RADIANCE RUNWAY

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Confrontation

 

God's Will 

 

Materialism

  • Blind Spots and How-Nots

    I’ve never been much good at confrontation.  I don’t want you to take that as I don’t do it, because unfortunately I find it slipping through cracks made by frustration and coming out in all the wrong ways.  Passive aggression, “the silent treatment”, sarcastic remarks, off-topic allegations amidst heated arguments… Yes, when I see wrong, confrontation happens.  Just not the way it should.

    Well, in a recent conversation, my radar was pinging and I knew something wasn’t right in a sister in Christ’s life.  She had been wondering why for a while.  I’ll call it a blind spot in the realm of sexual sin.  And she liked nothing less than others calling it out.

    I listened to her rant for a while about those in her life who claimed that they loved her who were laying ultimatums, angry, we-know-best condemnations that had her feel hated and retreating deeper into the darkness I call her blind spot.  It came from the well-meaning and “righteously indignant” who loved but had no idea how to “save a life” as The Fray would put it.

    Well, here I was.  I love her.  I was frustrated and well-meaning.  Save for the blaring “how-not-to” example as the backdrop, I would have likely done the same and lost her myself.  Then, do I say nothing?  In God’s perfect timing, the passage on the left was preached on, so I knew that I couldn’t justify that in my mind and heart, letting her walk blinded to the hurt she was leading herself to.  So, I shot up a flare player.

    It started with questions.  And a lot of listening.  How did she get to where she was and why?  It followed with affirmation.  I couldn’t affirm what I knew she was doing wrong, but I could empathize with her hurt and affirm that her feelings were real.  I bit my tongue every time the “quick fixer” inside of me wanted to come out to solve everything.

    It continued with harder questions.  I asked her to consider them really honestly because she may know what I wanted to hear, but it wasn't about me.  It was about her and the rest of her life and how it stands before God.




 

    She got that and it got real.  For a bit.  But I felt the stretch of her trying to portray that which is in darkness as light without revealing that which is dark about it.  Basically, I knew she was defending, whether to herself or to me, when I wanted her to be questioning in a way that would hopefully lead her to realizing the truth.  

    When she staked claims that she was avoiding certain sexual “no-no’s”, , I encouraged her that those were good “letter of the law” acts to be sure to avoid, but there was more she had overlooked and had missed the heart of God and his intention for sexuality.

    It was the moment that I knew that if I didn’t get real myself that I wouldn’t get through to her at all.  I swallowed my pride and shared how my past blindness to sins in this area had cost me dearly.  I came to discover that moment that I stop obeying God, he stopped revealing his will to me, basically setting on me spiritually blindness. 

    “Why?  Because if I’d already shown that I hadn’t obeyed what he's already told me, he won't reveal more because further revelation gives me more accountability and, thus, more judgment for it later.









  Therefore, when I said “no” to God's best for me by being sexually immoral in my teens, I stopped being able to "figure out" God's will for me and move forward. I literally felt cold to doing certain things I knew were right, and looking back - it's crazy - because I literally felt blinded to what now seems so obvious to me.







..   

    All that to simply say: make sure you're obeying what God has already told you so that you can keep hearing from him now.




  If you're not, there may be a lapse.




  And you might be doing a lot of the right things but still not on the right path.




” [Me, Facebook message quote from that conversation]

    It was a sigh of relief to wrap up a conversation in which I knew that God had led me into the precarious position of needing to confront but guiding me to do it his way, not mine.  I’m not sure how much she took to heart or how long it will take her to “wake up” and let Christ’s light shine on her as it says in Ephesians 5:14.  It’ll probably be a long, windy journey to the living back in the light, as it was for me, but I pray that God used me to speak the truth in love to a sister I love too much not to. 


  • One step closer

    I was at a loss, distraught, but interested.  Caught up in one of those “what do you say?” conversations.  Where “I’m sorry” isn’t enough and any advice coming to mind would just sound cliqued and insensitive. 

