Saturday, July 22, 2017

Shouting Louder and Life Seasons

I recently preached a message about seasons, life, and the intentional decision to embrace it. Little did I know, instead of preaching a message for the teens at our youth group, it felt like I was preaching a message to myself. 

The gist of the message is this: 
Seasons are ever-changing and 
far too often, we can't choose our seasons. 
We can't control and choose the seasons we are in, 
but we can choose God who is in control over them. 

Have you ever felt like it was difficult to embrace the assignment that God has clearly given to you because you are entering a new season? Maybe it's a new community, maybe it's a new role. A new position, grade. If you do, you're in good company. Because I think this is exactly where I find myself right now.

So, among all the assignments that God has put in my heart, writing devotionals and journals (like this one) is definitely one of them. Have I been doing that lately? Ha! Not so much. And sure, it's a lot more difficult to juggle writing devos plus school research papers (and sometimes plus preaching scripts too!) all in the same week. But I realized lately though, that hasn't been the case. I hid from writing because it was the easier and safer alternative.

I remembered in April 2016 I posted a devo titled "Bare and Naked". And in there I talked about the fear and beauty altogether of being exposed, as an artist of any kind. And I wrote:

"What makes our works of art a masterpiece is simply 
how far we allow our works to get a taste of 
who we really are."

That post was published almost 1.5 years ago. I still agree with that principle. And I still believe that's a key to make great art. But guess what? 1.5 years later: it is still as scary as it ever was to share what I have written. Especially knowing that I am settling into new communities, new roles. 

A new season. 
The idea of being bare and naked, 
raw and honest, 
before a new set of public eyes. 

It was like a scream-fest in my head. 

"What if they judge me?"
"What if I'm not good enough for them?"
"What if they laugh behind my back?"
"Will I make a fool of myself?"
"Maybe I will make a fool of myself. Pretty sure I will."
"What have I gotten myself into?!!!!" 

Isn't this what most of us experience when it comes to being faithful, no matter who the spectators are or what we are up against? That it will feel like ground zero all over again. Like the assignment becomes as unbearable as it was at the very beginning. But we're not there anymore, are we? We made it through, at least somewhere through in the journey. It feels like ground zero, but it's actually just another stonestep along the path. 

The set of skills remain the same.
The passion remains the same
The assignment remains the same. 
It's just the seasons. 
It's only a change in season. 

Like I said earlier: We can't choose the seasons, but we can choose God. And it is in Him too that we find the purposes of our lives. The heart and soul of what and why we do what we do. The courage and strength to keep going despite of what the circumstances are and what the critics say. The shameless, relentless pursuit to show who He is through our artistry. 

As the seasons change, we can choose to stop creating and let the world lose one voice of hope. Or we can choose God, have faith and shout louder. 

I'm choosing to trust God and embrace my season. I want to shout louder.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (The Message)
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season.

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