Monday, March 31, 2014

"She said 'YES!'" and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.
Some things to know:
1.  It's important to take some time to visit a friend.  If you decide to link up a post that reflects your heart, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
2.  We are a safe place to be real.  I deeply cherish your involvement in the community.  Consider answering the question from "Let's get real" at the bottom of the post in the comments section.
3.  Please be sure to check out our Woven with Love auction item at the end of the post! We are raising scholarship funds for the 3rd Annual SDG RetreatMore than Conquerors.
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God loves spring, I think.  For all the obvious reasons - rebirth, renewal, weeds uprooted, etc…  And for another reason, too...

I think when God sees me head out the back door, gardening gloves, trowel, and pruning shears in hand, He must say something like this:

"Finally, she's going to get what I've been trying to teach her this whole winter!"

It happened today.  I'm ready to clean house, prune the bushes, dig deep and remove the most deeply entrenched weeds.  In essence, today in my garden, I answered last week's question:

Would you like to get well?  

Yes.

Yes, I would like to give up my crutch of worldly approval. I would like to smash the Love Idol for good.  I would like to fully believe that it's Your opinion that counts and you've already marked me as Pre-Approved.

In the garden today, I was attempting to tame my unruly jasmine.  She's grown so large she has caused the two Silverado Sages stationed in front of her to grow out instead of up.  She's literally pushed them over so they couldn't grow tall.  She morphed almost every branch of their being because of her largeness.  She blocked them from the fullness of the light they needed to grow.
It's not a pretty picture, but Love Idols aren't really pretty, are they?
"You are the sage bush, Jen.  The Jasmine is the Love Idol.  She morphs you, she alters your growth, she twists you in ways you were not designed to bend.  She keeps you from the fullness of My Light.  Would you like to get well, Jen?"

I haven't decided what to do about the Jasmine, if I'm going to uproot her out of my garden, but I have decided the fate of my Love Idol.

She's gonna get evicted.

I'm tired, you see.  I'm tired of trying to be both what God wants me to be and I want me to be. In some ways they are compatible and other ways, so not.  I think the reason I can say "yes" today to this question and could not before, not in the true core of my being yes, is because I didn't how to distinguish between a God prompting and a self-prompting.  Scratch that.  I could, but I wasn't willing to solely live my life by the God prompts.  It was a risk I wasn't ready to take.

So, what does it look like for me to smash the Love Idol, to uproot her and fully remove all that has entangled me for so long?  The picture isn't compete -- "the cure is the process," as Jennifer Dukes Lee writes in her introduction to Love Idol (pg. xxii).  The jasmine has grown for many years in my backyard.  How much longer has this love idol grown?  Decades. 
Click here to order


I've asked God to show me some tangible things that will help me press more deeply into Him and tune out the roar of applause I've so longed for from the world.
  • Check my spirit and check it often.  If I really want God's help in creating margin in my life, I have to let Him decide what activities will comprise my day.  When something feels like a should or an ought to, it's time to evaluate why I am doing it.  If I realize it's related to worldly applause or approval, I must make the choice to walk away or put it down.
  • Lay down "people watching."  When I begin to feel envious of what other people have or what they are doing, I need to repent and then thank God for what He has given me.  Just this morning, I had this revelation:  "Envy is telling God that what He has given me is not good enough."  Ouch.
  • Choose to do things I love even when things on "To Do" list remain unchecked.  There is nourishment found in those activities that help me gain perspective, refreshment, and joy.
  • Get over my own ideas of when I should be "recovered." I often get frustrated with myself when I can't seem to bounce back from intense times of ministry (and/or parenting).  If I am not recovered, if I am still tired, guess what?  I can still rest.  I can take more time.  Who made me an expert on time frames for anything? No one.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve said "yes" to the world.  In my garden, I am saying "yes" to God.  I've lived in the world and for the world and it's just not all it's cracked up to be.  In fact, it's cracked me.

But this "yes" to Jesus is my first step to recovery.  I may look different when He's put me back together, but that's okay.  After being touched by Jesus, I should look different.  And that's a good should.

Let's Get Real: Do you see inconsistencies between what God wants you to be and what you want you to be?  What are the risks of giving up those things that press you deeper into the world?

Linking with Amy for #RiskRejection on Thursday.
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Time for a bit of fundraising for the 3rd Annual Soli Deo Gloria Retreat!  Last week was such a success!  Thank you, Jenny N., for bidding and winning! This week's offering is from Cheryl:
A note about the auction's set-up:  Because I know every one's budgets are different, I wanted everyone to be able to have a scarf and not lose because she was always outbid, hence the pledging.  Because we all deserve some tangible love around our shoulders, right?

How to participate in this silent auction:
1.  Click on "Place your bid." in the Rafflecopter widget below.
2.  Fill in the blank with the maximum you are willing to pay for this scarf, knowing ALL monies are going directly to the SDG Retreat.
3.  I'd be honored if you'd share this giveaway with your friends.  Not only is it a fundraiser, but I'd love for women to be physically covered by her sister's art!
4.  Saturday, Rafflecopter will choose a winner and I will announce it at next week's SDG party.  Check or credit card will be accepted (I'm working on the credit card option. Stay tuned!) for payment and the scarf maker will mail the scarf to the winner after I have received the payment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Time to link up, sweet sisters! Show us your heart and then visit a friend...

