summer reading

Just Rise Up

This is a book I just started with The Influence Network  Book Club, and it’s written by Sarah Francis Martin. Overall, this book is about circling “our entire existence around the fame of Jesus.” It’s about living out God’s plans for our lives instead of our own, and worshiping Him “in every twist and turn..” I’m not going to go into a full summary, but to learn more about this book click here.

In the past couple years it’s been really difficult for me to get into reading any book. I’ll start and finish all in the same chapter (usually ch. 1), and that’s if I get past the introduction. Last night (Friday) I completed the introduction to Just RISE UP! and wow.. I can tell this is not just a book with good “words and motivational phrases that look good on paper”, this is a journey that intends to draw readers closer to the Lord, Jesus – exactly what I need.

SO, I’m going to start this journey and I have a strong feeling it will be a good one. One that may change the way I do things and help plunge me deeper into Christ.

What I really like about this book is it features journaling prompts throughout – how fun. Will definitely be doing these and sharing them with you here. I expect some of them to get really deep – even the first one (see below) in the introduction is pretty involved.. I can only imagine how the others will be. That being said I’ll try to keep it as transparent here as I do in my private journal, if there’s a roadblock I’ll let you know.

HERE WE GO

As noted, the intro is powerful. As Iay across my bed last night, book in hand, I ran into this statement:

“You may even be tempted to give this book away to someone else…someone who hasn’t disappointed Jesus in the past or made a royal mess of what He has given her.”

As tears rolled down my face, I broke down – right there in the middle of the page. Some years back I made a terrible decision. I was walking hand-in-hand with the Almighty and decided to let go. Well.. Let’s back up a bit. You don’t even know me.


The Details…

I’ve always been a pretty risk-ay person. A bit of a rebel if you will. You know, the peanut butter without jelly, walking across the street without looking both ways (because my hearing’s ah-may-zing), socks with flip flops, french fries with my frosty, kind of girl. No seriously, I’ve always made decisions mostly based on what I thought was right. Even if I know the decision may lead to negative consequence – as many of them have – I’d outweigh just how difficult that consequence may be. And hey, If I thought I could handle it, I’d go for it.

Not the smartest thing. My consequences were always high level, like getting caught by the police, having a terminal illness, destroying a relationship, death, you know the big stuff.

I know that making our own decisions is what we’re supposed to do. But we’re supposed to make wise decisions. Decisions that don’t put our lives, our family, our relationship with GOD, in danger, but rather protects them. Needless to say, back in the day, I didn’t care. I was young.and.dumb. Careless.and.messy.  And I’m still paying for it today..


Now that you have that insight… I made a horrible decision a few years back and it has sense greatly affected my relationship with God. So when I saw this quote, it hit me again. As it has many times before. Reminding me that I feel like a complete and utter disappointment to Jesus. Like I just spit in His face. He told me “No, don’t go”, “No, don’t do it” but I thought that I knew what was right. Boy did I get jacked up. All in all It proved that I didn’t truly trust God, and while I know He has forgiven me, I can’t seem to forgive myself.  Even 4 years later, I still feel like a big disappointment.

But the author didn’t leave me wallowing in my mess. In the very next lines she takes the opportunity to identify with the feeling of being imperfect, and then says,

“We can take hold of the courage and the authority to RISE UP only because Jesus did first. He made the divine choice to take on our sins at the cross of Calvary, and He rose and defeated death [and sin] three days later. The door is now wide-open for us to fulfill this God-given desire to worship and make much of Jesus and thus spill our worship into every square inch of our life.” (emphasis added)

And here another light bulb went off.

My constant concern about being a disappointment to God, to myself, to life, has caused me to forget to praise God from the depths of my heart. My defeats have been holding me back from accomplishing all God has planned for me.  Proverbs 24:16 comes to mind, “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again..”  I have become so caught up in being perfect, in providing my own salvation (because that’s what salvation through works is) that I lost sight of God’s Amazing Grace.

Jesus rose from the grave to recover all that I lost on that night 3 years ago. He rose from the grave to deliver me from self-bondage. I’ve been held hostage by my own mistakes and my thoughts towards them.

Resolution

So today I want to start seeking Christ perfection, instead of my own. I want His Grace, His Mercy, to cover me. I pray for strength to do this, because it’s  c o m p l e t e l y  outside of my personality. But without letting go of who I am at this very moment, I cannot grab hold of Christ, the King of Glory.

JOURNAL THOUGHTS

Q: “If I have the desire to RISE UP! what is my true motivation?”

  • I do have the desire to rise up, but I’m struggling with my source of motivation. Maybe it’s all the moments of failure, or my struggle with faith that encourages me to do better. Perhaps it’s the intimacy I’ve had with God and the joy of others sharing the same experiences. It could even be the call that He has given to each an every believer in Matthew 28 that by His Spirit I feel compelled to answer. Or maybe it’s all of these things wrapped up into one that really motivates me. It’s really hard for me to pinpoint just one motivating factor. Each of these things makes me want  to RISE UP!  and proclaim His Name.

Q: “In what areas of my life should I not rely on myself and, instead, trust God?”

  • After hitting rock bottom a couple times, I should be jumping at this question. The best and most accurate answer would be in all things:

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding..” (Proverbs 3:5 AMP, emphasis added).

But let’s get specific.

  • The biggest, and most important – Everyday decision making. It’s not hard for me to trust God with the mountains, it’s the molehills that knock me off my feet. Sometimes it’s the smallest challenges that cause me to slip and fall into confusion, frustration, and faithlessness. How I respond in stressful situations, my attitude towards my husband, thinking before speaking, not over-analyzing every little thing, my constant struggle with time management, unfulfilled promises, disorganization and mis-prioritizing, and the list goes on. It’s these little things that cause a big impact on everyday life.

Well that wraps up this session, and gives me plenty to think about.

♥later

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