I pray I am always honest with God, with myself, and with you – my reader. I never want to represent myself here as having figured out the answers to all of life’s questions, and/or be walking in constant victory over all manner of trials and temptations. Nor, I pray, shall I focus too much on the unanswerable questions of life. Why do we always feel this need to have an explanation for the problems of life? This world is broken. Because of Adam’s sin, it doesn’t operate (at this time) in the way that God originally intended. It seems I am always wrestling my thoughts to the ground to put down that one recurring question … “Why God?”
As I shared in Receiving Instruction (part 1), I had been looking back through some of my older journals and was feeling a bit discouraged. But as my morning devotions ended, I began to notice that throughout all those seasons of challenge God was at work in me. He brought correction to my heart about prideful attitudes. He gave light to ‘stinking thinking’ that needed to be brought into alignment with His word. He taught me about the power of my words to either bring blessing or cursing into my life and the lives of those around me. He renewed my mind and mouth through the power of His Word and Spirit at work within me.
And He also gave fresh vision to the dreams I wrote about years ago. Back then, I was at the very beginnings of this journey I’m on to step into His calling for my life. A little slip here, a little stumble there, but it certainly was fun to read my notes from along the journey, and thrilling to be able to point to a place in time as the very ‘birthing place’ of dreams I’m acting upon in 2014.
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
With that revelation, and believing God has called me to rise up and step forward as a woman of influence, I concluded that these seasons of trial, while not issued by God, can be used for a higher purpose to “test” or “prove out” my character as a leader. And I began to ask different questions about some of the challenges I’m facing today – now viewing them from a higher perspective.
Who will I be when I feel mistreated or falsely accused?
Who will I be when I don’t get what I think I deserve?
Who will I be when prayers seem unanswered?
The truth is, I don’t much like being pressed and tested! And it usually doesn’t bring out my most alluring personality traits. But I was reminded that if I want God to open doors of influence for me, I shouldn’t be surprised to find that more is expected of me (reference James 3:1), for He is not going to give me greater influence if I am not presently a good steward of, or influence upon, the hearts and souls that are currently within my circle of influence.
TEST: a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, esp. before it is taken into widespread use.
PROOF: able to withstand something damaging; resistant.
I like the way Max Lucado compares testing to the thumping process a potter uses when testing (or proofing) his pottery. If it ‘sings’ when it is thumped, it’s ready. I need to sing more, and thud less!
What has God called you to do that requires more of you?
What are you facing that requires the very best that you have?
I’ll take a break here, allowing you time to ponder that question as it relates to your own life and circumstances. And I do hope you will take the time to post a comment or share your thoughts below. We don’t live in a vacuum and I don’t have all the answers.
Until then, be blessed!