Is there anyone you have a lot of confidence in? For example, if that person is involved, you know that things will succeed? Who is it?
A few people come to my mind, each with their own lane of strength. If my husband is involved in a project, I know that it will be done with integrity. He is a rule-follower. I admit, I am not. I have a friend who is deeply empathic. If she is involved in a project, I know for certain that the people around her will be well taken care of. There is a leader I served for a season who is secure in empowering people around him. I am confident that when he leads a project, those involved will be free to take ownership of their roles.
What about the flip side? Are you ever trusted in this way, where someone puts confidence in your involvement in something? How does it feel to be trusted?
Over the years, my most fruitful, creative, and powerful expressions of ministry and leadership were in contexts where I was trusted. The more confidence that was put in me, the better I performed. In environments of trust, I found myself spreading out wide, leaking creativity, and motivated to explore the potential of my contributions. In those environments, I was often the most surprised at the success of what was birthed. I did not know the capacity of what I was carrying until someone else put confidence in it. Trust liberates people to their potential.
Walk with me for a moment on this topic to Jesus.
Then they asked him,“What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29, NIV) / Believe (Strongs 4100) = to have faith, i.e. Credit; by implication, to entrust.
This verse is striking to me. Consider that in the same way that our confidence in a person liberates their expression, our belief in Jesus liberates the work of God in our lives. God is longing for us to trust Jesus more deeply, to throw away every other crutch and discover a whole-hearted dependence on the Person of Christ.
Do you have confidence in Jesus’ involvement in your life? Do you trust that if Jesus is involved, success is imminent?
These questions emerge from my own devotional times in recent days where Jesus is asking me to trust Him with very sensitive lanes in my own story. As He invites me into deeper trust, I am discovering again the liberty and empowerment that trust unlocks. The work of God is performed in our lives where our trust in Jesus is whole-hearted.
Friends, it is time to embrace a deeper trust in Jesus; to insist that He is on the scene with us, enjoying the confidence that breeds in our story. Make more room for Jesus in your process.
Take hold of His hand.
Let go of all others.
And, expect the best as a result!
This is the work of God.
To trust in Jesus.
The quiet has always drawn me in. I do not fear it, despise it, or resist it. Actually, I love it. In the “quiet” I find the most profound noise; sound I would otherwise never hear. The silence after a stunning performance, the stillness of water free from motion, the solitude of the deep woods – these are the places where my personal history with God was forged.
In this season of quarantine, there is an unsettling form of quiet over the land. It's eerie, it's lonely, it’s threatening, it's afraid. This unnerving “quiet” is more like a mute button than an invitation into deeper sound. It feels like a barrier, not a liberator. It is odd, quiet.
Easter is approaching.
Our world is plagued by an eerie quiet.
Churches are closed.
But, are they? What even is church? What are the sounds of Easter? If Easter has no sunrise service, performed music, parades, eggs, or gatherings, what is it? If Easter is quiet, what are we left to discover about Easter?
In the Easter Story (The Passion of Christ) there is an underscoring narrative that takes place in quiet. It is the story of Jesus and His Father co-laboring in suffering love unto redemption for the whole world. Moments of solitude, intimacy and silence lace the explosive power of the salvation story. Quiet has a role to play in Easter.
I believe that the spiritual quiet place is our invitation this Easter. The deeper narrative of Easter is inviting you and I to be washed. Those who enter into it with fresh eyes will experience waves of baptism making old things new. You and I are invited in a unique way this Easter to swallow hard on the heartbeat of this epic story, release its traditional flare, and therein find that it is intimacy with God, not an institution, that both erected and hold this timeless history. You and I are the church. Jesus is our King. Quiet intimacy with the Father is the underscore of His story, and ours. Let's dare to enter the quiet layers of Jesus' narrative - embracing - a quiet Easter.
Reflection: What are you doing on Easter? Can you carve out time for intimacy with the Father? Write down your plan.
p.s. Below is a downloadable prayer guide for Easter Morning! It is purposed to help facilitate intimacy with God as a unique celebration of Easter together. I invite you to set aside 90 minutes on Easter to join me and others in this prayer journey! More information @ ConnectUp.
Underneath the role.
Underneath the productivity.
Underneath the appearances.
Underneath the expectations.
Underneath the successes.
Underneath the failures.
Underneath the hard-earned favor.
Underneath the grace-infused space.
Underneath the ability to smooth it over.
Underneath the inability to fix a thing.
Underneath my feet.
Underneath my skin.
Underneath my broken heart.
What is underneath?
Inside of me? Inside of you? Honestly?
That is where God wants to meet with us, raw as it is. This is the essence of Immanuel; God with us. Not God stopped still at the outer layer, but God piercing into the inner layer, the inmost layer, our inmost being.
The core me. The core you. The core of us...
.. is the only authentic meeting place with God.
