No Safety Nets Allowed!

safety netLife is one big tightrope.  You did know this, right?  The difference between a circus and our lives is that we don’t have the luxury of a safety net.  I don’t think I really want one, but neither is it a guarantee. I choose to live my life with reckless abandonment in Christ, trusting that He’s got me!  What I mean by this is that too often we have to have an answer for every situation before we take that leap of faith.  Sometimes there isn’t one. You just jump!

It’s like when you’re a little kid and your parent or some other trusted adult has you climb up high on the monkey bars.  Once you’re at the top, they yell “Jump!  I’ll catch you!” Without thinking, you hurl yourself off the top, trusting they will catch you.  Guess what?  They do!

With God, we understand this concept of faith and walking without seeing.   Hebrews 11: 1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  We have to have the “proof is in the pudding” type situations before we leap.  Our biblical forefathers lived by faith trusting whatever God told them with firsthand evidence.  Are you an “Abraham” or are you a “Doubting Thomas”?  You remember Thomas.  After Jesus was crucified and laid in the tomb, his body was not there when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Jesus had been resurrected.  A disciple of Christ, Thomas (aka Doubting Thomas) did not believe the news of Jesus’ resurrection from the other disciples (John 20:24-29).  In fact, he declared that he would not believe unless he saw Jesus for himself AND put his finger where the nail marks were.  Oh ye of little faith, Thomas.  Jesus appeared before Thomas a week later.  He took his hand and guided his finger to the place where the nails had been, and put his finger in it.  Then Thomas believed.

It’s easy to believe when we see it for ourselves.  What about those believers like me who have never seen Jesus, but we still believe!  Lately, I’ve been asking God for some crazy faith.  That’s the faith that is so impossible that it can’t be anybody BUT God’s doing.  That’s what I’m asking for!  I’m asking for the ridiculous.  Recently, I read in “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” by Mark Batterson, that we should pray bolder prayers because God is uninspired by our boring prayers.  Wow.  How often have I prayed boring prayers?  Many times, I’m sure.  No more.  I’m praying and believing God for the impossible…the absurb…the ridiculous.

This is evident in my life right now. God has been speaking to me about a transition.  I began sensing it last summer.  I even wrote it in my journal so I could refer back to it.  On Sunday night, I recalled what I had been seeking God for, but I became doubtful…maybe fearful.  In any event, I wavered in my belief of what He had already revealed to me.  I asked Him for confirmation because I needed to get out of the way.  On Monday morning during my quiet time, the Lord directed my attention to my journal.  I wasn’t really sure since most times I try not to look back on what I’ve written.  So, I obediently opened the journal and the first page of volume twenty-something, I went to the August 7, 2016 entry.  I wrote, “After watching Eat, Pray, Love, I feel confirmed.  Lord help me to be open to the where.  God you know the how; the when; and the why.  Help me to keep trusting in that and in Your perfect will.  You are a good, good Father and you are perfect in your provision, your wisdom and your knowledge.  God I trust you.  Help me to continue walking in that trust.  Your love is never failing and always on time.  Father, even if….I still trust you.  If you say go, help me with the preparation.”

God continued speaking and I kept writing it down.  He said to start minimizing and get rid of stuff; sell it if you have to, but it has to go!  On August 23, 2016, I wrote in the journal, “Today is my last 1st day of high school.  Lord, I don’t know what the plan is, but I know there is one.  Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).” Most recently, the Lord brought back to my remembrance the story of Abraham’s faith.  Batterson’s Draw the Circle, Day 20 is titled “Go. Set. Ready.”  Wait!  Isn’t that backwards?  Shouldn’t it be Ready!  Set!  Go!?  With God, we can never be ready.  Why?  Because you’re always going to have an excuse as to why you’re not ready.  God doesn’t have time for all the heeing and hawing!  So his order is “Go. Set. Ready!”  When you’re directed to GO, you don’t have time to dissect.  You just do it!  You just GO!  In Hebrews 11:8, Abraham received this instruction, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Abraham didn’t ask any questions.  He didn’t ask God to wait for him because he wasn’t ready.  He went.  You don’t understand it and may never do so.  Nowhere is it written you have to understand it.  If you hesitate that is the same thing as disobedience.  When you say yes to the GO, God works out all the details.  He orchestrates the perfect timing; the perfect cost; the perfect lodging; the perfect realtor.

I know so many people who are living a half-life, or no life at all because they are afraid to cut their safety net.  They have to have plans A, B, C and D.  God doesn’t require you to have a back-up plan when His hand is in it.  When you are uncertain of His voice, spend time in the Word and pray.  He will begin to speak in a way that you will come to recognize His voice; that sensing; that knowing; that certainty.

