Today, I jumped.
I jumped completely off the cliff.
And now, watching and waiting for the chips to fall, I must keep my wings open, trusting with every bone in my body that God is going to carry me through upon the air that He put beneath me.
The proverbial cliff that is held up, supported entirely by, the opinion of others. I flew like a champion into the air—soaring on wings like eagles. I was already soaring, though. I couldn’t keep my mind focused on work, because I kept day dreaming about being next to the One my heart loves. And being filled by His presence as I worked, though albeit slowly (and at times just stopping altogether to think about how incredible He is to us, to me).
And though I’ve been in the cave–in the side of that same cliff—hidden away for months now, I have finally once again found my way to the top. Well, I don’t know how I got there. I would be lying if I said I found my own way there.
I went on a fast several weeks ago, wanting desperately to seek Him more. To understand Him better, to listen and hear and discern His voice. My heart ached because of the lack of passion inside for Him. Passion that I once held on to so tightly and at the same time managed to find a way to express it openly, without fear, without shame and without regret.
Well, the fast in and of itself—though I admit it wasn’t much of one—ended up being actually a very painful and quite a bit of a lonely experience. Though I do believe He had already prepared me for that. He had prepared me by letting me hear of another’s story of a “failed” fast. This man had his wife drop him off at a hotel room for a week, where he sought to seek out God through fasting and prayer. He had hoped that he would come away from that experience with this momentous word from his Father. And all he got—was silence. But he learned from it. As did I.
It’s ironic / funny that I expected anything else. I should know by now that God typically warns me about things before they happen. But if I am not receptive to it, I miss it. If I decide that I am bigger, stronger, and more capable (to hear from God?) than someone else, then I have just invariably shut my heart down to the voice of God. Who am I? No one. Yes, I am God’s child. I am His daughter. But I don’t deserve to hear from Him any more than the next man. Even if I fast. Even if I tell him how desperate I am for Him to move in my life and to call me back and draw me back like His freshly newborn child that had fallen so madly head-over-heels in love with her Daddy a few short years ago.
I don’t deserve to hear from Him.
And yet, somehow I think I just wanted to hear from Him so badly I didn’t think He could be silent. I mean, after all, His daughter is desperately seeking Him, searching for Him, longing to be held close to His chest again, my arms around my Daddy like an infant clinging to His every word. And yet, the more tears poured out, the more silent it seemed He was.
My heart aching for more of Him, I begged Him to draw me back to the days were I first knew Him. The days in which I would glance out of my window on the way home, and see the weeds swaying in the wind, perfectly in tune to the praise song that was playing on my radio, and my heart would just about explode out of my chest. And when I would get home and back into my drive, I’d look across the street at the house on the corner, and watch the perfectly synchronized doves flying overhead, swooping and swaying to the rhythm on the radio and the rhythm in my heart. (I’m not making that up by the way–I had a neighbor who rented doves for weddings, etc)
I have longed for those days where I could almost either burst out crying, or let my heart burst out of my chest, or just faint—all at the amazing, glorious sight of the big, puffy white clouds overhead as I drove to work, parked in the garage, and walked down to clock in the for the day. I remember so many times wanting to stop people on the sidewalk and grab them by their arms, and look them in the eyes and exclaim to them “Do you see this?! OH isn’t it WONDERFUL!?! Do you SEE God’s amazing glory that He has revealed to us?!!!!” OH, how I wanted to shout from the rooftops of His magnificent love for mankind–for me, and for them, for you. For everyone. Majestic in their glory and faithful to reflect every ounce of His magnificence (well, granted, only every ounce that my weak human heart could handle from here on this earth.)
Did I? Hmm not exactly. But I did begin telling everyone I knew about His magnificent love. Oh, how I could not contain it! My heart broke for those that did not know it. My heart ached for those that had wandered so far away in their rebellious hearts. I wanted everyone to know this magnificent love that I had found.
And the truth of it was—I didn’t find it.
He. Found. Me.
But somewhere between the shouting from the rooftops scenes in the early stages of my Walk with Jesus, to the dark, bottomless, blackest and heart-wrecking despair of blackness that I fell into shortly thereafter, and the dry, flat, barren land that I have been trudging through since—and the caves that I have gone in at times to get out of the rain, but ended up staying for weeks—months, on end—Somewhere between the day I first gave my life to Jesus Christ and fell head over heels madly in love with Him, up until the past few weeks, I have drifted off into a land of complacency. A land of fallen timbers and fallen leaves that no longer even crunch under the feet. No—they just stick to the bottom of my shoes and I just end up tracking mud and dead foliage everywhere.
It’s not been a happy, pretty place where my heart has camped out over the past couple of years. Some of that was hiding in shame—afraid of what others would think of me when they found out about my past, before Christ, days. Other times, I stepped boldly on that ledge and took a leap to tell my story. And from there, the attack came. Nonstop, tumultuous, heavy downpours of assaults on my mind, my heart, my eyes, my speech even. I drifted away from the assault to protect myself—not realizing that I had the strength of the Armor of my Father to protect me from these attacks. I became lazy to put my armor on and I got shot multiple times with flaming darts that never stopped flaming.
Then there were times that I wanted so desperately to step out there and tell someone who was so lost and trapped in a world of pain that others had captured them in—but I felt I was not strong enough to do anything about it. So, I shut my lips and I kept my distance, afraid of making waves that I couldn’t back up—because, after all, I was weak. I wasn’t being fed anymore because I had taken so many steps back that I couldn’t even reach the table. I would see my Bible and I would say “I’m going to start again, reading it with the fervency I had in my newborn days, when I would feast upon and drink in as much as I could take of His Word.” I had been so hungry and thirsty and desperate for Him in the days of my youth in Christ.