Until they could NOT GROW anymore
And then -
With their flowery heads and orange eyes
turned toward one another with a nod -
And the release began -
The letting go
The giving in
The freedom to be
And not reach anymore.
Decorating their earth with white
They sprinkled their surrender around
And let the scent of it float.
And that -
THE RELEASE -
Proved to be -
Their awaited glory.
My friend brought me to an apple orchard. I picked a lot of apples. I picked way too many apples. I picked so many apples that my plastic bags sagged as I fought to put them on the counter. Check out.
For two weeks my apples sat. They sat because I could not find time to sit with them. The following weekend came and I remembered them, returned to them, pulled those sagging bags of apples out because I knew ... some things are now or never.
I peeled so many apples my hands hurt. I put half of them in the crockpot overnight to make applesauce and the next morning they were burned. I put the other half in a pie shell with brown sugar and those came out perfect. How is it that sugar perfects things? Certain things.
Two bags of apples left.
Mitch and I walked the neighborhood and knocked on people's doors to offer them apples. We ended up at the table of an elderly couple that lives around the corner. They talked for a long time. They talked about appropriate things and inappropriate things; things we wanted to lean into, things we wished we could lean out of. They unloaded their stories as if our knock on their door pulled a long-standing gag out of their mouths.
In time we stood in the kitchen of our new friends and caught the tears of hearts unlocked. The right visit with the right words at the right time. They took our apples.
Where apples may lead.
I think there is something worse than burning out -
And that is being a wet log that doesn't burn at all.
Cheers to the passionate.
I like when the paved road becomes a dirt road. I like it even more when the dirt road becomes a trail. My favorite is when the trail becomes a slim clearing and then … that slim clearing disappears.
… which to some is the end of the road...
BUT … to others it is just the beginning.
I like exposed ground beneath my feet; moist dirt, bumpy pebbles, protruding roots. I like the raw, untethered land, unbroken ground, unhappening potential.
Find me on the less-beaten trail.
Find me off the trail.
Find me creating my own trail -
and there walking - long.
Getting lost on purpose is under-rated.
After all, who wants to only ever go where others have gone before?
There is a time to follow -
and there is a time to stop following -
I woke up this morning out of a bazaar dream. Sunscreen. I had a dream that I put sunscreen on my face, turned around and looked into a mirror. My reflection in the mirror revealed excessive sunscreen; blobs of caulk-like white plastered around my face. I tried to rub it in, but that only made my face increasingly pale. “I didn’t even need sunscreen!” This clear thought shot through my brain and I woke up.
One foot in front of the other I crawled out of bed. Today is my first day off in a very long time. Two months ago I accepted a full time job, a very full time job. Demands and deliverables have been driving me fast, somehow graced by my own genuine excitement and sense of purpose in the role. Busy, nonetheless, very busy.
Four large trees tower over the roof of our house and I stare at their jagged branches. The leaves on them are full - creating a canopy of shade on our deck. Shade.
The Lord watches over you. The Lord is the shade at your right hand.
The Word washes me and I hear Him, “You don’t need sunscreen, Katie. You need to respect the role of shade. Get into the shade. I am Your Shade.”
In that moment, I understand my dream:
My face – myself
Excessive sunscreen – my fear of getting burned, burned out
Mirror – a reflection of my fear
My thought – an invitation to trust God instead of self-protecting
Self-protection is a big deal. It limits my personal freedom. Trust in God to protect me in what He is calling me to is a bigger deal. It liberates my present.
Is it possible to be in full-time ministry and not burn out? I don’t mean the obvious crash, burn, and quit of external burnout. I mean the subtler, unnoticed, layers of internal burnout where people lose their personal sense of “life abundant” and “my cup overflows.”
I fear that.
The trees shake with the wind and the shade shifts.
I sense my invitation – "Don't fear the increase, Katie, trust Me, make use of the shade."
Its easy when people’s expectations are increasing, to start living in response to them, for them, because of them. In that space plaster me with sunscreen and even then I would probably do well to just hide. It is not safe. But … I believe there is a better way. Instead of self-protecting, I could up my ante on following Holy Spirit's voice. Let Him be my protector; listen, respond.
When Holy Spirit says take a Sabbath – take it.
When Holy Spirit says turn off my phone – turn it off.
When Holy Spirit says walk away from a need – walk away.
When Holy Spirit says do something for myself – do it.
I think that becoming a better follower of Holy Spirit is how we can position ourselves to steward increase in a way that supports rather than threatens our personal needs. This requires a die-hard commitment to Him as the primary leader in our lives.
After all, who is really driving us? Is it Him?
It’s a brilliant hot day in my life and I plan to enjoy it.
But the dazzling favor of man, I refuse to work to maintain.
Sunscreen is not my solution.
The Shade is.
The Lord is the shade at my right hand.
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.