to be radical

 

One of my favorite things about Scotland thus far has been the small group I have joined at church. It is obnoxiously placed late on a Tuesday night, and each week I find myself with a list of excuses as to why sleep or a proper dinner is a better idea. And yet, each week, I feel the silent nudge to return to small group. Not only has the Lord been faithful in providing sleep and time for food, but He has made small group a sweet, sweet time to gently speak to my heart.

The past few weeks, I have felt the Lord acknowledging something about me that I have known for awhile. I have a tendency to think of God only in light of negative qualities. Though I know deeply that the Lord is gracious, loving, and kind, I quickly assume that  these characteristics of the Lord are not so pertinent to me. With many things in my life, I often assume that what the Lord wants for me must be the thing I don’t want.

I read a book called Radical, and it totally changed the way I saw my faith, in a good way. But I also allowed it to begin to fill my head with lies that in order to be serving the Lord I needed to be in the slums of Haiti or giving away every material possession I own. And don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first one to tell you that I have learned a great deal from being in the slums of Haiti, and I believe there is real truth in being called to this kind of radical life. But the Devil is smart and cunning, and tends to trick me into seeing these good ideals as burdens. As if in order to be serving the Lord in a radical way I have to be miserable, that the Lord’s will is always big and scary and if things are going right I should just step back and wait for the wheels to fall off. 

Many of you reading this probably think this thought process and crazy–and it is!

I recognize there is value in understanding the nature of fearing the Lord. However, I don’t think the Lord ever calls us to act or live IN fear.

This week I have been intentionally praying about noticing areas of my life in which I am bound by fear: planning for the future, relationships, day to day interactions.

Questions for myself that are maybe relevant for you to:

What does it look like to trust the Lord enough to know that any interview, application, test grade, position or title, can’t change or thwart his plan? 

How do I live FREELY in the goodness of relationships and opportunities given by the Lord? What does it feel like to be discerning of lies and be intentional about receiving truth? 

How would it feel to be so in love with Jesus, so completely dependent on His guidance for every move, that I ask first before I pass by someone on the street, enter any conversation, indulge in his blessings of food and sleep? How much more could I enjoy the blessings of the Lord if this was my mindset?

SO, short and sweet. That’s the prayer. To be SO in love with Jesus, that my every breath, step, thought, and word is naturally and yet intentionally infiltrated with a conversation with Him.

hows that for radical.

 

I would love to chat with anyone who has thoughts on this. And I would love to be praying for you, lexie.harvey@furman.edu

 

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One thought on “to be radical

  1. Sweet Lexie … I see so much of you in chapters of my own life. I remember vividly being 22 with very little in the way of material possessions but Mike and I truly felt like we were wealthy. We were on our own with good jobs – we had each other and amazing friends, were growing in the Lord and a seemingly bright future. How could we enjoy it when people we passed going to work every day were leading lives so different than ours. People with loneliness, hopelessness and just hunger itself were existing right outside our happy life. How to accept that? I’m not sure we ever understand that and I think it is all right to never be comfortable accepting it. But the fact that you struggle with it means you won’t.

    Here, for what it’s worth is what I have learned in my journey.

    1. God lovingly only reveals just enough to us for our souls to process when we need it. Can you imagine the absurdity of trying to explain to a 5 year old what responsibilities will be expected from him when he reaches adulthood? … how to be a friend.. how to be a spouse… how to determine his calling and how to live a Christ centered life? The sheer volume of thoughts and questions and inability to comprehend how he could ever “get there” would paralyze and confound him. All the wisdom in the world would be lost on his sweet tender heart. So that’s why we take small steps and trip along the way, and learn life lessons as they come. Why we are born with open hearts and in the best of circumstances they stay open to learning and hearing from God.

    I can tell you for certain that had I been shown the challenges I would face as an adult when I was a new Christian … I would have been overwhelmed and frightened and never believed I could have faced them and pliers through them in Victory… because I would have known my own limitations and NOT yet known from life God’s unlimited power and might.

    So I guess what I want to say is I pray you can be thankful that you don’t have every answer and don’t feel less than because you are a work in progress. Our trips and falls are meant by the Lord to be used to soften the blows of others God will put in our path who will benefit from our hard won wisdom.