All you have to do is GO!  I love that God ambushes us with His plan!  There isn’t too much time to think about it, and especially plan it.  You just need to move out the way and let God’s perfect plan flow. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Rahab, David and Samuel.  They went.  They didn’t ask questions and they didn’t have a safety net.  To have had one would be stating that they didn’t trust God.  For me to have one, says I’m not trusting God.  I always ask God for three things:  wisdom, understanding, and discernment.  For whatever reason, I always sense when the Holy Spirit is moving in my life, putting me on alert.  Can I ever be completely ready?  Probably not, but I am always looking.  I have cast away my safety net.



The Extremeness of God

Sometimes when I read biblical accounts, I can see how extreme God had to be to get the attention of His people and people who He was going to use to do His will.  Heck, when I look at my own life, I look at that same extremeness.  I know you will find this hard to believe because, for those who don’t know me, I look all sweet and docile, but I’m quite bull-headed.  I have always had a mouth that can be used as a lethal weapon. With that sharp mouth came some bold, sassy prayers…maybe “demands “would be a better term.  In any event, there were some pretty extreme prayers.  While you may think you’re on the road to righteousness, you hit a few road blocks.  It is then that God takes extreme measures to get our attention.  In doing so, sometimes it provokes extreme faith.  I like to call it “radical faith.”

I remember back in October 2005, I was driving down Albemarle Road in Charlotte.  I was on my way to work at Bank of America.  I didn’t hate the job, but I didn’t love it either.  I also remember not getting along with my immediate supervisor.  It seemed that she was always picking on me about something, and my best was never good enough for her.  I really wrestled with yielding to her authority because I felt she provided inadequate leadership.  God did not place me there to like leadership style.  I would later learn I was there because I had a problem with ALL authority, including His.  Let me preface this by saying that in 2004 I began sensing that God was going to move me.  I had been praying about this and God was steadily breaking me down.  It was an extreme situation for me and it required extreme measures.  So, while driving down that road, I said to God, “I need to You give me some radical faith!  I need it to be some real crazy faith because I’m sick of this situation and I need to believe in something radical and crazy!”  It would not come to pass right away, but I kept reminding God of what I asked for.  Then in December 2005, I told my sister to get ready because she was going to be mother’s caregiver.  Then in February 2006, I asked my mother how she would feel about me moving away again.  She said she didn’t know, but countered with, “Why?”  I told her God was getting ready to move me again and I didn’t know where it would be.

So while asking for this radical faith and sensing the upcoming move, I activated that faith even further by applying for positions outside of NC.  I applied in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Virginia.  Texas was the furthest thing from my mind.  I saw this position at a KIPP school in Austin, TX and didn’t know anything about it.  I applied in March 2006 and it would not be until May 2006 that I would hear from them.  Before that, immediately after submitting that resume, I ordered a video about Austin from the Chamber of Commerce. Who does that? No one!  It seemed as though I was on auto-pilot.  The video came and I watched it over and over and over.  It made no sense to me to do this, but I was doing it.

In the meantime, I kept praying and seeking God while applying for jobs.  Finally, the call came from the KIPP school in Austin.  That was the Tuesday after Memorial Day (2006).  I had the phone interview on that Thursday and then I was invited to Austin for a face-to-face interview.  I knew it had to be from God because KIPP purchased my airline ticket for me and took care of my hotel and rental car ,as well.  If you are an educator, you know schools NEVER do that!  I continued to see the hand of the Lord in it.  I came.  I saw.  I conquered.  I got the job offer, but not right away.  Three weeks later.

Even  before that, about six months before that interview, I was already packing up my apartment and getting rid of stuff.  While doing so, I couldn’t explain it, I was just doing it.  When the call came, I was ready.  When God is doing that extreme thing, we can be caught off guard…unprepared, but I wasn’t.  When He moves, He does it so fast that it occurs in the blink of an eye; the snap of your fingers!  Before I knew it and by the end of July 2006, I had moved half way across country and was setting up residence in Austin, TX, USA!

I’m still in awe of this amazing journey that God allows me to be a part of.  I love His extremeness and I love it when He reveals it in my life!  Sometimes, He has to be extreme with me because I’m so bull-headed.  God knows that if He gives me too many details, I will take them and run!  That is not His plan or desire for my life.  Why?  He simply wants me to extend my faith and trust Him.  The older I get, the wiser I become in who He is.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not, but I get better at it and become a lot more sensitive to the extremeness of God and where and how He is working in my life!  God is not intimidated by your bold request or your bold faith!  Give it to Him…He can handle it!