What The Lord Wants You To Remember
Last year I spent the summer working a camp in Georgia with 100 other college-aged women. Mentally, it was a tough season in my life. I was daily challenged and stretched out of my comfort zone. I tied my worth to not only my abilities, but how well I performed using those abilities and how people responded to my performance (aka I was praise seeking). My abilities felt more like a short coming than a strength. Mentally, I set road blocks and boundaries that limited the Holy Spirit, my growth, and the breadth and depth of community. As I think back to this season, I remember feeling discouraged, unqualified, burnt out. The enemy was latching on to each of these and magnifying. Spiritual warfare is real, my friends. I was allowing the enemy access to not only my mind, but also my heart and letting him run wild with lies and defeat. My perspective of my circumstances and relationships were based on ability rather than faith.
As I prepared to write this post, I felt the Spirit inviting me to dive into the journal I kept from last summer. I expected to find pages of a weary heart being poured out. Instead, I found pages of thanksgiving and praise. Thanking God for rest, beauty in my surroundings, depth in relationships, conversations filled with prayers and celebrations of small joys. Prayers for reliance on the Lord to sustain me, to provide strength, energy, patience, joy. Confidence in the powerful things He’d do through conversations and through me.
In the midst of a dark cloud of defeat based on my own abilities and strength, I found myself praying for renewal and transformation of my heart. In the midst of a summer that felt like the most challenging season thus far, I was choosing faith.
“I tell you honestly that it is not your ability that matters, it’s the strength of your faith in my ability to do what you cannot. You must stop relying on your own efforts and common sense and begin to rely on me, says the Lord. Rise up to walk and live in the spirit.” - Marsha Burns
Do you feel conviction after reading Marsha’s Truth, too? I sure do. My relationship with pride comes to mind. My pride in MY independence, MY strength, MY abilities, MY efforts. I’m taking the credit and placing faith in myself and in this world.
The world will inevitably fail us every time. As followers of Christ, we can take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit of the Great “I Am” lives in us, reminding us of His promises and giving us strength to live as bold witnesses for Him.
Let this Truth sink in: God meets us where we are, and not where we pretend to be.
It’s not our abilities or our strength that increases our performance, accomplishments, the growth in relationships, or the outcomes of our circumstances. You know what, it’s also not our abilities or our strength that influence how we show up to those things or how well we face challenges. So, let’s set aside our performing, put away our expectations, and stop our striving. Let’s choose to eagerly give our desires to God, to set our sights on pleasing and glorifying Him with our abilities. Let’s choose Him over the world. Let’s allow God to be who He says He is, to grow our strength, to build our faith, and to stretch us into the best versions of ourselves. As Christ followers, we must daily choose to live out of victory, ready to authentically devote our energy and abilities to Jesus, allowing Him to be our strength and confidence. This is where growth in our faith happens.
Audrey Roloff builds on this Truth in her "Always More" devotional, “We shouldn’t be measuring our energy levels against challenges that lay ahead of us. Instead we should put our confidence in the energy and strength Christ promises to empower us with. Then, we will be ready to face our challenges with boldness and be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Christ will fill you with boldness and confidence that will allow His strength to be fully and abundantly at work in and through us. So how do you tap into that strength? Through Faith.”
In my journal from camp, I found an illustration the Lord placed on my heart at a staff worship night. The song “Climb This Mountain” held so much truth for me and the Lord continually used it to help me visualize and understand what He was teaching me. The illustration represents how we can exchange our heaviness with confidence in the energy and strength He promises us.
As I listened to the song, I visualized climbing a mountain with a backpack full of rocks (fear, shame, doubt, the unknown, feelings of being unloved, and disconnected). I had two choices for the next step I’d take. I could continue climbing as I was, refusing to let go of the heaviness I was carrying, refusing to receive something better. On this path, I’d choose to rely on my own strength and hang on with white-knuckles unable to move forward. Or, I could choose to call out the lies and invite God to speak truth. Here’s a truth I’m realizing now as I reflect on what I was learning then and what I’ve learned since, even though we may be sizing up the challenge based on our own strength, we can say “Lord, I hold onto nothing” and allow Him to replace the rocks in our bags with feathers (joy, love, peace…). Choosing the second option allows God to lighten the load. Instead of carrying the heavy weight, I can climb the mountain with my hands wide open – ready to receive, trust more, and say “yes, Lord.”
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-34.
Through hard prayers, calling out the insecurities the enemy was declaring truth, and showing up to the challenges in that season, the Lord is making beautiful things and growing the strength of my faith. My journal was not filled with all praises or confident prayers or declarations of what I was learning and experiencing every day. Several pages were filled with just the words “I trust you.” Despite our circumstances or the state of our hearts and minds, we can choose to trust, tap into the strength God promises us through faith and say, “Yes, Lord,” allowing Him to abundantly work in and through us.
Go walk and live in the Spirit today praying this bold and simple prayer: Father, your very name calms my fears and propels my mission. Please increase my faith today.
Karly Prichard // @karlyprichard