Your Burning Bush

Ever feel like God is calling out to you, in the middle of your daily life? 

I don’t mean on like the David Koresh level y’all (I have been catching up on the new mini-series Waco obviously) But in a way that only you would recognize? Maybe to get your attention or to remind you that you are noticed?

I was thinking on this as I read through Exodus 3 and 4 this week. Granted Moses got a burning bush and that would be pretty hard to miss, but it was done in the midst of Moses’ daily work. He was in the back of the desert, tending to his father-in-law’s flock of sheep. He wasn’t just in the middle of a desert, he was at the back of it. Doing the day in and day out of work, laboring for his family when God met him there.

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But Moses had to take notice first. I love how intentional Scripture is in pointing this out, that Moses stated he would turn aside and see this great sight. He was able to take notice of God revealing Himself to him. But it came at a time that was pretty mundane-doing his work in the field, 40 years into his stay in Midian as an alien resident. He’d fled there as I wrote about earlier.

God is so intentional with us if we are willing and open to hear Him, to seek Him even in the desert, even in our every day lives. The things which we think are mundane? Well He will use us for. I often hear people talk about wanting their “burning bush” moments with God, where He acts in these large ways…but that moment was Moses taking notice of God in the middle of his day, doing his work as he had done for years upon years.

How do we take notice of God speaking to us in specific ways about what He would have us do? How do open our eyes, our hearts, our ears to Him speaking in our day-to-day lives? As we tend our own flocks? As we live out years upon years in a foreign land? As we find ourselves at the back of a desert?

He calls to us when we take notice of Him, His pursuit, His work in and through our lives. We have to be willing to turn aside and see the great sight of Him appearing to us in each moment, day, and way.

Where is it that God has lit a bush on fire specifically for you? Have you missed it? Would you turn aside to see it?

From a Resident of Midian

I acted rashly. Out of emotion. Feeling that I was right and seeking to address the injustice rather than my own feelings. I was in what you would call a personal crisis, reflecting on something that had been stewing under the surface for a while but unwilling to address it head on. Until it came bubbling up in a single moment.

So now I find myself here. In this wilderness land. In a desert of my own making as I fled the consequences of my own sin. Of my rashness of judgement and severity of words. Of emotions and feelings that I allowed to be the controller of my thoughts and life. I didn’t realize how well I’d gotten at running until I took off outside the borders and the walls that I thought were trapping me in. That were attempting to confine me, rather than define the work I would be doing to bust them down.

I ran until I felt I was furthest away from the situations, the people, my emotions and sin, and the consequences of my words. Here I am at a well. In my moment of flight, in seeking to not be known for what has been done by me and to me, I find myself thirsting to be known. Thirsting for water that can wash over what I have dirtied. What others have cast upon me too. Not for just a moment’s satisfaction of quenching this thirst, like I felt my actions were…like my emotions led me to believe would satisfy the thirst for justice.

This desert has left me desperate for water that can only come from a well found in Him. Found in my desperate attempt to cling to everything but Him. To flee and hide, only to be found content in my desperate need for only Him. I came with nothing, only myself, and that’s all He has wanted of me from the beginning-just me. Now I am an alien in a foreign land, feeling as if I don’t belong and yet knowing to be content in exactly that. That wilderness is preparing me for the next season, the next step. Preparing my heart and my mind, quieting the voices of doubt and lies and letting me hear Him speak deeply to me.

I don’t know how long He would have me be here, in this land of Midian, but I know it’s not for me to question why I am here but to only present myself over to what He would have me see, prepare for, work out and understand…to be silent and content before Him alone. He meets me here, in the place of Midian. In the daily. To live out my life in pursuit of a desperate need for Him and not myself, not others, not my plan, my emotions, or my sense of justice.

Current Midianite

 

 

 

A Lesson from Shop Class

In middle school, if you weren’t in chorus or band, you were required to take the other electives through a rotation every six weeks. Those of us less musically inclined would navigate through computer class, art class, music appreciation (where I learned All Along the Watchtower, thank you music teacher!), study hall and shop class. The shop instructor was one that had been around since my dad had roamed those halls. As much as I hated the way he talked down to me as the only girl who opted to stay in the class (I am nothing if not stubborn), I am grateful for what I learned in those six weeks every year in rotation.

