Monday, April 7, 2014

Spiritual Misfit? Me? 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.  SDG is about relationships.  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.
I simply don't have enough energy in me to do both what God wants me to do and what I want to do.  True, sometimes my will and God's will line up perfectly, but other times, I want to take a diverging path while still trying to live into the fullness of how God crafted me.

That kind of life depicts a picture of me being continually harried, short-tempered, and playing a martyr.  Even if the picture costs only a nickel, you wouldn't want the likes of me hanging in your living room.

As I read Spiritual Misfits, Michelle DeRusha's new memoir, I was struck by the attitude of Harold juxtaposed with the attitude of Michelle.  Harold was a Lutheran pastor who spent a majority of his years serving people in one capacity or another.  Then he retired from church leadership, only to spend his days clipping buy food for the poor.  He essentially went grocery shopping for the world, created a food pantry in his basement, and then delivered food where and when it was most needed.

Who spends retirement like that?

I didn't relate to Harold.  I related to Michelle, who writes:
"I would have kicked back the recliner, flipped on Antiques Roadshow, and had myself a good snooze.  I might have met my friends for coffee and pecan rolls Tuesday morning at the Village Inn.  Perhaps I would have tried my hand at Suduko.  I can tell you with utmost certainty that I would not have spent my leisure time and my limited financial resources grocery shopping for the poor. I would not have dipped into my meager savings to stock the shelves of the food bank. If I had been in Harold's shoes, I would have assumed I'd already "done my part," completed my duty, and crossed off the final item on my Christian good deeds checklist."
How many times has an opportunity come up to serve, but I tell God "I've done my part?"  How many times have I told Him, "I simply don't have the energy for one more thing?"  The truth is, though, if He puts this opportunity in front of me, shows me this is part of walking in the fullness of who He created me to be, and I come back with "I've done my part" I've probably been playing other parts I wasn't supposed to play.

In fact, I've probably been stealing someones else's lines. And I've most definitely been stealing someone else's glory...most likely God's.  That's what happens when I do things for the purpose of gaining the world's approval.

I might not ever be called to clip coupons for the poor.  It's not about the job Harold had that the Lord prepared him to do.  It's the fact that God gave him this job because it helped Harold to continue to live into the fullness that God created him to be.  He had the energy and the drive and the passion to do what he does because it is directly in line with God's plan for him.

I am sure Harold gets tired.  I get tired.  Jesus got tired.  But I have realized there is a distinct difference in my "tiredness" after I have taken on a "God project" verses a "Jen project."

click here to preorder
While I am working and when I am done with the "God project," I need time to recover, but it's similar to that delicious feeling of finishing a race.  I am tired, but I am joyful.  I need rest, but I have the ability to savor the feeling of my bed and drift off with a smile.  I feel as though I have worked out hard, but I can still get my muscles to move in the morning without copious amounts of grimacing.

While I am working on a "Jen project," I am the picture you wouldn't pay five cents for. I don't look good in anyone's living room.  When I smile, it's forced.  My spirit is out of whack. And so are my emotions, thus dealing with anyone else's highs and lows is difficult to do with any measure of sanity.  The ingrained habits of looking out for myself, dismissing other's needs, and focusing on my own perspectives make everything look like a burden, especially the things God keeps showing me He wants me to do.

With the "God projects" I don't think of them as checking off a list filled with Christian good deeds.  I don't really think of them as deeds at all because I am too busy seeing the people in the midst of the deeds. Because that's what God is about -- the people, the relationships.  He gets things done in this world by allowing people to serve, using their gifts, to bring themselves and others closer into the very arms of Himself.

When Jesus got in the boat to travel from Capernum to Bethsaida Julius to get away for a bit, the huge crowd follows Him (John 6).  When Jesus sees the assembled crowd, He doesn't say "Haven't I healed enough?" Instead, He thinks about their needs: physical and spiritual.  Instead, He plans a feast.  And that boy?  He didn't hoard what he had like I tend to hoard my time and financial resources.  He gave willingly and was deliciously rewarded.

Where have I been selfish?  Where have I hoarded?  Where have I held back because I fear not having enough?  How can I use this to help me more readily recognize the difference between my "God projects" and "Jen projects?"

I want to feel deliciously tired.  I want to reject the harried life.  I want to choose to run on abundance instead of fumes.

Let's Get Real: How do you tell when you are doing a "God project" versus a "(your name here) project?"

(Special Note: Michelle DeRusha, author of Spiritual Misfit, is putting together a "Thunderclap" to spread the word about the book. It's super easy to participate, but she needs 100 people in order for it to work. If you are interested in helping, just click on this link.)
Time for a bit of fundraising for the 3rd Annual Soli Deo Gloria Retreat!  Last week was such a success!  Thank you, LoriAnn, for bidding and winning! This week's offering is from Sara:

Beautiful Sara in the teal infinity scarf
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 for payment and the scarf maker will mail the scarf to the winner after I have received the payment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Time to share what's on YOUR heart. After you link up, please visit your neighbor and leave and encouraging word for her.


  1. the walking into the unknown is what seems to hold us back the most.....the familiar is so much easier, the checklist marked is so hard sometimes

  2. Oh, Jen, do I ever know about stealing God's glory. That's been at the core of this heart rescuing God's been doing in my life. So thankful for grace and your encouragement.

  3. I definitely can relate to the difference in my "God tasks" and my "Asheritah tasks": There's a good tiredness after the first, just like you said. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on Michelle's book!

  4. Oh boy - great message, big conviction. Sometimes I just get so irritated at my *humanness* - always so concerned about making a good impression, or just being spiritually lazy. Take your pick - both attitudes work for the enemy's purpose. Love your thoughts, and I relate to being a spiritual misfit. But, there is joy in the struggle, IF our hearts seek hard after the Lord in the midst of it all.

    How can I tell the difference between *me tasks* and *God jobs*? After doing something for the Lord, I am full and satisfied emotionally and spiritually. When I'm doing it for the wrong reasons, I usually end up feeling like I'm dissatisfied and missing something - and still wanting "more" of whatever it is that I'm missing - does that make sense?

    Lord, help us!! :-)


  5. I wish you'd stop stepping on my toes. They hurt. ;) I need this reminder, to stop spending my energy on Andrea projects and instead do what He has called me to. Even if it looks nothing at all like what I want it to. That's the hard part for me. I can totally get on board when I agree with Him.

    And I cannot wait to read this book!

  6. Jen,this line really resonated with me: "I've probably been playing other parts I wasn't supposed to play." God is making it clear that I need to be listening to what He's telling ME to do and say, not eavesdrop on everyone else's lives. There is only one of each of us and God has a gift and a voice for each of us.
    I'm SO looking forward to reading this book (already signed up for the Thunderclap :-).
    Thanks, friend.

  7. Doing God's work by helping others and giving generously feels great. That's not why we do it, obviously, but it's a nice bonus!

  8. It's just sometimes hard for me to distinguish between what's a "God project" and what's a "Lisa project" because I value my own stuff highly. :( Maybe that should be my first prayer: discernment between what's His and what's *mine* so that I'll know what to do. Thanks for this, Jen.

  9. this is a challenging post...thanks for giving me something to chew on :)

  10. This really speaks to my heart, Jen. I want to yield to His will, not just do my own pet projects under the guise of serving Him. Thanks for the beautiful post & for hosting & God bless!


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