But oh, how to get back to those days? I sought Him and I asked Him to please help me. I cried fervent tears and ached for more of Him. But He was silent. Had I ruined my chance of being effective for His Kingdom? Have I finally made Him so hurt that He would not speak to me anymore? It’s a terrifying feeling to think that God is done using you. Especially when that is all your heart desires. You would give up everything you own and abandon family, friends, and life itself just to seek Him—if He asked. At least, that’s what you tell yourself. That’s what I told myself. That’s how I think I feel. And then, the test comes during the fast. As desperate as I was for Him to reveal Himself to me and to restore me once again to the me that He once knew—I found that I was soo attached to this world and all the comforts of everyday living. I found that I really loved pizza—something I didn’t think I loved all that much before. But the temptation was so great. Though I held out, I felt like a miserable failure during that time. I learned that my body, my mind, my heart was weak. I could do absolutely nothing without Him empowering me. Something I knew, but always have this habit of forgetting somehow!?
But after that fast, He has been speaking to me. During that fast, He gave me a powerful book that was able to help me jumpstart my prayer life and let it take off in a direction I have never gone before. Brand new and exciting for me—to join forces with God Himself in His Word, praying Scripture back to Him. Over the last several weeks, I have noticed that when I neglect those prayer times with my Father, my days show it. My spirit takes a hit. My body, my mind, my heart, my words, my actions and reactions—NOTHING reflects my Father. Nothing. But, when I make it a priority to read those prayers aloud to Him, embedded with Scripture, those days I soar like on the wings of eagles.
So, today, I once again got the courage to jump once again and do something that I haven’t done before. To venture into an unknown territory. And though those fiery darts are flying all around me, buzzing and threatening to zero in on any spot that my armor is not secure—I must keep guard over my heart and my mind, and I must continue to put my Father’s armor on, time and time again—as many times as I need to. Because sometimes I end up laying a piece of it down, or forgetting the one thing that ties it altogether—prayer. Sometimes I think I am capable on my own and can stand in my own strength. But as soon as I start thinking that way, one of those fiery darts will find its way through that crack that I just allowed to open up in my armor.
Press on. Hold firmly to the faith. Throw off the weights that so easily entangle me. And run—run with endurance the race set before me. Press on to take hold of the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ. And at all times, pray, offering praise to my Father and asking for the things that I need. And most importantly, to continue to ask of Him for more of Himself. As long as I continue doing that—I feel I will be back on track. I will finally find myself soaring on wings like eagles as I wait upon my Father to guide me in the next step. Taking those leaps is scary. But, it is necessary. In order to follow the path that God has for me, in order to keep moving forward and keep from growing cold, and stagnant, I must keep moving ahead.
Let us run with endurance, friends. I don’t know what that looks like for you—but in the end, all it boils down to is simple obedience. Step by step. Day by day. Let us continue to place our foot in the next right step—but not before He says to. Let us go where He calls us, let us do what He leads us to do. And let us take those leaps of faith that are the scariest thing that we could never imagine in our own strength, because in our own strength we are not capable. But, let us take those leaps, knowing full-heartedly that He has called us for a purpose—a Divine purpose. And let us not lose heart when the fiery darts start assailing toward us.
Let us remember to put on our Armor and go into battle. Because it is not our armor—it’s our Father’s! And unlike David putting King Saul’s armor on, our Father’s armor fits us to a T. We have nothing to worry about as long as we abide in Christ, and allow Him to direct our steps and take every thought and word and action captive to the obedience of Christ.
If you are anything like me, you have let the lies overtake you for far too long. Rise up, throw off those weights that threaten to overtake you. Pray through them. Be emboldened not in your own strength, but in His. I do believe that He has answered my prayer, and is continuing to answer it, the more weeks that pass and seeing how God keeps delivering me from the lies that continually threaten to overtake me once again. I’m speaking to myself, my friend, as I write you. I’m telling myself to rise up, to keep praying those prayers that He has helped me to write out. Because every time I do, I feel His strength surge through me, emboldening me and enabling me to stand taller.
I thought I was defeated, never to rise again. But God has other plans. From what I gather, He still wants to use me. And for that, I am grateful. I am humbled, and I am honored. I want nothing in this world more than to be used by Him. I understand that some people who have met me during this dark era of my life only know and have seen the heaviness and dull ache of my life. They may not fully understand the depth and the degree to which I desire to be used by our Father in His Kingdom service, or the extent to which I see Him enabling us all to rise above the distractions and oppression of this world. But I mustn’t look toward anyone for their approval or their direction.
I cannot afford to be distracted this time. I cannot afford to make room for barren plains of dried up weeds and dirt. I don’t have time to seek out caves to hide in. I feel the urgency to follow Christ with everything I am, everything that I have. What that looks like for me entirely, I do not know. I know it is one step at a time, one minute at a time. All I know is that I have but one mission—to serve God and to serve my fellow man as Jesus has served us, by laying His life down for ours.
I urge you, friends, step out. Do you hear Him calling? Do you feel His leading? Take time to soak in His Word and take time to listen for His voice as you meditate upon the Scripture. Ask Him for direction in your life. And be bold. Be courageous. Not in your own strength, or you will fall. Do it in His. Put on His Armor and allow Him to guide you as you pray your way through Scripture.
Do whatever it is that He is calling you to do. Because in the end, it is not about us, my friend. It never has been. It is about those that are out there that do not know Him and need to see Him in action to believe. It is about those who so desperately need Jesus, but don’t have a clue where to turn or how to get to Him. It is about those that need to hear of the redemption, healing, restoration and provision of our Faithful Father—our God, Yahweh!
Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.