Our 8th grade year found us drawing up blue prints, designing our own model homes. I don’t know about you all, but that’s something as a homeowner I can go back to as pivotal knowledge on square feet, dimensions and reading schematics for homes. In putting them together as a 13 year old though was quite the mess. As mildly OCD, eraser lines on blueprint paper drove me insane as I reworked the layout and design of my home project. By the end I had a mess on my hands between the drawings and cutting of foam board to mock up my design.

house-blue-printOur teacher kept after me though in the design and final mock-up because he knew I would be able to see it through to the end result, based upon the early design I had shared. There were cuts here, there…eraser lines to rework the staircase and door sizings. Ultimately I can remember presenting my final, completed project with some reservation as I noticed the flaws from mess. But he took note of the aspects I had not given a second thought to at the time-sticking with the design I had originally desired to construct regardless of the challenges I faced in the midst. We weren’t given specifics, only general instructions. Therefore I had to fill in with my design and control, putting myself into the design and giving it my stamp of ownership.

Joshua has a similar task before him, as Moses has passed and God looks to him to lead the way into the Promised Land. It’s there, the promise of deliverance before them, yet Joshua now has the lead. They are a mess, journeying 40 years in the wilderness, complaining, idolizing, doubting, questioning. Joshua could’ve easily said “Thanks God, but I think someone else can do this better.”

He could have settled for less than what God wanted because of the mess. But he didn’t. In the course of nine verses, God reiterates the strength and courage Joshua must have in this role. He had been a part of the first party out to see the new land, only to be overshadowed by the fear and doubts of the people. He had seen what they’d face. He knew the plans and promises.

Joshua knew in order to get to the promise fulfilled the mess would need to be faced. It would need to be journey through and not around. God was breathing His truth into Joshua, a promise of courage and strength in the journey ahead to see a plan fulfilled. There would be eraser marks. There would be cutting, trimming and pieces needing redesigned.

As much as I want clear instructions on the plan ahead, with His word before me and His Spirit with me I have to live into courage and strength to complete the plan set by God, just as Joshua did.

Will it be messy? Absolutely. Will I understand it all? Most assuredly not. But instead of me trying to fill in the gaps of the story, of the mess and the journey, I want to be present with Him in obedience to what He has given.

He has given me this, right now. He has told me to be strong and courageous in the blueprint where I only see one millimeter of a corner that He has designed for my life. So I put down my own pencil, and ask to be the implement for His story to be crafted in and through. To be of use to Him and not through my own hand. Knowing it is messy, knowing there will be things trimmed away, but fully believing the final product will be well worth the sacrifice of self.

Fear, Webs and Moses

Never let fear keep you from pursuing hard after a God promise, a calling to your heart by God.

Y’all I say those words. I roll them over in my head and my heart. And then I find any excuse not to pursue a calling.

I meddle in distractions, search out ways to run, and call it “good for me in the moment.” I wonder out and climb down, I hide behind a camera lens and even a blank screen just to not live out what God is pushing me wholeheartedly into, simply out of fear.

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It’s the whispers of a failed friendship after seven years, the residue of single life, the doubt of comparison and screams of “it’s already been done, better.” Fear can grip us in the dead of night or the middle of the day. It can creep in or shout at us. It catches us in a web that sprung up overnight, unawares. It cocoons us, as we lay silent, dormant, giving over who we are to fear.

I let it. I choose it. I camp out in pajamas, full of stubbornness and turn to someone else’s writing to say “I’m not enough,” in a vapid attempt to shirk off this responsibility. I point to my voice, my experiences, my history and my present to say “Someone else please” to God. Just like with Moses, He says “No, it’s you I am seeking for this.”

Funny how I have been here before, but I don’t mark this place. I don’t set out a memoriam to the war I have with fear and with God. I don’t want to remember the removal of shoes because the holy ground He meets me at, finding me in the fear and pulling it all away. Instead I point to past stories, of my inadequacies…all excuses. He listens with such patience, only to say once more “You are who I have called for such a time as this, for such a journey.” It wells up inside of me, until fear is no longer present. It’s not marked by my story, but His. It’s not reminding me of who I am, but Who He is. It’s not about where I find myself now, but where He has already been.

So fear greets me, but God envelops me. He says no more to the excuses, no more to the disobedient heart, and no more to the distraction of life. He says “You are designed for this” and in my weakness, He is my strength. To open my heart, to speak words He gives and to be what He has called me to be.

Obedient.

Blessings of Friends

I wanted to share that I am over on Journey On today sharing on a passage in Numbers with regards to healthy relationships. I hope you’ll take the time to read the devotion and think about the passage.

It meant so much to me to write this one as I value friendships highly, the people God has placed in my life are so rich with joy, passion, care and love. I know the ones I have in my life at this very moment He has ordained to be blessed, and I get the honor of praying blessings over them. It made me realize just how much friendships matter and how we can be more than to our friends.

How we encourage, support and bless our friends matters…it speaks to Who He is in the midst of it all.

Also I encourage you to read through this week’s devotions on the site and invite you to walk through this study of healthy relationships, as it’s been an eye-opening and soul-gutting look at what healthy is defined as in light of God’s Word.

