Let God

Do you ever wonder if the Holy Spirit complains about us to God? This may seem like a weird thought but if you think about the Holy Spirit for a moment, He is alike to having a new and permanent roommate. If I had to come into my mess, I may have had some questions for God.

Imagine we just finished reading the Holy Spirit’s application for the room we are offering. Looks excellent, to say the least. Great work history, is clean, loves to serve, has excellent references and has already given you some great advice on some of the things that you can be doing better. Has a great job that has an eternal guarantee to always be their position. That’s great, we know they will be able to pay their share of the bills. What could be better for us?

On the other hand, the Holy Spirit gets to look around and see what He has to work with. He looks over our messy, hoarder driven lives with what I imagine is a deep and heavy sigh. He sees old relationship baggage in the corner, stacked on top of past hurts and rebellion. The walls are painted in the colors of what we think others see of us. Our misguided views of who we are and what we are supposed to look like. Everywhere He looks he sees the broken furniture of the past, generational bondage in brown cardboard boxes containing the oppressions that we carry from our families past. What’s worse, we have never even looked inside to see if those are things we need, things we can learn from, or things we can just plain get rid of. We hold on to these mystery boxes like family heirlooms instead of the curse-filled past propaganda that they are.

The sink and countertops are overfilled by all of our failures, the bad choices, mistakes and disappointments. Every room has its own hoarded stash of horrors. The office is full of our educational and business experiences ranging from failed tests in elementary school to bad grades, talent show humiliations, high school relationship drama and worse decisions in college.  Our closet is full of fashion fau pau of regret, the bathroom crowded by hurt and fear of the past and the future. The bedroom, should we even mention? The heartache, broken relationships and tear-stained blankets and pillows for every moment, every relationship where something failed. Faded polaroid pictures litter the ground proving to us time and time again that if we just looked at everything we have done wrong, we can see that we will just repeat it again.

On top of all of that, dust and cobwebs of negative self-esteem and shame blanket everything.

If I was the Holy Spirit I would be asking to look at another place. Even if the spare room I was getting was empty and clean (which it isn’t) look at how much work would have to be done just to see the floor and the countertops?! Is it worth it?

Gratefully the Holy Spirit sees us so much different than we see ourselves.

See the room that the Holy Spirit is coming to live in is our heart. He walks over to the one-room He hasn’t yet looked and pulls the board we have barred over it and opens the door.

He finds something none of us expect inside. Hope. A tiny spark, this little light that has been waiting for someone to come along and just add a little fuel. He looks around this room to see trunks full of broken dreams and the dreams we have tried to hold onto for our lives and for the lives of those we love. Sure, this room has the most broken memories of all. Childhood hurts, broken hearts, lost loves and loneliness are stacked on every surface. This room doesn’t leave even a place to sit. He looks to the far wall, just past that dimly lit hope is an enormous stack of gifts. Our gifts. Several were torn open, but their contents left inside. Some of them are broken, the pieces shattered on the floor. And more than anything, there are gifts unopened. The paper pristine, the ribbon still neatly tied. The paper never even opened. The truth of who we are never shown to that light of hope. Those are the gifts that God gave to us the moment He created us. The gifts we have access to once we are willing to let God come in.

The Holy Spirit is the ultimate redecorator. If you have never watched an episode of Queer Eye, I strongly suggest you do. Some people may be put off by this, and if so, take a walk. Come back later or read this through the eyes of your Jesus who has told you to love everyone and let’s keep going.

Queer Eye is a brilliant show where these 5 very different guys with not only different styles and perspectives but different gifts, help some poor soul who is just a hot mess in all different places in their lives have a second chance to see themselves differently. These 5 humans can see things in this person, in their gifts and talents and in their homes and lives that people can’t see in themselves. Amidst the mess, lack of style and (usually) lack of self-esteem, they see the potential for more. This show has made me cry on more than one occasion. Giving someone a chance to see themselves differently, see what they can do and then giving them not only a fresh start but all the tools they need to maintain it. Sound familiar?

I just know I am going to get hell for this from someone but like John Mulaney said, “Sometimes you write a line that never gets a laugh, but once you write it, it stays in the act forever.”

The Holy Spirit is like Queer Eye on steroids. He sees our trash-filled, outdated moth-eaten clothes, our moldy sin-soaked lives and He only sees the Hope. He only sees the gifts, even the ones that have been broken by life. He sees what we can do. He sees what we were made for. He knows our purpose and He knows how to help us execute it.

