh yeah, I chose a scary one! My lack of discipline was not something I liked about myself, and I knew that it leaking into all areas of my life. I mean I could SEE IT on my waistline. Not cool. I could see it in my lack of relationship with God and cycles of habitual sin. Not cool at all. So discipline started with tithing (I can never ever thank Chris Beale enough for that First Things First sermon last January . . . it was the beginning of something beautiful.) So I started there, then I began a year Bible plan in the New Testament and little by little I began to be famished for the word, I am talking morning, noon and night. Then I asked God to renew my prayer life, and I have seen healing and transformation and intimacy like I have never known with the Lord. I stopped eating sugar for good and made running a priority – 14 pounds gone so far. I asked the Lord to show me how to parent like He does, and I am in a sweet season with my children where I am finally connecting with them rather than bullying them. GUYS – hear me, ask and you shall receive. Seek and you WILL find. Knock, He answers.
I do not say any of that to toot my own horn; I could not do one single bit of that without God empowering me. It’s all Him. Anything good is all Him. He gave me the single mom ministry I dreamed about in the form of my precious lifegroup. He gave me friendships that are intimate and vulnerable and stronger than blood. My pastor asked tonight if maybe we were not in the place where we thought we would be at this point in my life, and I thought, “Yeah. I am not where I thought I would be at all! I NEVER KNEW LIFE COULD BE THIS GOOD!”
Oh but there is still work to do, a lot of it. Life is super messy and hard. I still get distracted and discouraged when things get hard. As I was sitting in service tonight Craig asked if there was something God had given us to do that we had shelved for later. And here I am.
I cannot tell you how many times I have sat at the computer frozen with fear. What if they don’t like me? What if my theology sucks? What if, what if, what if . . . okay let’s just close this laptop and do this later. Tonight I knew – it’s time. Then my friend and her husband sit across from me after church (he wasn’t even in service!) and he asks, “So are you still writing? Because you really should. You’re good.” Yes Lord, I surrender!
I really don’t have time to write, just like I don’t really have money to tithe or time to run or sit with the Lord. It’s a funny thing when you give your very best to the Lord how He takes what you give and multiples it. It’s a downright awesome thing to have people ask, “How do you do it all?” And I reply, “I don’t, but God does. With Him, nothing is impossible.
So whatever your thing is, give careful consideration to your ways. I am asking for a supernatural dose of discipline and bravery to tackle this writing thing again. Nothing, NOTHING is impossible with God. I would love to sit down with you and tell you my stories . . . and I will.