Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Try it, You'll Like it.
Memory Verse: Psalms 26:2 NIV
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.
Assignment: This week I want you to do something for someone else. Do you have a neighbor that needs you? Do you know an elderly person or single mom that could use you? What about the homeless? Pack even one single sack lunch and give it to someone in need. Do you know someone in blogland that is struggling right now and could use a note from you about how much you care? Pray about this. Let God put on your heart the perfect thing for you to do for another. Now, here is the kicker…I DO NOT want you to post about what you do. Whatever you choose to do is between you and God. Our rewards are in heaven, not here on earth, Mathew 6:1. I want you to post about how doing this “act” made you feel. Was stepping out of your comfort zone in this area as hard as you thought it might be? Could you see the gratefulness in their eyes? Hear it in their voice? Tell it from their typing? Do you think you might make doing things like this a more regular part of your time? If this is an area that you are already active in, tell us how you feel this has impacted your life.
When I was growing up, my number one fear was that of humiliation. I made it a goal in my life to never put myself in any "potentially embarrassing situation". I was content with being a wallflower.
As a result, I rarely took chances, participated in NO group sports, and remained out of the spotlight.
I became a Christian in 2000. I was passionate about my faith and began to share it with my close friends and family. God gave me courage to speak up, but I truly hadn't moved out of my comfort zone yet.
I realized that this was an area God wanted me to work on about 5 years ago. We go to a very large church and were attending a Sunday evening worship service one night. This event is a high energy worship experience put on by the college age ministry. As we entered the sanctuary, we were stopped and asked to fill out a simple survey.
I was enjoying the service sitting way in the back - I mean, really, who wants to sit in the front?! Our youth minister came out to preach. He spoke about how the Holy Spirit is like a river. If you are on a white water raft, you will be pulled along by the river's current this way and that. This is a wild and exciting ride (so I've been told), but it can also be quite frightening. After all, you are no longer in control.
Then the preacher did something totally unexpected. He brought out the white basket that we had all slipped our surveys in. He announced that he would be drawing a name and asking them to come on stage to receive a $50 gift certificate. Everyone clapped excitedly...except me. There was no way I wanted to go up there! No exaggeration, there were nearly 1000 people in there! Then the preacher said no, actually the person who's name was drawn would need to come to the stage to sing "Amazing Grace". He encouraged us to not be afraid, but to be pulled along by God's leading. And then he did it. He pulled my name. He pronounced it wrong (everyone does...it's Shanna, rhymes with banana, in case you're wondering), but he pulled my name.
My husband looked at me with a funny grin like, Are you going to bolt? and before I knew it, almost in slow motion, I said, "Oh...my...God." Now, I know this sounds like I was using the Lord's name in vain. But I wasn't. From the very depths of my soul, I was crying out to Him.
And that's when I realized it. He was going to make me go up there. Not the preacher...but God. God was going to make me go up there. So I decided I would.
About this time, oblivious to me sitting way in the back, the preacher said, "No, I'm just kidding. She doesn't really need to come up here."
I believe I was changed that night. God began to teach me to let go of my fear of being embarrassed, because it was holding me back from what He had planned. Don't get me wrong, I still shake in my boots when I feel God tugging at my heart to say something or do something for someone that is out of the ordinary. But it never fails...if I don't do it, I feel disappointed, like I missed out on something. And when I do, I feel SO blessed.
We were asked to share a picture of our hands. I drew this in my art journal a couple of years ago...
This is what I wrote with it:
In my wildest imagination, I can imagine You, my Maker, forming man from the dust. Mixing it with water to make clay. Rolling the clay into a tiny ball and then pressing it firmly with the palm of Your hand. With Your fingernail You cut into the clay - one, two, three, four slits. You roll the slender slivers between Your thumb and forefinger. As You work, Your fingerprints leave delicate lines in the hand that You are forming. This hand that You've made, I raise to You in everlasting praise.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." -Psalm 139: 13-14 Pin It Now!