Wednesday, June 6

the safe zone



"Most often, God calls us to more than what we were offering."

This loosely quoted statement comes from the pastor at an old church of mine. I watch his sermons often because I met him a few times, and I just think he's a phenomenal example of a Christ-filled man. He's honest and open, makes adult jokes, reads many different genres of books and listens to different genres of music, and has faced a lot of hard spots in his life. God is surely using him to help many, many people.

And his statement is so true. A couple of years ago when I decided I wanted to live out God's will for my life, I thought there might be a few twists and turns in the book, and I might struggle a tad bit, but I knew I'd be doing what He wanted, so He'd figure it out. Right?

Then, jump forward only a few months, and I'm finding myself in all kinds of circumstances that make me question God and what He's really doing. Throw in some bouts with fear, doubt, and mistrust and you're meeting me on my journey. Sure, there have been many joyful moments that I can't help but thank Him for rounding me up and bringing me back to Him, but there's a narrow zone--called the God zone--and it is so easy to slip right out of that zone, leaving you to question all kinds of God's requests.

If you've ever met my dogs, you'll know they weren't exactly placed in obedience training. They're teeny so they can't do much harm, but they're basically little teenagers running around, attempting to defy my every request of them. One can "dance pretty" and the other can "smile" for treats, but let's face it, where will that ever get them in the real world?

If I had ever trained them to stay in the "safe zone" they'd have less spankings from "oopsies" on the floor, less nose taps for barking violently at the neighbor, and less boots in the rear when they run into traffic. It would be much easier for them to stay in that safe zone if I had taught them where that is.

And it's the same on this walk with God. I'm stubborn and I stray, so some days He just has to pull the reigns a little tighter and remind me that if I stay in His safe zone, I'll be okay. If I believe in Him and His word, I'll have an easier time staying in His will, where He wants me to be.

And this journey isn't all about obedience, people. Yes, we're asked to be "obedient" to God--but I loathe that word. Obedience, in our society, has turned into power, guilt, slavery, and unhappiness. When God said 'obedient' He meant, "HEY YOU, I'll help you know how to live and live joyfully if you'll just listen to me. I'm not askin' you to be a bored robot, but to be a child of God with a life full of promises." Don't let the man-version of obedience lead your heart to believe that God is angry, controlling, or mean; He's a lover and a teacher.

Sure, I'm ready to give up on people. I'm ready to throw in the towel. I'm ready to say that there's better. But what I'm not ready to do is give up on God. I am not ready to say that He cannot or will not fix and heal everything in my life. I am not ready to step out of this safe zone and try it on my own. Remember what I've said about heaven? Remember how I've learned that it's parties and celebrations, food and wine, music and laughter? Yeah, it's that and a lot more love than we experience here on earth. Heaven is everything we've ever wanted. So, while on earth, I'm going to seek that safe zone and trust in God, because I need help in my life. He's promised me the best life I can imagine, so I'll let Him guide me in this one right now.

Don't give up on a God that made you, loves you, and wants you. He did not make a mistake in making you, so don't make a mistake and throw that away.

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