Deep, resonating conviction thickened the atmosphere of the room, so I sat up and dangled my legs over the edge of the bed to listen.
Immediately I knew my time on the Cord of Hope giving team was over.
Have you ever fought a battle for so long that you actually gave up fighting? Within minutes of quiet listening, God established a resolved ordinance in my guts, and showed me how tired my soul had become through 11 years of visiting clubs and leading this ministry.
"The time is now, Angel. Let it go."
"But what if..."
"What ifs are not yours to carry."
Relief came instantaneously as I thought about releasing the going, releasing the burden, releasing the chaos. And then relief gave way to conviction.
"You've been carrying such darkness in your heart and mind, Angel."
"I know. I'm so tired and I don't know how to make it all go away."
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Tears streamed down my face as the Spirit of God used his own written word to ask me to share my deepest struggles with a friend who would pray over me. I so hoped he would give me someone who would/could just fix my brokenness, but all he asked me to do was confess so she could lay hands on me and pray. Recently I read that communal confession is a forgotten discipline. We go through the motions of confessing our sin to God, but we find no freedom because we are really only confessing to ourselves. True confession and repentance brings heart change. Isolated confession always allows for an out. Communal confession allows for prayer, accountability, and true healing. In a moment, God took knowledge which had puffed up my head, and asked me to work out authentic faith through action.
Many times as a leader I find myself in conversations I would rather not have... confrontation, a call to holiness, pointing out scripture people would rather ignore, and conflict for too many reasons. It sucks actually. One of my biggest fears as a leader is pride. I regularly struggle with the "who do I think I am" question. In order to combat this fear in my leadership, I consistently ask God to purify my life, my thoughts, my heart, and my actions. I ask him to teach me to obey his word, to be my main affection, to help me delight in him above all else. At 4:00 on a Thursday morning during the week of prayer and fasting, he showed up to answer my prayers.
His kindness leads me to repentance. (Romans 2:3-5)
His law is perfect and revives my soul. (Psalm 19:7)
He strengthens me in my weariness. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
He illuminates the dark in me. (Psalm 139:11-12)
His forgiveness allows me to stand. (Psalm 130:3-4)
Friends, there are days I simply want to give up. It's all too hard. I want to go to work, come home, put on stretchy pants, turn on the tv, and zone out. But, I know deep in my bones it wouldn't lead to the full life God wants for me and my family.
May I count everything a loss compared to knowing Jesus more and more and more. May his name be lifted higher in my life every single day. May I point people to him through truth and love. When I have done everything I can to do to stand against that which seeks to destroy, may I still stand firm on Jesus, the name that is above every name.
What about you? What or who is your greatest affection? What is the evidence of your claims? What are you learning and how do you plan to put it into action and not just puff up your head?