16 comments :

  1. Hi Jen,
    Your paragraph about giving yourself the time you need to recover hit me...Yes....I learn again and again about how I need to respect how God wired me and to be okay with how long it takes me to recover physically and emotionally...of course, because I am impatient, I always want to recover faster...oh, for Grace :) Thanks for hosting and for always keeping it real :)

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  2. Jen I will echo Dolly....we need to be more realistic (grace-filled) with ourselves about the 'shoulds.' My post today was (again) about noticing the flesh in me that wants people approval--and gee, I should be so much further along in my walk with Jesus. But I'm not.
    Great post!

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  3. Yes, I definitely see inconsistencies between what God wants me to be and how I see myself. A lot of it may be attributed to my fear of wanting more tangible signs of security, whereas God wants me to just trust him even with the unseen. I'm not there yet, but I do feel like I'm growing in the right direction anyway so that's a plus. :)

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  4. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I'm both encouraged and convicted. I appreciate the practical ways mentioned that can help us press more deeply into Him.

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  5. Hi friend!! I love this post! I'm not saying you need to go to my place, but yours & mine are definitely sisters this week;) You mentioned uprooting in the garden. I like the analogy because in moving overseas well nearly all the good things are pulled out & yet the weeds & heart's overgrowth remains. You get to see what a mess it all is...what a mess I am. It is an achingly beautiful gift. You are following a call so it's with fear and trembling you re-plant anything...the mess can be so discouraging and you feel like a failure. Yet you learn to live the beauty that can never alter...the sun & rain of God & the truth that you are his ground...his garden to display Himself in the world. You gain perspective & freedom as he stirs your heart to re-plant one by one...

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  6. Hi friend!! I love this post! I'm not saying you need to go to my place, but yours & mine are definitely sisters this week;) You mentioned uprooting in the garden. I like the analogy because in moving overseas well nearly all the good things are pulled out & yet the weeds & heart's overgrowth remains. You get to see what a mess it all is...what a mess I am. It is an achingly beautiful gift. You are following a call so it's with fear and trembling you re-plant anything...the mess can be so discouraging and you feel like a failure. Yet you learn to live the beauty that can never alter...the sun & rain of God & the truth that you are his ground...his garden to display Himself in the world. You gain perspective & freedom as he stirs your heart to re-plant one by one...

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. Hi friend!! I love this post! I'm not saying you need to go to my place, but yours & mine are definitely sisters this week;) You mentioned uprooting in the garden. I like the analogy because in moving overseas well nearly all the good things are pulled out & yet the weeds & heart's overgrowth remains. You get to see what a mess it all is...what a mess I am. It is an achingly beautiful gift. You are following a call so it's with fear and trembling you re-plant anything...the mess can be so discouraging and you feel like a failure. Yet you learn to live the beauty that can never alter...the sun & rain of God & the truth that you are his ground...his garden to display Himself in the world. You gain perspective & freedom as he stirs your heart to re-plant one by one...

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  9. Beautiful post, Jen! I have been amazed in reading through the Gospels lately, just how many times Jesus asked, "Do you want to be made well?" I have wondered if anyone would have said, "No. Yet the truth remains in our hearts we truly do hold onto our idols for comfort, for the familiar. At times, we are unsure just what being made well will entail. Being well in and through Jesus is what we truly are in need of. It is only through Him we grow in the way we have been designed. It is then we reach our full potential and bring Him glory.
    This post made me long to get outside and garden and see what lessons He has for me out there :) I am so grateful to not only have read Love Idol but to gone through the journey with you. May we keep laying those idols down & taking the risk with Him. He is so worth it! Blessings!

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  10. So much wonderful truth here. Your courage is inspiring! I learned a few years ago about recovery - I always thought I had to be back together yesterday. When I read the Hobbit - I noticed that every great challenge is followed by a period of spiritual, physical and emotional refreshing - allow yourself this time. When it's over, you'll be more than ready for what God has for you next!

    BTW - Your jasmine sounds like a teenager - I'm going to throw a challenge your way - treat it like you would if it were your teen. I bet you will find the perfect solution.

    Wishing you blessing and joy this week:)
    ~Maryleigh

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  11. Man Jen, I will follow all your bullet points too. I think you were talking right to me this morning. Thanks for sharing this and may spring growth come to all of us!

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  12. Yes, yes, yes. If there weren't all these other comments before mine, I'd have thought you wrote this post for me. :) So proud of you for embracing this life God has called you to.

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  13. Jen~Don't you just love it when God uses such a visible lesson in our everyday life to get across a much deeper (pardon the pun) lesson? I know I do--especially when it's in the garden. I enjoy finding God in the garden or in His creation. I need to get outside more!!!

    To your readers-- Over at my place, I'm GIVING AWAY one of Jennifer Dukes Lee's book, "Love Idol." Be sure to stop by and leave a comment so that you may have a chance at winning a copy of Jennifer's book http://heartfilledmoments.com/http://heartfilledmoments.com/2014/03/approval-seeking-dreams/.
    Blessings,
    Janis

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  14. Such a great post - so relatable! It's a constant daily challenge to let the Holy Spirit lead and get out of God's way. I'm constantly analyzing and wondering why I am where I am. I have to surrender it to Him and trust. That happens once in a while but I long for it to be a way of life.

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  15. Oh Jen, how I love what you've said here! I related especially to the need for approval *thing* - and to that pressure I place on myself to recover from tough times. It occurs to me that in both instances, I am seeking something that isn't God. Approval looks *outward* to others to be filled up, recovery looks *inward* to be filled up on my own. When will I learn? The holes only get filled by Jesus.

    Do I want to get well? It's a tough question - for sometimes the healing requires pruning. But yes, I want it, Lord. Help me through it.

    GOD BLESS!

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  16. If you are anything like me, recovery is a life-long day by day process. :)

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