    2. I completely struggle as you do with how to experience joy in the midst of need and suffering. And I’m not sure I know the answer still. But here is what I can tell you after 38 years of walking with Jesus. No one ever taught me, lifted me closer to God or changed my heart with a dour, legalistic or joyless attitude. In fact just the reverse… I have been led astray, questioned God’s majesty and Holiness when those types of people tried to “teach” me what God wanted from me. Conversely… the greatest influences on my faith have come from those men and women who were humble and authentic about God but most of all JOYFUL. Oh how the world needs joy. It’s a fruit – evidence – of the Holy Spirit moving and alive in a Christian’s life. Joy brings hope and how this world needs hope. You have both those gifts in abundance and it is one reason so many people respond to you. But one thing that is easy to do for a sensitive person like you ( or me) is give it all away and find yourself without anymore to give and in need yourself. Now who do you suppose loves seeing that happen? ): That’s why we need to be spoken to by God ( in His word and through Godly friends and mentors) and speak with God in prayer daily — so we don’t give away more than we have.

    One Christmas …. its a total God story I will tell you in person … but on a moments notice Mike was called by someone he had only met once who had no one else in the world. It was Christmas Eve and this man only had a card Mike has written his name and phone number on and told the man if he ever needed anything to call him. Mind you this was before cell phones. The phone rang and this man had reached the bottom… he wanted to go check himself into a rehab Center but no one would admit him without a soonsor. All he had were the clothes on his back and a wrinkled piece of paper given to him three weeks before. Fortunately, Mike was there for the call… he was able to tell the man to stay where he was ( the man was so out of it just locating him was another miracle) Mike grabbed a duffle bag and we began filling it with clothes and shoes and toiletries. And then Mike went to get him. Hours later Mike walked in and began crying to me. I will never forget what he said …”This is a Christmas Eve I will never forget… I finally understand why I have more than I need … it’s to give it away when it’s needed.” There is more to the story… that man was a big part of our lives for the next three years and it all began with a chance encounter… a small piece of paper and being willing to stand in the gap when God called. YOU have done that Lexie and you WILL do it countless times as you live your life. God will use you to give a figurative fishing pole to someone and sit next to them and encourage and teach them to fish. You may need to do it for a close friend just as much as He calls you to do it for a stranger. Neither will be more noble or more sacrificial. There isn’t a breathing person on this earth who will not walk throuh a valley and need a Godly friend to look them in the eye and tell them ” I won’t let you fall because Christ through me will lead you up this hill.”

    The women and men who have drawn me deeper in my faith, spoken truth to me and lifted me all have three things in common. JOY, humility ( in that I see Christ before I see them) and a grounding and hunger to be led by His word. Truly all three things. People can sound wise and brilliant to the world but be absolute fools. And I know – I’ve been a fool and I’ve listened to fools. Nothing is more frightening than a man or woman claiming to know Jesus but too busy or filled with a false sense of their own maturity to be seeking God daily in His word.

    And as far as JOY… it’s infectious, it lifts, it inspires and it empowers. Why is a trait like that so integral to God’s character that for us to possess it is evidence that we belong to Him? A good friend of mine said she prayed every day ( probably still does) for each of her children to possess this trait and I can tell you no family I know radiates joy like theirs. I would guess that no one leaves their house remembering what brand their stove is or the wallpaper on their wall — they leave filled to overflowing with the joy and hospitality they have experienced from being in their presence – ask William. He will know exactly who I mean.

    So here is my prayer for you. Accept the traits inherent to who you are. I have known you a year and I know some oh the people who you love and love
    you… and you all have commonalities. You are giving, sensitive, empathetic and hunger to please the Lord through your lives. You are joyful and encouraging — those two gifts are mighty and will be used mightily! Accept them without reservation and ask God to multiply them for His glory.

    Suffering comes to all of us because we live in a fallen world… but just like having strong muscles helps us lift heavy loads … you can build your strength to handle your challenges by staying close to the Lord and exercising the muscles He has already given you. He will equip you with wisdom and discernment for there is no shortage of need.

    He also came to give YOU life abundant Lexie. And though the world may see this as tangible objects – we know it most often isn’t. It’s deep rich relationships, refreshment, unexpected witnessing of miracles in our daily life, patience, peace…. all those fruits of His Spirit. We should never grow complacent – but we should never feel guilt for the road He has led us on. I challenge you to focus on JOY and its expression over the next week and see how God uses it to reflect Himself to others and fill you up as well. And I am so proud of you for seeking His will . Xoxox

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