Sunday, January 1, 2012

Let's go CRAZY in 2012!!!

I have a New Year's Resolution to blog more this year. But I'm still recovering from the surgery redo so I'm rerunning this one from last year. Here's to finding our passion in 2012!

"You're crazy, you know? Oh my gah. You're so crazy. I can barely handle two. You have four and you want MORE? Oh my gah. You're crazy!"

I barely know her, but run into her regularly. She seems nice - except for this. Every time, I get the same speech.

Some people, I get the "you're so crazy, and it's so cool" vibe, but not from her. From her, I get the "You're just batpoop crazy" vibe.

I reposition my large behind in the little chair made for a little preschool behind and smile a little forced half smile and nibble my little Christmas tree cookie. She looks at another mom and says, "Do you know how crazy she is? She's already has four kids and she's adopting one more! From Africa! She's crazy!!"

Inhale. Exhale. Half smile semi-sweetly.

"Oh," the other mom says, with the raised eyebrows I know so well by now. "Why are you adopting?"

Now is the moment when I could launch into my informative, yet unoffensive, convincing, yet demure speech, as might be expected of me, Current Available Reigning Ambassador for All Internationally Adopting Mothers.

But today I'm tired. And irritated. And crazy!!

So instead I state, "Because I just can't stand the thought of kids in orphanages."

And then I take a bite of my cookie as the room goes silent. Because evidently no one has an answer to that crazy!! statement.

Nibbling, enjoying the silence, I decide that this might be my ever-ready-answer. Because yes, I can tell you a slew of statistics and quote some hardcore bible verses at you but really? You really wanna know why we're adopting?

We're adopting because I can't stand the thought of kids in orphanages.
Amen. The end. Dig in.

This is my Passion, this kids-in-orphanages thing. This is the thing that makes my heart race. This is the thing I lose sleep over. This is my thang.

Looking back, I've had several passions at given times throughout my life and still do, but Unloved Children has remained consistent, and and I am delighted that it has been nailed down very specifically and proactively to "Unloved Children in Ethiopian Orphanages". Because specifics are our friends, y'all.

This doesn't make me a saint, and contrary to what she fervently believes, it doesn't make me crazy. I just think it makes me that much further along in my journey with this God I claim to love. I think it makes me that much more in tune with this God I declare to worship.

Because I believe that as we cease to be conformed to the world and are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and as we are transformed into his image with every increasing glory, God's heart becomes our heart, and God's passions become our passions.

And God's got a thang for orphans.
Me too.
(A lot of y'all just said Me three.)

What about the rest of you?

It doesn't have to be orphans. Because our God, our Father, Son and Holy Spirit God - He is a God of many Passions.

Which of His passions is reflected in your heart? In what way has He conformed you to His being? How, as Richard Stearns says in one of the books that messed me up this past year, how has God broken your heart for the things that break His heart?

Your Passion may be for AIDS, cancer, homelessness, unborn children, education. Child prostitution. Poverty. Teenagers. College kids. Haiti. Africa. Italy. Inner city Dallas. Suburban Nashville. I've yet to meet a Christian who didn't get very riled up about something that was a direct reflection of God's heart.

Problem is, I think the problem is that many of us - in America, I'll just come flat out and say most of us - let our worldly passions override the godly passions.

Like, a passion for shoes, for instance. A passion for cars. A passion for golf or Big 12 football or music. A passion for looking like we're 25 forever. A passion for the "one sanctioned Christian idol", our children (touchy one!) A passion for looking like the perfect family. A passion for looking like the perfect church. A passion for sports trophies or grades or popularity or the absolutely best looking lawn on the whole block.

I'll tell you right now that at stages in my life my passions have included Pergo floors, breastfeeding, Project Runway, abused children, granite countertops, youth ministry, Words With Friends, and eliminating the gray from my hair (I admit my strong feelings regarding the latter remain.)

Many of these passions, while perhaps not inherently evil, can quickly become so noisy that they drown out the life-changing, eternal consequence making PASSION that God has placed in our hearts to reflect Himself and expand His kingdom in this evil, messed up world!

I have found my big P Passion and let me tell you, it feels good to have it nailed down. So many times over the last year I have said to myself This is IT. This is my THANG! and I get welly every time. I've got my marching orders. It's a wonderful feeling to be in the middle of God's will.

So I'm asking you right now, sisters, as we begin this new year.

What's your Passion?

What's the thang that is gonna make the rest of the world call you CRAZY? (Oh my gah! So crazy!!)

Do you even know?

I've been all over. I've had passions, but they've been undefined. Or I've had passions but gotten off course. And I've had passions that only lasted a season.

Based on my own history of Passion Deficit Disorder, I speculate that there are four places you may camping right now:

Camp 1
You love Jesus, but you feel like you have no passion and no place in this whole Expanding-the-Kingdom stuff.