Stomach Bugs, the Wilderness, and His Presence

Recently my nephews both were on the sick bed with the stomach bug circulating around. One of them reacted a bit differently to the suffering by writhing around and wailing, “Why me Lord? WHY?!” (I have no idea where he gets the dramatics from, none whatsoever)

It got me thinking that I often (non-verbally) have the same reaction to anything that makes me uncomfortable, shifts my plans, or that just isn’t what I had in mind.

If I am really honest, I look alot more like the Israelites that Moses was consistently frustrated by in the wilderness than I do Moses up on the mountain with God.

God’s feeling far from me? I make work, friends, my plans idols instead. I do my own thing and point to His absence of presence in my life. (Which is NEVER the actual truth)

God’s not providing what I want? I complain about thirst or bread that I didn’t do anything to deserve and say it was better to have been a slave than where I currently find myself, which is with Him.

God has given me opportunity after opportunity and now He’s allowing my choice, my stubbornness to take me on without Him? Oh then, that’s when I say “You wait just a minute. I am not going anywhere without Your Presence.” While I believe that He’s going to rubber stamp my plans, my way of doing things.

As much as I want to judge the Israelites for their moaning, complaining and stiff-neckedness I find that especially when God says “Well have it your way then. I’m not in this,” is when I want His Presence. When He says He will not go with me into this is when I yearn all the more for Him.

Something I forget is that He is always with me, and will never depart from me. He won’t be okay with the choices I make without His counsel and guiding, He won’t approve that in my life, no matter how much I try to manipulate Him or the circumstances. Even in the midst of the wilderness, when I am given nothing but provision from Him, protection by Him and guidance in my journey I want to do it my way, managing His will for my life.

It’s in those tension points where I must find humility, seeking not my own but His. Knowing His Presence, Provision and Providence come before any of my desires for my own way. It’s difficult, that I won’t try to deny. It’s relinquishing control, of “I know better” and allowing His sovereignty to govern my life again and again.

I like to think that once I have addressed this, it won’t happen again. One and done. But just like those stomach bugs my nephews were battling recently, it circulates back around at some point. It’s moments of refining, discovering and understanding more of Who He is and being less of who I was.

A Small Detail: Noticing God

I love details of a story. It’s something I have always been fascinated with, and often find myself giving details that probably no one else but me seems to care about. With the exception of a couple of friends. One in particular shares such detailed stories that I often pray they’ll turn them into a book someday. I become just entranced by the way they lay out the scene, develop the story and provide such context for the person who wasn’t there.

In my daily life though?

Well I tend to get bogged down in the details. I find myself in the weeds of the minutiae day in and day out to the point where I get frustrated and frazzled. I miss moments and find myself becoming a person I am none too happy with by day’s end.

I wonder if Moses was having one of those days, out in the desert, doing his job tending a flock on the far side of the wilderness nonetheless. He’s probably thinking about the new lamb born, where he’ll need to set up for the night, wondering if there are far worse things than the wilderness with just a flock of sheep to keep him company.

Then it happens.

He spots a bush on fire. It’s on fire but not being consumed. I like to think here Moses and I are alike, he says out loud that he should go see this sight up close. Yeah, get closer to that fire that’s unexplainable. That’s such a me thing to do.

It’s not until God sees that Moses notices and turns towards it that He speaks.

This week a friend pointed this out in a devotional I was reading. This small detail has me enamored with Moses right now. Because it showed the very real presence of God noticing us. God showing up, showing up big, but waiting for Moses to turn towards His sign, His call before He speaks. He longs to be noticed by us. He delights in sharing His words with us, if we but turn towards His sight.

He promises He is with us, giving us Immanuel in the flesh, putting His spirit within us. Yet we miss Him too often because we aren’t noticing. We aren’t turning to look. This detail of our lives is so important y’all that I am just in awe of how He desires us to notice.

It’s a turning from our own self-talk, pride, regret, hurt, anger, busyness, worry, lust, infatuation to simply notice God calling to our lives. Not only that but when we turn to notice, He speaks. He speaks, to us! He gives us words as we approach Him, we approach that moment, that place. Removing our shoes because this is holy. It’s what He wants to have with us, each and every moment of the day. He wants us to not miss His call for our lives, His designation of goodness for us, specific and fulfilling.

Instead we get wrapped up in a to-do list, a time constraint, our calendars, our expectations of our lives, and our assumptions of others. We miss it because we don’t notice. Alot of things turn our heads and our attention spans these days, I pray that I would be of the noticing lot. The ones who look like Moses in this instance, where we meet God at holy ground, hearing Him speak, desiring to be a part of the unexplainable He enacts in lives. I pray that’s you too.

That we be noticers of God, hearers of His speaking, and worshippers on holy ground of His truth.