Wednesday, January 29, 2014

be daring, and wild, and adventurous!

Considering the cold temperatures today, my cousin back in Chicago posted an interesting fact on his Facebook page.  It read, "The North Pole is currently 24 degrees warmer than Chicago. Have a great day."

To this, I immediately replied, "Be safe."

As I hit the Facebook post button, in my heart I started to reconsider my statement.  "Be safe."  Isn't that obvious?  Isn't it human nature to settle into self preservation?  Aren't comfort and safety usually the first things we consider if threatened or when faced with unknown, unusual circumstances?  "Be safe."  Blech.

In less than a minute, I responded again... correcting my original sentiment with, "Actually, I take that back... Be daring, and wild, and adventurous! But stay warm doing it!!! Xox!"

And that is how I think Christ calls us to live, folks.  Fully, passionately, courageously!  Like living lightning rods grounded in the Holy Spirit through our obedience and worship.  Praying for His uncertain, unusual, electric moments of grace to surprise us and charge us into a free'er and more trusting church.

When it comes to the human view of safety, I now realize it is overrated.  Safety is boring.  Sure, in the Western Hemisphere we are pretty much considered (obvious point ahead...) safe.  We live lives with no real surprises.  No risk.  No nothing.  (Again, belch!)

But what in scripture encourages us to live safe?  Ark building?  Vagabonding and grand exoduses?  Bloody battles?  Being imprisoned, mis-judged as a rapist, seen a liar, herolded a fool?  What about giant slaying?  Temple building?  Furnace walking?  Lion cuddling?  Eating bugs in the wilderness?  Giving birth without any medical aid near farm animal feces?  Living with the knowledge that one day you will suffer torture and ultimately die on a cross for someone else's guilt?

Safety is none of these things, is it?

No, our view of safety and comfort were never to be the primary focus of the human condition.  In fact, such a view is unrealistic, a facade, a mirage.  For the only safety that truly exists is the Lord.  He is the only certainty in life, because HE IS LIFE!

Before 2014 began, my husband and I found ourselves stretched in our comfort and safety.  Even today, we are quite aware that the Holy Spirit has enrolled us in His training and is leading us into places WAY outside of normal.  Some of these places are really, really exciting and good... and well, some are absoultely terrifying.  (Notice I didn't say bad.)  In response, we have prayerfully chosen to proceed ahead in faith.  Not fear... faith.  For both Chuck and I know that God desires for us to let go of everything in exchange for His daring, wild, adventure.  Instead of mourning inside prison walls of false security, the Counselor is teaching us how to live outside our self-made cell blocks.  He is proving that there is so much more joy to be realized, more Jesus to be seen and experienced.  But we must choose in submission to depend on God's promises and run toward Him in order to witness this.  He calls us to focus solely on His image and forget about the temptations that surround us.  In short, we are to look fervently for God's glorious, show stopping, splendor!  We are to pray for Him to dazzle us as we run obediently in our journey toward His throne.

Within the course of the Holy Spirit's training, Chuck and I have learned that uncertainty is something too alarming for most folks to embrace in real time.  (And, yes... I said embrace.)  Sure, we are capable of enjoying varying degrees of questionableness in the books we read and the movies we watch.  But why stop there?  Why not allow Jesus to do a great thing with our real life?

Don't you remember the times when your heart actually cheered inside a great storyline?  When challenges loomed around a hero or heroine, and unusual, insurmountable odds dramatically affected you to applaud them on - to overcome that obstacle!  Yes, in the make-believe we love the odds.  We relish every gamble that threatens a beloved character's life.  We cheer when the impossible becomes possible, or when underdogs overachieve, sparkle, and shine.  Heck, we give out Acadamy Awards for such stories and performances!  Simply, we love those fictitious miracle moments.  But why don't we love miracles for ourselves?  Why live as paralyzed cowards when God has something fuller, something better planned for us in real life?

I think that Satan is on full attack to convince Christians that miracles are much too stressful an occupation.  He argues that miracles are unrealistic, facades, mirages.  Wow.  Isn't that just like the devil to twist God's truth into a lie?  Yet strangely enough, many of us still choose to believe Satan's lie over God's call to action.  Our frightened, selfish hearts dare not show interest or be stretched even within the same continent of a spiritual breaking point.  No.  That is too much to ask of us, isn't it?  That is reserved for those special few, or even more for those stories found only in the Bible.  No... not today... not with me, Lord.  I like my comfort.  I enjoy being safe more than anything You want to do.  YIKES!

To this I say, it is nothing short of foolishness when we fail to wait upon the Lord.  Why not give Him the chance to dazzle us?  Why?  Because perhaps we believe we will be worse off - a people who cannot cushion or plan for every contingency?  So instead we cushion on our own.  We plan outside and instead of Him.  And in doing so, we rob God of showing off His miracle moments originally and exclusively designed for OUR LIFE.  We remove the threat of His glory in exchange for comfortable, sinful numbness.  Believers... is that real safety or stupidity?

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  (1 Peter 3:13)

Our King has commanded us to be strong and courageous!
Our King tells us not to live in fear, nor to be discouraged!
Our King has assured us that He's got this!  He's with us always!
Our King has already won the war, and wants to dazzle our hearts so that we might joyfully cheer through the entire storyline of our life in Christ!

So why not stop "being safe" and instead relish in the unsurmountable odds that threaten you today? In fact, consider them joy!  Why not welcome in the Holy Spirit and ask Him to stretch your faith to His spiritual breaking point?  For your whole life belongs in the care of Christ.  You are His beloved!  And in Him, really... what harm will eternally come?  Impossibles become possible!  Underdogs overachieve, sparkle, and shine.  Yes, Jesus is the ONLY safe Way!  So be daring, and wild, and adventurous in His Name!

Considering the cold unknowns surrounding you today, allow me to encourage you to run hastily and vulnerable toward God's daring, wild, adventurous LIFE!  Yippee!  Do not allow fear to paralyze you any longer.  He has opened the prison doors and wants you to see His glory outside! So run home to Him!  Run to His warm presence! Nestle yourself in His promises.  Run as fast as you can to Jesus!  Do not hesitate!  Do not look to the right or to the left!  For there is no worse case scenario that He has not already planned for.  There is nothing He cannot overcome.  Be strong and courageous!  Be obedient in your faith.  For God is with you and ready to dazzle in His perfect, trustworthy timing!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

Have a GREAT day!

~Victoria


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