We see a lost cause, a hopeless case with no chance of restoration and redemption. The Holy Spirit sees the truth. They see what we can be. I will even raise you one more to say, that not only do they see our potential, but they will also help us redecorate our lives with those very gifts we have been given.

I can hear the Holy Spirit look at God and say, “Well, I know We have our work cut out for us, but look at this, see this picture, this is what they can be! I know We can do it. Let’s get to work.”

The great thing about God, our redemption, the love of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit is that we never have to do the work alone.

Say it with me:

WE NEVER HAVE TO DO THE WORK ALONE!

That one sentence is the hope that gets me out of bed every single day. I am not trying to do this on my own. I know that I can’t and it is overwhelming the amount of gratitude that I have to know that God is right there in front of me, leading the way, casting His shadow over me and no matter what I am going through, He has the front and the rear guard.

Most everyone knows the scripture verse, “Yea, (not YAY) though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Psalm 23:4

A friend and mentor of mine pointed out to me one day something pivotal that changed this from being a verse you heard in movies or at funerals to one that brought me great comfort in the now.

When we are walking through the darkest valley, when we are surrounded by our enemies, the presence of God is there. How do we know, because shadows cannot be cast without light. God is there, casting His light, so that we know that there are shadows, but shadows cannot escape His light.

If you have ever done any home remodeling you know that it comes with what looks like bigger mess than when you started before you get to the part where you can look at the complete and finished product and be proud. You know what comes next.

Do hard things.

No one on this planet would say life is easy. It is damn hard and it certainly comes with no end to the loss, pain, and judgment we cause ourselves, others and the injury that comes from opening ourselves up to others. Life being hard is a universal truth. Change is painful, but I know each of us can look back at some messy part of our life and find the lesson. We may not like it, but we can find it. We may even find a repeat lesson here and there. The one that reminds us to quit doing the same things over and over because its insane.

I love what the Holy Spirit does when it comes into our hearts. It makes all things new. NEW! It takes time, and effort, but the Holy Spirit is a dedicated General contractor and He will bring into your life all of the people that you need to help you see who you are, to see and feel God’s love and to learn to love your gifts and your potential.

Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” The Contemporary English version says, “I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful.”

That is powerful! The lies we have been told about our Christian life is that because we are “Christians” that things will be easier. Relationships, work, success, everything just figures itself out. For anyone who has been fed this lie, I am sorry.  Growth is hard, and usually painful, but always worth it.

Those of us in Christ are fighting the good fight. We have this opportunity to be molded into exactly what God has envisioned for us, to step into the potential and the purpose he has set before us.

There is a catch.

In everything that we will ever deal with in this earthly realm, it is the dichotomy of every aspect of our lives. If we have faith and hope in God and the promise of victory in eternity, we still have an enemy on this earthly plain. One who knows what our mess looks like just as well as the Holy Spirit does.

Have you ever had negative thoughts run rampant in your head? Those are not of God, and they are not yours either. Those thoughts belong to the enemy. And he knows exactly what to say about our mess.

“Gosh Tiarra did you really think these curtains of divorce was going to match the carpet of your Christian life. No one is going to want you now. They won’t even accept you back at church this way.”

Look at the shame you are wearing today, it does not match your failure shoes. You are so out of style. Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to wear that color of anxiety? Doesn’t look good with your make up of pretending you are okay. You are definitely not getting invited to anything.”

 

When we sit down at the poker table of life to play the cards that God has handed us, we have several options. We can let the Holy Spirit lead us knowing that even if we get a bad hand that we can recover from anything. Or we can look at our cards, look at what we have left of our chips and look at Satan from across the table with his grim look of victory and satisfaction that he has gotten into our heads, and we can fold. We can lay down our cards and discard the victory we have been assured.

Let me tell you something important. Pride is our downfall. We can try to be proud and play the game. We think we can outsmart the enemy. Here is a painful truth. The enemy gambles all the time. He has nothing to lose because he has already lost everything. His bets will be higher and the stakes at which you lose will be too.

I want you to be very clear on a few things we know about our common enemy.

The Enemy has a great poker face. He may look like he is winning, but we know the game is already over.

He is always bluffing. When the lies, the deceit, and the struggle beats down on you, you can rest in knowing that those things are just not true. The enemy is bluffing because you have already won this game in Christ.

When we fold our hand, when we let the past numb how we can be now and in the future, we numb everything. You don’t get to just numb the bad stuff.

numbing feelings

Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye said it best. We were not called to live a life that is without pain and without the possibility of tragedy. We are called to live a life that comes with all of those things plus undeniable joy and connection, relationship with our Creator and the chance to take all He has given us and make an impact on someone else’s life.