Okay. We need to talk.
Because you do have a place. A very important place.
God did not claim you from the miry pit so that you might spend the rest of your time on Earth de-sanctifying yourself via Bravo TV while jamming only occasionally to Casting Crowns, as tempting as that may be. 

My biggest advice, aside from reading your bible (oh, please, please don't get sidetracked by a passion that is directly contrary to God's word! Pleeeease!), would be to read one of two books. 

The first is Interrupted, written by my freind Jen Hatmaker, who messed me up in a big way, and took me out of the suburban slump I had fallen into, and reignited the fire I had in me before sleepness nights and mommafear stole it away. Just trust me, order it, read it.

Jen had already gotten in my head before Radical came out and restated all that she was saying. You can pick either book, up to you.

Then tell me you still don't have Passion. Go ahead. Try.

(There's a serious revival going on in the Church, my friends. It's the most exciting thing I've witnessed in my life. Don't be late to the joyride.)

Camp 2
You don't really know what your Passion is. You are willing, and able, and probably more than a little emotional, but can't pinpoint exactly how God wants to use you for His glory. 

If so, here's what I suggest you do. It's complicated, so you might want to write this down. I'll wait while you get a pencil. Ya ready?

ASK HIM.

Aha!

Pray. 

Often the last resort, always the best resort. Just ask Him! Ask the Lord to reveal to you in what way He wants to take your gifts, your resources, your personality traits, your natural inherent passions to further His kingdom. Ask Him to make it clear and make a commitment to submit to the direction He leads you. Reflect on areas that have kept you motivated for years. Then just wait, and don't get impatient if He doesn't email you back by dinner.  It will become clear in good time. He will send people and books and TV shows and podcasts and magazine articles and blogs and facebook links and billboards pointing in a certain direction. Then you may start crying a lot more. Essentially you might begin to think that God is stalking you. (He is.)


Secondly, ask others what they think your Passion is. It may be so obvious to everyone but you, that you get some strange "are you serious?" looks.

(Husbands are especially gifted at those looks.)

Thirdly, test it. If you can't find bible verses that directly reflect God's heart on this issue - no gray areas, no interpretation thunk up in the last fifty years, but black and white God's Word confirming your passion beyond a doubt - then pray for discernment. Rinse, repeat.

Camp 3
You know what your Passion is in the big picture, but you haven't specified it yet. And therefore, you feel scattered and are having trouble being proactive.

Yeah. I pitched my tent here for a while. So many causes, so little time. You get all fired up about something, but then you have this like, life that keeps interfering.

Same thing applies. Pray.

As my life became busier (read: ridiculously demanding offspring) I had to develop a "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding serving God. What I mean is, I don't really volunteer for anything, because my eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I end up over committing and under delivering.

Instead, I keep my big mouth shut, and ask God to send me the opportunities, and when the present themselves, I prayerfully consider each one. This has kept me out of a lot of trouble and made it easier to narrow my focus on what God wants me to do, instead of the cool fun things I think I want to do - until I get in the thick of them and hate myself for volunteering.

Maybe you are the opposite who never volunteers for anything. Are you a bushel hider? Same thing applies.

Ask God to shut down the noise, and to focus your eyes and heart directly where He wants you to focus. Pray for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him (her) ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (her).” That would be James 1:5.

I do so love me a scriptural guarantee.

Warning though, praying for wisdom can mess you up.

Mess you up good.

And by good, I mean, Good.

In fact, I dare you to Scotch tape that James 1:5 verse to your bathroom mirror. Hang it in a ziplock from your shower caddy. Postit note it to your dash.

I double dog dare you.

(duck!)


Camp 4
You know exactly what your Passion is and exactly what you want to do and you believe wholeheartedly that God is calling you to this, but the timing isn't right.  Oh, sister, this is an especially hard place to be. I know. This is when you must remind yourself constantly and loudly that God's timing is perfect. His ways are sovereign, and your's - are not. Even though you think they are, cute little control freak that you are.

In this case, you must do the hardest thing of all, that is, sit and wait on God. I know, wait is a four letter word, I know!

But one thing I have been blessed to learn is that God's timing is perfect. Take comfort in Psalm 40.
Sing it. Download it. Know that the Lord does intend to use you, when you are ready, when He is ready, when the world is ready.

Until then, immerse yourself in the Word. Prepare your heart, your mind, your soul for the journey ahead.

Go fold a load of laundry while you wait.

Be still. Know, that He is God, and your time - His time - is coming.

And - brace yourself. Fasten your seatbelt. Every other cliche you can call to mind.

Because it's gonna be a crazy ride. Crazy!! Oh my gah, crazy!!

A good, good, crazy ride.


Happy New Year, my precious invisible friends.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us.

** For those of you who are wondering where you might be needed, may I please point you to Child Advocates/CASA (click here for the Houston program), one of my favorite, hands-on ways to help hurting children. **


Related posts:
I don't want my children to be happy
Blessed to be a weirdo
The Theology of Adoption

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