    She was heart-broken, confused, but determined.  She led me through all that brought her here.  Where she knew the answers but none of the “why’s” or how she’d ever make it through.

    What my mind started to pick up on through her story were moments along the way where she just said, “yes”.  They were instances of obedience: responses to tugs on her conscience, follow-throughs on promises, guidance through prayers and words of counsel.  Each of them gave her something that she didn’t have before: clarity.  Not a clear view to the finish line, but light enough for the next step ahead. 

    And so she’d stepped out, and kept going, and kept obeying, and kept going, and kept obeying, until the next step ahead she knew would cost her dearly.  It wasn’t where her “heart” led her or what her head wanted.  It lent itself to no guarantee of the future.  It sucked, honestly.

    But there was this determination in her eyes.  She knew it was a step that she had to take.  It was that faith, that even though she couldn’t see into the future, she could look over the past and realize that the same God who had worked through everything before had a plan for this one too.  It didn’t boil down to her short-term dream come true but His glory that would fulfill her too.

    There wasn’t much I could teach her.  She had already experienced that God’s will didn’t have to this mystic, evasive thing but with every step of “yes” to what was revealed before, the step to come would be revealed.  

    There are three nuggets from a psalmist inspired by God that shed some light on this…
    How can a young man [or woman] keep his [or her] way pure?
    By keeping it according to Your word.

    103 Your word is a lamp to my feet
    And a light to my path.

    130 The unfolding of Your words gives light;
    It gives understanding to the simple.”

    While it might sound simplistic, when I started to think about it, what’s the one thing that’s stayed firm throughout time and circumstances?  People’s opinions sway, people rise and fall in influence, our own hearts change, but God’s word has remained.  In taking steps of faith in the light it shines ahead, we find ourselves doing what we were created to do, and in that, find fulfillment.  There may be seasons in “the valley of the shadow of death”, but the

    So for my sweet, broken-hearted friend, it shattered some dreams of now, but opened herself up to dreams of much better later, and utter radiance amidst tears for now. 


  • Back on track

    It’s one of those mornings when stingy, puffy eyes, and stuffy nose and a headache force you to think back over the emotional and life-altering events of the evening before.  The tears from the night before had been real and the pain was still there, but reflecting back on it all, I knew that the joy I felt in my heart over it was there to stay.

    It had been a matter of injustice.  My husband, after working tirelessly, responsibly, strategically, and selflessly, was denied what was owed him to move forward.  And so shattered our dreams.  Dreams of the nice little house near the beach we could have saved for.  Dreams of the stability that came from staying in that line of work.  Dreams of the certainty of being able to plan the future rather than start from scratch again.  Our eyes had been fixed on it, my heart was set on it.  I had ached inside to see the look on my husband’s face when he gave me the news, not knowing that the look on his face was from the ache he had in disappointing me. 

    That evening on our usual walk, we had plenty we said about how unjust, hurtful, and senseless the whole ordeal was; trite to those who impugned it but devastating to us.  But in the silence of gloom that followed, I began to honestly wonder why we had wanted what we wanted, what these dreams were that we had.  Why did I want the little beachside house with a picket fence?  Is that what would matter at the end of time?  Why did I want the stability that came from the normal hum-drum way-that-everybody-else-did-it lifestyle?  Would it really have made us happy?  Were we building up treasure that would last?  The more I traced back to the origins of our dreams, I realized that they weren’t ours at all.  They were “theirs”.  They say that you’ve reached the top when (it’s always something different). They say the world’s most beautiful home (there’s never just one). They voted this year’s sexiest woman (is that ever actually agreed upon?).  I don’t even know who “they” are but it’s mysterious “they” that get us caught up in the desires and ideals that I don’t believe would land us in happiness at the end of it after all.  In the deepest parts of our hearts, I knew that we wanted something much different.  Something not contingent upon money, stability, or certainty of comfort in life.  We knew what we wanted.  We had just been listening to “them”.