Luke 10:19 shows us this truth:

“Look! I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to destroy all the enemy’s power; nothing will harm you.”

Do you ever feel tired, weary and just wonder, “Hey God, where were you?”

We have access to the endless strength of Christ. Isaiah 40:28 says, “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” So if God doesn’t grow weary, and we can tap into His endless energy, why are we so tired?

When we grow weary, it is because we are taking on more of the battle then is ours to fight.

We think we are fighting the good fight when we rush in head first, full of pride, working to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Almost as if to say, “God, look at what I did. I didn’t even need you. Aren’t you proud of me?”

There will never be a moment where we don’t need Him to go before us. When we leave Him behind, we not only rob ourselves of the gifts during battle, we break God’s heart with our disobedience in refusing to let Him lead. Pride is a lie.

How is it that we are too proud to admit we made a mistake when we aren’t proud that we made it?

Every day we face the duality of our choices. When you wake up each day, you have a choice, who will you send out before you as you begin your day? You can choose to send out the enemy and face the daily battle your own, or you can enlist the helper we have in the Holy Spirit. And he is there every second of every day to come in and give you the advice you need.

As you look at those cards that you were dealt, before you go all in, or fold in fear, seek the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit. Go knock on your roommate’s door and ask if you can have a sit-down. Lay your cards out in front of God and when He speaks, you can look to His scriptures to make sure what you hear is of God and not a lie of the enemy. When you give God the chance to truly do his work, you WILL see a change. That is one thing I can promise. The circumstances of your life may take longer to catch up, but the change in your heart will be something you can see and feel.

New paint will go up, old baggage and stories rewritten and placed on a bookshelf as reminders, not barriers. Broken pieces mended, counters cleared, new furniture and relationships will replace the moth-eaten world you were living in.

The best news is that even on the days when we rush headfirst into battle, forgetting to knock on our roommates door and ask Him to come along, He is just a phone call (prayer) away from rescue.

“So, I know I was supposed to get up with you this morning, but I was running late, my alarm clock didn’t go off and there were too many obstacles. I know I should have had your help this morning, but I am stuck on the side of the road and I need a rescue. Can you please help me?”

This is your moment to choose. In any part of our day, if we are feeling separated from feeling of closeness of God, it is not because He isn’t there. It is because we chose to act on our own.

Prayer is your answer to every moment of every day that the cards you were dealt are just too hard and too much to handle. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” and even Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.”

That seems like a tall order to a busy world that keeps our brains occupied constantly with worldly things. I assure you God isn’t looking for you to plan a prayer sermon. The shortest prayer in the world is your deep sigh. There are many many places in the bible that talk about God hearing the groaning of His people. It didn’t have to come to God’s ears in the form of a perfectly worded prayer.

Just praying. Face buried in our tear dampened pillows and our worn-out state crying out to God. (Psalm 6:6) We know that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, in our weakness, when we don’t even know what to pray. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray,  but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.”

Amen to that! Even the Holy Spirit groans. Sometimes the feelings and the needs we have of our Heavenly Father just can’t be expressed in words. God already knows what we need, He is just waiting for us to ask.

I love how The Message bible sets the stage for The Lord’s Prayer.

“This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” Matthew 6:8.

I leave you with just this thought. You are amazing and God can do so much more with you than you may believe. You need to stop letting the enemy bluff you into laying down your cards. Don’t fold on the life and the gifts and the purpose that God has for you. You have the Holy Spirit, a friend who can help you redecorate everything in your life that looks unkept, outdated and out of style and bring you into a place where you can see your own beauty. When that happens, you will be able to see the potential and the beauty in others, and my dear, that is when the real magic and the real miracles of God’s love will start to happen.

Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer as a gift. When the words just don’t come and we have no clue what to say, he gave us the words. He conquered our enemies and has given us a crown of beauty in exchange for the ashes we thought we deserved to wear. It is time to let God go before us. To let the Holy Spirit instruct us. And to take full advantage of all of the gifts that Christ died to give us. Fullness in Him, satisfaction and grace, mercy unending and eternity in celebration for the victory we have already achieved.

The Lord’s Prayer (The Message Bible)

Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.

He is ablaze in beauty and you are His creation, His reflection of that beauty. Own it, and enjoy your moment of victory in Christ. It is eternal, and for that, we can give glory, honor and praise.

Thank you, Lord for all of this. Always let these words be yours, let people hear and feel you and let me always remember that none of these words are possible without you, without the promptings of your Holy Spirit, without my salvation in Christ, and without the precious holy words you have given us to stand firm.

Amen

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