Monday, September 19, 2011

Get Off the Sidelines

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I have been reflecting on my past, evaluating my present, and dreaming about my future. I have a dream to travel and speak, to share the story of what God has done in my life all over the world. I want to be used as a mouthpiece of God to speak hope to the hopeless. I want to reach out and speak hope into the lives of the abandoned, abused, and rejected. I want to see people physically and emotionally healed and restored. I want to help people see the greatness that they have in them. Basically, I want to believe in the people that no one believes in; the “nobodies” of the world and then I want to watch them step out and walk in their destiny.

I remember back in 2000 when I was a baby Christian and everything was so new to me. I was so happy and so overfilled with joy that I told everybody about Jesus. About 2 weeks after I gave my life to the Lord, I went to the beach to evangelize with Fort Myers Masters Commission. I didn’t know the first thing about how to evangelize, for that matter I didn’t even have one scripture memorized but I didn’t care. I just wanted to tell people that I accepted Jesus as my savior and for the first time in my life I had hope and happiness. I wanted to give that hope and happiness to all the people that were hurting like I had been. I wanted everyone else to have a chance to have hope. While out that night we met two guys that were looking for a good place to go and party. The FMMC students began to share the bible with one gentleman and before long a debate had started. The other young gentleman just kept asking about where to go and party. I decided I would tell him about Jesus and what He had done in my life just 2 weeks prior. I led that guy to the Lord that night. I was so happy that I was able to help bring hope and salvation to someone; that God would use me to share his message. I remember in that moment realizing that there was nothing else I would rather do. I wanted to dedicate my life to helping people meet Jesus. Not to long after this event, I also knew that I was suppose to use my story and my life experience as a tool for ministry. I was to use my story as a way to speak hope, healing, restoration to people’s lives.

I dedicated the next six years of my life to this calling. I went through intense discipleship. I was taught leadership. I went through hands on ministry training, learning about everything from nursery kids to elder care to the inner city (this was my favorite). I had the privilege of traveling all over the country doing school assemblies, church services, and missions work. I was able to share my story, sometimes to a room full of people, sometimes one and one. It was such an honor to be able to tell people about what Jesus did in my life. I looked for opportunities to speak hope, purpose, healing, and freedom into people’s lives.

Everything changed in 2006. I went through an extremely hurtful situation. This situation left me wounded beyond words. I didn’t know how to deal with what I was feeling. My life didn’t seem real at that point. My faith was shaken hard and I felt like a failure and a disappointment. I thought that God didn’t even want me anymore. I was in spiritual ICU. I was unsure of how to heal, how to recover, and how to move forward. I was so use to being the girl that fixes things and I couldn’t fix this.

The hurt that I experienced caused me to become very inward focused. I was back to not trusting people, not wanting to let people into my world, and not wanting to let people see the real me. All I thought about was me and how I was feeling. I stopped pouring my life into others, stopped believing in people, and stopped spreading the message of hope and salvation. I was so afraid to put my heart out there for fear that it would get trampled on. As I began to heal I slowly began to pour out my life to others but only from a place of safety; place of head knowledge. I kept everyone at an arm’s length for fear of being hurt again.

See, I was in a place of being consumed by me, my issues, my disappointments, and my perceived failures. What I should have been doing was focusing on God, the creator of the universe.  Philippians 4:13 says I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. It doesn’t say that I can do all things on my own.

During this season of my life I missed out on opportunities all around me to share the love of God with people. It was like I forget there was a whole world going on around me. It took a long time for me to realize this. I had no idea that I had become this person. I understand that a time to heal was necessary and vital. The thing I realize though is that after I healed I was walking around as if the injury still existed. My heart remained covered as if the wound was still there and I prevented myself from allowing people to see me because I didn’t want to be viewed as damaged goods. I also didn’t want anyone close enough that they could possible hurt my heart again. The risk taker in me had become someone that just sat on the sidelines and watched everyone else have victory, the whole time thinking that I would never be able to get back in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of people cheering me on and pushing me to get off the sidelines. I just couldn’t seem to get my focus off of me. I was determined to never be hurt again. However, I realized that in my fight to protect myself I was losing out on all the wonderful blessings that the Lord had for me. He had people I was supposed to minister too, disciple and serve.

I have changed my prayer over the past year to part of a Hillsong United song and it says this: Heal my heart and make it clean, Open up my eyes to the things unseen, Show me how to love like You have loved me, Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause.

I want to challenge you today to allow yourself to heal from your past hurts and disappointments but do not allow yourself to get stuck on the sidelines because you’re afraid to get back in the game. Make a decision today to pay attention to the hurting people around you and speak life into them. Let’s be world changers and difference makers in the sphere of influence that God has entrusted us with!

Much love,