    It was a long walk back to the car, too long for my husband who thought I must still be wallowing in self-pity in my mind.  But when finally we sat down, I turned to him and smiled.  “I think we just got saved from complacency…. from “the norm” for its own sake… from getting caught up chasing dreams that aren’t ours.”  And backtracking from there, we remembered what meant the most to us.  What mattered in the end.  What caused us true joy.  What contributed something to the world.  What brought God glory.  It had nothing to do with a higher salary or picket fence.  We knew it might mean more sacrifice and less of what “they” wanted.

    Where our eyes are fixed, what my heart is set on, matters when it comes to where I am going.  Jesus knew that when he gently cautioned, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.  The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.  No on can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.” 

    Are we’re not alone.  There are others who have gone before us, not listening to “them”, but fixing their eyes on “him”: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

    So that joy that’s outshining the stings of injustice and shattered dreams that has reignited our dreams for that which matters most.  Back on track, with eyes fixed and heart set.


  • Back on Track

    It’s one of those mornings when stingy, puffy eyes, and stuffy nose and a headache force you to think back over the emotional and life-altering events of the evening before.  The tears from the night before had been real and the pain was still there, but reflecting back on it all, I knew that the joy I felt in my heart over it was there to stay.

    It had been a matter of injustice.  My husband, after working tirelessly, responsibly, strategically, and selflessly, was denied what was owed him to move forward.  And so shattered our dreams.  Dreams of the nice little house near the beach we could have saved for.  Dreams of the stability that came from staying in that line of work.  Dreams of the certainty of being able to plan the future rather than start from scratch again.  Our eyes had been fixed on it, my heart was set on it.  I had ached inside to see the look on my husband’s face when he gave me the news, not knowing that the look on his face was from the ache he had in disappointing me. 

    That evening on our usual walk, we had plenty we said about how unjust, hurtful, and senseless the whole ordeal was; trite to those who impugned it but devastating to us.  But in the silence of gloom that followed, I began to honestly wonder why we had wanted what we wanted, what these dreams were that we had.  Why did I want the little beachside house with a picket fence?  Is that what would matter at the end of time?  Why did I want the stability that came from the normal hum-drum way-that-everybody-else-did-it lifestyle?  Would it really have made us happy?  Were we building up treasure that would last?  The more I traced back to the origins of our dreams, I realized that they weren’t ours at all.  They were “theirs”.  They say that you’ve reached the top when (it’s always something different). They say the world’s most beautiful home (there’s never just one). They voted this year’s sexiest woman (is that ever actually agreed upon?).  I don’t even know who “they” are but it’s mysterious “they” that get us caught up in the desires and ideals that I don’t believe would land us in happiness at the end of it after all.  In the deepest parts of our hearts, I knew that we wanted something much different.  Something not contingent upon money, stability, or certainty of comfort in life.  We knew what we wanted.  We had just been listening to “them”.

    It was a long walk back to the car, too long for my husband who thought I must still be wallowing in self-pity in my mind.  But when finally we sat down, I turned to him and smiled.  “I think we just got saved from complacency…. from “the norm” for its own sake… from getting caught up chasing dreams that aren’t ours.”  And backtracking from there, we remembered what meant the most to us.  What mattered in the end.  What caused us true joy.  What contributed something to the world.  What brought God glory.  It had nothing to do with a higher salary or picket fence.  We knew it might mean more sacrifice and less of what “they” wanted.

    Where our eyes are fixed, what my heart is set on, matters when it comes to where I am going.  Jesus knew that when he gently cautioned, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.  The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.  No on can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.” 

    Are we’re not alone.  There are others who have gone before us, not listening to “them”, but fixing their eyes on “him”: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB) 

    So that joy that’s outshining the stings of injustice and shattered dreams that has reignited our dreams for that which matters most.  Back on track, with eyes fixed and heart set.



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