A few nights ago something incredible happened. There are a handful of times in my life where I can recall the Spirit speaking almost audibly to me, and this was one of them…
I was lying in bed thinking through everything going on, not stressed, just mentally organizing my life. “God, should I focus more on this? Or that? Or the other thing? Should I spend more time with this person or put more emphasis on this responsibility? Where should I put my energy?”
Before I could get the last words out, a crisp, clear and unmistakable “Me” came as a quick and authoritative answer.
Ok, God. Wow… YES! Of course, yes, I will focus on You and put my eyes on You. Of course I will look to You first and the rest will fall in place.
I fell asleep dreaming of a utopia where I would be bolder for Jesus. The realness of this beautiful prayer had me on fire. God was bigger than everything else and His presence was tangible. I was blown away by His love for choosing and speaking to me. Starting tomorrow, things would be different. I would be more focused on Him— boldly telling of His love and praying with and for others.
Then it was morning.
I fell asleep as some sort of fearless lion, and woke up a weak sheep. Bad breath, running late and under-caffeinated, my late night prayer faded as the day’s responsibilities took the forefront.
Then, a few hours later, there I stood, checking out my groceries at HyVee. The young clerk looked physically pained.
“You ok?” I asked, worried.
“Yeah…” he shook his head as to shake whatever was bugging him off.
2 minutes later, he convulsed again.
“Seriously, bud, you ok?” I pressed.
“No,” he took a deep breath, “I have a terrible migraine and I can’t even focus.”
Pray for him.
Ask if you can pray with him, Chelsey.
Everything in me got stiff and awkward. I looked at the line behind me—everyone was visibly annoyed at how slow the line was moving. I looked in front of me, the young clerk fighting through his pain. I stepped outside of myself and assessed the situation. I knew what I should and could do. But what I didn’t want to do was stronger. I didn’t want to cause a scene. I didn’t want to look weird. What if he said “yes, please, pray with me,” And then I held up the line even longer? What if he said “no… you are strange.” I mean, there were so many possible outcomes.
Bananas. Blueberries. Bread. Three items left to scan…
“I’ll pray for you!” I exclaimed in a strange loud whisper… making it much weirder than it needed to be.
“Thanks.” A calm smile spread across his face as he told me my total, “It’s going to be ok.”
I left HyVee feeling weak and sad. What a beautiful opportunity to show Christ’s love, to step outside of my comfort zone and encourage someone… and I chickened out.
I remembered the bold person I wanted to be and compared it to who I really was. Bummer.
Avoiding talking to God about it, I called a friend who I knew would encourage me. She gave me two great tips:
- Did you actually pray for him? If not, DO IT!
- God will use this experience to prepare you for the next opportunity. Be ready.
I drove home in silence replaying the situation over and over in my head, but then I recalled Jesus’s word for me the night before. He had asked me to focus on Him. That was His call to me in this moment too—to stop beating myself up and focus again on Him, His love and His strength. Getting caught up in the shoulda, woulda, couldas wouldn’t get me anywhere, but seeking His strength and power would. I can’t be a fierce lion on my own, I NEED His strength and grace.
I won’t let this experience define me, but will take my friend’s advice and use it to prepare me for the next opportunity.
If you are like me, why do these moments freak us out so much? Why does stepping out for Jesus feel like it comes with a high social price tag? Why do I value my perception more than other’s salvation? All real questions I need to ask myself, and ask for God’s truth to break through.
In a perfect way to end this day, a friend shared this verse on Facebook:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:2
Ok, God. I hear ya.
The gospel calls us to a life that is impossible in our own strength. Sometimes we may read things or be called to things we think must be for someone else.
Sometimes we go to bed Sunday night with great plans for Monday morning: working out, doing devotions and eating a healthy breakfast, only to wake up late and leave for work without even brushing our teeth. This can spiral our whole week off track. This happens in our walks with the Lord too. When we feel like we’ve failed, it can be easy to label ourselves as week and just live in that place, instead of looking in the mirror and seeing who God sees. We must remember the same power that raised Jesus from the dead LIVES IN US! (Romans 8:11)
Here are a few verses I’m going to be meditating on this week:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a