Thursday, March 24, 2016

Letting Go

Letting go is hard business. I would know, as I've had to let go of a lot of things, people and dreams in my life. Sometimes I hold on to things with white knuckles because I'm so afraid to let go. Recently, this was the case in my life.

I have worked in Christian radio for about 12 years now and honestly, I'm not sure I've ever loved a job as much as I love encouraging people over the airwaves. But almost a year ago, my husband and I purchased a fitness center in downtown Travelers Rest, feeling that God was leading us to this sweet community. I knew when I signed the papers last June that I needed to go "all in" with it. And I have - for the most part. 

One thing I have had a hard time letting go of was my very part-time job at 106.9 The Light. I was a weekend radio host and though it wasn't a lot of hours, I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to show prep and I really believe that if you're going to do something, you should do it with excellence. I did cut back my hours and let a couple of things go a few months back, but I couldn't bring myself to let go completely. Even still, I wasn't giving it my best and I knew it. I had a hard time focusing and I could feel God telling me it was time to let go.

I guess my difficulty in letting go can be summed up in one word: fear. Yes, the dreaded word that can get us stuck and give us anxiety had invaded my heart and I was allowing it to make it's home there. But what was causing the fear? 

When we bought this fitness center, we knew it was God directing our steps. He wanted us all in and He made that very clear. If you've ever done business before, though, you know that it takes awhile to make a profit (or even break even) and a huge majority of small businesses do not succeed. I think I was afraid to go all in, just in case it didn't work. I wanted to have a safety net. I guess there was fear that if I left completely, I wouldn't have that job to go back to if it didn't work out. Sounds logical, but if you have ever walked with God, you know logical is not always His way! In my prayer time last week, as I prayed for wisdom in making this decision, I had the thought, "Where's the faith in that?" Honestly, I knew I wasn't trusting God to make this work enough to let go. 

Another thing that filled my heart with fear was that I love to encourage people on the radio. I think radio ministry is such a beautiful tool that God uses to reach into hearts and share His love. I love being a part of that! I didn't want to let that go. As I prayed, I realized that He has given me a place to do that, though it's not on the airwaves. It's in a little town in SC called Travelers Rest at HUB Fitness. And honestly, I needed to go all in.

So I told my supervisor (who, by the way, had been praying for me for months since she knew I had been struggling) that it was time to let go. She completely understood. I couldn't stop sobbing, though. It was sobs of grief and relief all at the same time. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would and I wanted to retract it as soon as I said it but I didn't allow myself to do that.

Letting go is one of the most difficult things God asks us to do. I am beginning to realize more and more, though, that God is just waiting for us to let go and go all in so He can go all in, too. I have to wonder if I was inadvertently holding Him back from blessing our business fully because I was unwilling to go all in and trust Him? Time will tell. 

But one thing I know, I'm sure I did the right thing. And I know that even if things don't go as I hope and pray they will with our fitness center, God has a plan for my life. He didn't give me the gift of encouragement so I'd sit on a shelf somewhere. I can actively seek ways to do this, on or off the radio, whatever role He brings to me and whomever He brings into my life!

If you are holding on with white knuckles to something God is clearly asking you to let go of, please pray hard and ask Him to give you the strength to let go. Before we can truly live, it seems a part of us must die. Letting go of something we hold dear to us can feel like a death, but we all know what Jesus did to death! Resurrection is coming, friend. Let Go(d).

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How Then, Shall We Act?

It's a rough world out there. And right now, in America, it's even more rough as we are in an election year. Nothing stirs up our passions, anger, frustration and opinions like politics! Whew, it can get down right ugly. So, how are we supposed to act as believers in a world like this? Let's take a look at what the Ultimate Authority has to say on the subject...

If you look at the stories of the great leaders of the Bible - Joseph, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, will find that every single one of them respected and submitted to the authority that was above them. Because of their submission and humble attitude, they found favor in the sight of not only the kings and leaders, but in the sight of God and all without compromising their values and morals. 

All this does not mean that we are to disobey God in situations where the law of man may conflict with the law of God (Acts 4:18-20; 5:40) but we are told to continue to respect authority—even when those in positions of authority have abused their offices (or we think they likely will).  If we want to be heard, if we want to make our points clear, we must be humble and submissive. The fact is, God can use us in the midst of even the most corrupt leadership! He did it time and time again in the Bible. So, what do we do?
Micah 6:8 says "The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 
Are we showing mercy to those we oppose? Are we being loving in our approach? Gentle? Humble? Patient? Maybe instead of putting people down and being angry and slanderous, we can show mercy and faith in our God and pray for them? We cannot forget who our battle is really against (Ephesians 6) here. It's not other people, it's not leadership - it's the enemy of our souls. And he's awfully bitter, incredibly angry and is the king of slander.

It all boils down to this: God wants us to be respectful and submissive for His sake, not for ours or even theirs (1 Peter 2:13). Perhaps this is one of those times when we can come together, in agreement, and begin to do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with our God - the Ultimate Authority. We can't do that when we are walking in anger, fear or bitterness. 
Here's how we can do it:

SUBMIT:  Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and will be punished. 

DO NOT SLANDER OR QUARREL:  Titus 3:1-2 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

RESPECT: 1 Peter 2:13-14 For the Lord's sake, respect all human authority - whether the king as head of state, or the officers he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

PRAY & LIVE PEACEFULLY:  1 Timothy 2:1-3 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
Oh, and please - VOTE!

Got Questions?