Get low. Get free.

The beginning of 2017 started with me praying a simple prayer, “God, teach me how to love. How to really love.”

Learning to love means learning to get low. Choosing to serve. Choosing anonymity. Choosing to stop evaluating the value of work based on applause or approval. Choosing to do small things with great love for the people around me.

All my life I have felt a tremendous amount of pressure to excel. I have spent my days striving to be acceptable and pleasing.

That life is exhausting, and has left my soul tired. In my search for the approval and adoration of others, I have been chasing after a mirage in a desert, never arriving, all the while getting thirstier and thirstier.

Chasing satisfaction in the praise of people will always leave us thirsty; we are wasting our energy chasing after something that isn’t even real! We buy into the lie that apart from the praise and adoration of people we are invaluable, unloveable, and invisible.

I place my identify far too often in what I do instead of whose I am. But I am learning that there is tremendous freedom when I let go of the need to earn my place.

The reality is that I am not enough. I will never be enough. But Jesus is enough for me. His enoughness is all I need, and in Him is the freedom to stop striving.

When we stop long enough to look to Jesus and ask Him to satisfy us with His enoughness, we can stop chasing desert mirages and experience rich satisfaction and healthy souls. It is in this place that we experience the freedom to embrace who we are simply because He calls us His.

Out of our satisfaction we begin to learn what real love and service are.

We can rest when we stop trying to earn our place. We can experience the fullness of peace God promises when we accept that He really does mean it when He says that we don’t have to earn His favor or love. We can start to enjoy our work when we don’t tie our worth to it.

Living low allows us to find tremendous fulfillment and joy in both the mundane and the extraordinary. Whether scrubbing dishes, changing diapers, working in a cubicle, or  speaking in front of thousands, we can fully embrace our moments with gratitude and a heart full of love because our activity does not define our value or worth.

We can be free to serve without recognition, and we can accept recognition with humility.

I’m learning that living low is the only real way to be satisfied. On my own I will never be enough, but Jesus is enough for me. He is enough for you. He is enough for us.

Get low. Live low. Stay low. That is where rich life, and soul satisfaction are found.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

Haley

 

 

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist.

Admittedly, I am a recovering perfectionist. I have a history of giving almost April 20 Post Photo
everything I do or experience some sort of “grade,” and anything short of “just right” has left me dissatisfied. The problem is that real life doesn’t translate well to the perfectionist mindset, and for the longest time I allowed myself to be robbed of true, rich satisfaction because I was looking for it in places that it doesn’t exist.

Two things I have learned as I have intentionally focused my efforts towards moving beyond perfection, and into real living:

1. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. The world is not perfect. And it won’t be. If I live setting the expectation that my world should be perfect I will always be set up for disappointment, frustration, and deep dissatisfaction.

2. The second thing I’ve learned (and am learning) is that I can rest knowing that God is perfect. He is outside of my frazzled attempt to create my own perfect world. When I fix my eyes on who He is, I can rest in the middle of my little mess and know that the most important part of my life is not found in a clean house, completed chores, the perfect writing environment, ideal work situations, or perfect relationships. My peace is found when I fix my eyes on the perfect, unchanging God that paid the ransom for my life through the blood of His own Son.

I can live in tremendously rich satisfaction found only in relationship with God. I can let myself off the hook that my sink is currently full of dirty dishes, and that instead of a quiet writing environment with a hot cup of coffee in my hand Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is on in the background capturing the attention of my husband and son. I can enjoy this moment regardless of the fact that it isn’t my “perfect” writing environment because I know the God that is giving me the breath I’m breathing, the beautiful men I love so much sitting next to me, and the passion to teach and equip others to chase after Him above all else.

What imperfections in yourself, in situations, or in others have you been allowing to rob you of the satisfaction that only God Himself offers?  Where do you find yourself thinking things like, “I’d be able to rest if only _________(you fill in the blank…),” or “I’d be in a better mood if _______________”…?

One of my favorite lyrics written by my all-time favorite band, Switchfoot, says, “Manmade never made our dreams collide…we’re awakening.” I want to really live. I want to live awake, and that can only happen when I’m not looking for life among dead things. I must look for real life in the Author of Life, and in the One that conquered death. I need to live a resurrected life found only in The Resurrected One.

Will you join me in that?

Friend, I have been praying for months over this blog. I have been begging God to give me clear direction for where we are going together in this cyber-realm, and after a few weeks of my own intentional silence, I believe God has shown me what He desires: He desires for us to seek Him above all else. Our attempts (and failures) at recreating Eden are exhausting. He desires for us to re-channel all of that wasted energy into knowing Him, and finding that He alone will satisfy that ache you and I feel—that “something’s missing” feeling.

He wants you to be inspired, not with feel-good fluff, but with deep-seated Truth found in the Word of God that has the power to change us.

He wants you to be equipped with Bible study know how. God forbid I should ever become another person that you listen to without you also being strengthened in how to study God’s Word for yourself! Lots of people will post their opinions and thoughts about Scripture. I firmly believe that God is calling all of His followers to rightly handle His word. That requires learning how. 

He wants us to become more and more like His Son over time. This is not simply a passive change on our part; we must actively endeavor to learn, to change, to grow–just like a child learns over time, and eventually becomes an adult who is (hopefully) equipped with the necessary skills and character.

He wants us to grow in our compassion and love for one another, and for the broken world around us.

He wants us to be actively and intentionally engaged in a community of other believers (Church), not just filling seats each Sunday, but serving and being served. Church is not just a place to sing songs and “be fed,” but it is a place that we have a responsibility and commitment to be actively involved in.

He wants us to move beyond complacent, comfortable, feel-good belief and into actively following Him. He is calling us to be a generation that seeks His face above all else.

So, that’s where we are going. Life Becoming is all about what it means to be a disciple, equipping a generation of Christ-focused leaders that change the world through ordinary acts of bravery and kindness, teaching skills needed to study the Bible for ourselves, and strengthening the Global Church by offering quality resourcing for disciples of Jesus worldwide.

I’d like to invite you into this cyber-community. Let’s stick together as we run forward, cheering each other on all the way. Be sure to like, share, invite your friends, and sign up for email updates as we dive deeper together.

See you soon, dear friends. I’m looking forward to it! I hope you are as well.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

With Joy,

Haley