From The Inside Out

worship

“I’m remaking my way of living from the inside out” – Shauna Niequist

So much can change in a short amount of time.  April 27, 2015 changed the course of my life. My season as a Corporate Human Resources Manager for a very successful company had come to an end.  The morning of April 27 I had prayed that God would show up on that day and do something amazing.  He showed up, alright! I was no longer working in the corporate world and my dreams and vision for working in ministry full time were in clear sight.

I spent weeks fine tuning my business plan for ministry and living on the adrenaline of everything finally coming together UNTIL – God changed the plan.

Within 5 weeks I had gone from full blown ministry leader, designing a new website, new logo completed and ready to share, book edited and ready to finalize, successful jewelry line with packages ready to mail out – to surrendering it all. Just like that … it was gone.

That was the start to learning about surrender.  Not just saying I know how to, but actually doing it.  How better to learn about surrender than to have God knock on your heart and ask you to turn over the one thing that you have worked REALLY hard for and have actually had some sort of success with?

I’m tellin’ ya – I handed it right over.  No kicking, no screaming, no whining, no calling all my friends to ask for their advice or to talk me off the ledge.  I was home alone, standing in my bedroom, and I got down on my knees, held my hand out, wide open, and said, “Take it, Lord. If you have more, I don’t want less.”

That was seriously one of those moments where you’re like… holy crap! The Lord has REALLY changed me.  I could / would NEVER do that on my own accord.

Giving up Healed Whole New was so vital.  I grieved it for three days and then I started to feel relief.  I started to feel free. My husband pointed out that I was actually in bondage to the ministry.  Wow! Here I am trying to make a point about living in the freedom that Christ has already given us and I’m in bondage … to ministry … to good works!  Shocking!

Over the past few months I have learned how to breath.  I have realized insecurities in me that I didn’t even know existed.  I have learned that the more you talk about anxiety, the more you think about anxiety, and the more you think about anxiety, the more you feel anxiety.  I decided I didn’t want to live on God’s blessings from 2011.  I wanted to be present TODAY.

It’s amazing and may God receive all the glory for healing me from anxiety and depression but you don’t need me to tell you tips and tools on overcoming anxiety and depression – you just need to be pointed back to Jesus. He has your answers because He is the answer … and might I suggest professional counseling as well?

I realized that through my story of God’s healing power in my life people started to turn to me for help.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to help people but trying to hold up a ministry and do good for God just left me exhausted at the end of the day.  The exhaustion and work took away from my family and friends. My mind was more focused on helping people than it was on Jesus.  Let me tell you, if you’re more focused on doing good and helping others for Jesus than you are on Jesus Himself – you’re off.  You’re going to get tired, you’re going to wear yourself out, and you’re going to miss out on opportunities that God has set aside for you. Opportunities that will bring Him glory and bless your socks off because you’re trapped under the burden of good works and human effort!

Nothing is wasted with The Lord and He did use Healed Whole New.  I’m grateful for that season but I’m also very thankful that God asked me to let it go.

Now, instead of creating ministry and good works to bring glory to God, I’m just resting in Him.  And let me tell you, the life ministry opportunities that have shown up in just the every day, mundane moments are mind blowing! I don’t have my own agenda anymore.  I’m just seeking God, surrendering to Him, and allowing Him to be God and me to be April.

Once I got out of the way God started bringing new vision to me.  I know they are not my plans and vision because they’re just too good and way too cool to ever come from me!  I also feel steady.  I don’t feel the need to rush into new ventures and build websites or gather followers … and that’s SO not me!  That stuff will come in its own time – if it has a time.

I’m resting.  As Shauna Niequist says, “I’m remaking my way of living from the inside out.”  That’s the way God has always intended it to be. As we spend time with Jesus, He fills us up and then we can go pour out – without even trying, without striving, without wanting something in return.

I’m seeing more and more Christians entering into this place of rest and I believe God is shaking The Church. We are in a culture now where we can post something awesome and go viral within hours!  We can promote, add “purchase now” tools to our websites, self publish books, pay to have followers on Instagram – we can make ourselves famous and known (in the name of Jesus, of course) but trust me when I say, it’s exhausting if it doesn’t come natural.

You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.  I have never felt more alive than I do now.  It’s not the most incredible season of life, in fact if I shared all the crap that has gone ‘wrong’ during this season I would have to help you pick your jaw up off the floor.  I’m not walking around on bright, fluffy clouds at all! For two months straight I cried every day and I’m not much of a crier AT ALL.  Only a couple of people know the details of those tears that were shed and the way my heart was breaking day after day after day – but I knew the God was removing some old pieces.  Those old pieces were dying off and I was grieving the loss.  Surrendering to God is scary, you have to completely release control, but He’s good and He’s faithful and He never lets us down.  I choose to believe Him.

So here’s to living from the inside out!  May we surrender the things that are holding us back (even good things) and allow our sweet Heavenly Father to fill us to overflowing and pour out in ways that He has predestined for us.

Blessings!

April

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