January 15, 2014

Giving Up, In Order to Gain.

Life is interesting in a way that it takes twists and turns that you never expected. How different seasons of life change you in ways that you never thought they would. Life is this vast collection of experiences and moments made up with people and circumstances. The older I get the more reflective I get as well. The more I re evaluate what is working and not working in my life. The more I ask God, "Where do you have me?" or "What is your will in this season?"

Did you catch that? In this season?
There was a long period of years in my life when I thought that what God called me to back when I was in my early teens and twenties was what my life would be and look like for the rest of my life. 

Not to say that it doesn't always look like that for some. I think it just depends on where you're at in your own faith journey. Everyone has different conversations with God, yours are probably very different than mine. And then again they just might be the same depending on what we're talking about. 

For a long time I didn't want anything to change. I felt the stirring in my heart, I felt God calling me to move on from certain areas of my life. And you know what? I couldn't let them go. Even though I knew that he was leading me in that direction, even though I knew that it would be a time for growth I didn't want to let them go. 

And when we feel God calling us in any area and we don't act in obedience, that result is direct disobedience. And what can God do in my life when I am choosing not to follow him even in the smallest areas? Simple answer, not a whole lot.
I end up doing things in my own strength, without God. And that's not who he's called me to be. In my flesh it's hard to give things up that I want, or that I hold dear for some reason. The last six months I felt that stirring. I felt God telling me, "Andrea, you need to let this go, in order to see what I really have for you." 

"You are not defined by this, you are defined by me."

You may not know, but for the last seven years I've been a licensed minister. I have a certificate that shows that I'm a legit licensed Pastor. I felt God call me to ministry when I was a teen, and for a long time I ran from a ministry calling out of fear. In college I finally accepted that call on my life and took steps in my education to complete a degree and gain my ministers license. I've been licensed ever since. 

I had dreams of being a pastor in a local church and doing ministry with my husband. And for a while we were doing just that. Over time our circumstances have changed and God has us in a different place. 

I kept my credentials for a long time, renewing them every year because I thought God would bring us into full time ministry. When that didn't happen the way I thought it should I'll be honest and tell you that I was frustrated and confused. 

After a while my ministers license became a sore point for me. When people would ask me about it, when I would see it (the paper) sitting framed in a box. And then it became this sort of validation for me. A validation for my faith, a validation for people, a symbol of status in a way. It was everything to me that it shouldn't be. 

And that's when I felt God saying let it go. That's when I realized that it doesn't and shouldn't define me or my faith. Is that to say that I'll never be licensed again? I don't know, I don't know what plans God has for me in that area. 

What I do know is that I'm walking in obedience right now, where he's leading me. I'm giving up in order to gain....

Perspective.

A piece of my relationship with Christ back, that I let get clouded for to long. 

And letting God fill those voids in my heart that are left there from disappointed over the issue of not being in full time ministry. The reality is that I need to get back to the heart of ministering to people weather or not I have a piece of paper next to my name that says "I can." And do it because it's my heart, and that's what God's called me to first.

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