Have you ever heard of Bill Hybels? He’s a wonderful, founding pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois that has written many, many books and has dedicated his life to serving God and raising up church leaders.
There’s so much about that sentence that is ironic…
(1) That I even know who Bill Hybels is…I spent my early years lost in a haze of drug addiction and being saved from that I turned my energies to being a 90s career woman wanting to have it all (anyone with me)…there is so much in between then and now (including finding Jesus) but somehow, today, I now find myself working for a church.
(2) Ha ha…that I’m considered a church leader. We don’t have time today to unpack that irony.
Let’s move along…
What does all this have to do with the Fruit of the Spirit?
I wanted to dedicate this post to the Holy Spirit. As I said in day 1 I’m studying the Beth Moore Living Beyond Yourself study this month to guide my thoughts and over the last couple of days that’s where we’ve been. In order to live by the Spirit we’ve got to be in step with the Spirit…yes?
Full disclosure…I was so nervous about this 31 day challenge that I had days 1 and 2 written before Oct 1…but I realized that was (1) not the point (2) unnecessary. Seriously, what if I missed a day? Would y’all care? No. The point is to journey each day…not be a task master.
Let’s move along…
AGAIN, what does all this have to do with the Fruit of the Spirit?
So because I was ahead, I studied the Holy Spirit on Wednesday…and I was a wreck. I’m not even exaggerating…a total wreck.
As I’ve already shared in days 1 and 2 – I have a discontent in my soul – which frankly is probably the reason this blog was created…to fill the void and to occupy my thoughts. But let’s look at the positive…this discontent attracted me to the Fruit of the Spirit as I studied Galatians for You. And this discontent has kept me on my knees A LOT recently.
I’m finishing up Bill’s book Simplify and he says on page 240 “God is continually working to refine your character and make you more like Jesus, he has good lessons to teach you, especially in the uncomfortable, restless, painful seasons of your life” Pg 240 Simplify Bill Hybels
But if I am constantly seeking refuge and comfort from the world to soothe my pain and discomfort I’ll miss the lesson. Ugh. I’m not even necessarily talking about fun distractions…I’m talking about busyness. I’m talking about mindless internet use. I’m talking about just getting through the day…in a fog.
Move along shall we…
So with all that awareness of distraction and studying about discerning the Holy Spirit I become convinced, on Wednesday, that moving homes was a mistake…and I close in a week. Oops. Talk about anxiety through the roof. And forget considering about NOT buying the house…how was I going to tell James?
As you can maybe imagine…and as I’ve disclosed…I was a wreck…the kind of anxiety that makes you want to throw up. What have I done…did I misinterpret the Spirit? Is all this a result of me looking to wake up? Soothe the discontent. Let’s own it – probably.
But…we did pray…a lot. We sought wise counsel…and I had clarity (or at least what I interpreted as clarity on the day we made the decision). Things were rock’n and roll’n…our house sold in 6 days…contracts on both homes…things moving along great. Then BAM, contract on my existing home falls through. Okay, deep breath. 8 days later, no contract. 6 days from now I close on the new house. You do the math…I’ll own two homes next Thursday. I can’t afford two homes. Did we screw up?
Something easy doesn’t mean it’s right
Something hard doesn’t mean it’s wrong
You need perception, you need discernment, you need insight, you NEED the Holy Spirit.
Getting close to the point…
Here’s the thing about the life…you ready…not everything we face is black and white. I know, super profound right. Second point, in our finite minds, not everything happening is obvious…unless we are in step with the Spirit.
|However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
Here’s the thing…I’m beating myself up…even this morning because this spiritual walk is so damn hard. With my finite humanness…how the hell do I get and stay in step with the Spirit? How do I shut down my totally and completely flawed humanness and be in step with the Spirit? Because let me tell you…if I want fruit I’ve got to stay in step!
Finally, the point…
So here’s where I’ve landed. In my life draining anxiety attack on Wednesday I went to the Word because enough of discerning the Holy Spirit (I suck, I know, enough…I need meat and potatoes, the Bible, right now). I’m not great at memorizing particular verses but I do know themes, concepts and general addresses and I KNEW Matthew had a thing to say about anxiety in Chapter 6 and I landed on verse 33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Seek Him first – the rest is details.
Good grief girl…it’s a journey. Big sigh of relief.
You DID seek Him…you were in the Word. You were praying. You made a decision you felt was right. AND, you continue to seek Him.
So my prayer was and is – Lord, you’re the creator of this universe…you major in the impossible. If this move, this sale, is not of you, MAKE IT FALL APART. I’m serious. Here I am…your grace is sufficient.
That was a couple of days ago and as of this morning things are moving along. Does that make it of Him? Who knows!?! But I DO KNOW, he is sovereign, he’ll work with it, and regardless of where I live, it’s just a detail.
Life is a journey. Cliche, I know, but it’s true. Same with one’s spiritual walk.
No matter how spiritual one is…selling and buying a home is stressful.
The Holy Spirit scares me…my mind is not always the safest place to spend a lot of time…but it is critical that I develop the relationship, the skills and the desire to stay in step if I want the fruit. It’s complicated… but not impossible.
It’s a Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Father I love so much IS the Holy Spirit…it’s also okay to not completely understand it all…but I’ve gotta trust the process.
Keep seeking His Kingdom…He knows we need the details…He is made strong in our weakness.
I’m quite awake right now…all of my senses on fire. He’s got my attention.