One of my favorite things to do is talk; I could literally talk to a wall and still be happy. My car, or any car in general, is my favorite place to talk. If you ride in a car with me for any time exceeding five minutes I can assure you I am going to start a conversation with you and keep it going, no matter how willing/unwilling you are to participate back in it. My SUV, whose name is Charlie by the way, has heard some of my most vulnerable, heaviest, and deepest conversations. He has heard my laughter, seen my tears as I cry out prayers and praise, and seen moments where I’ve just completely handed it all over to God. Charlie is a great listener…
It doesn’t matter where I am parked or what time is it, a deep conversation is inevitable. I’ve had conversations at 2 in the morning in a friend’s front yard, Wal-Mart/Hobby Lobby’s parking lot, the BCM on my alma mater’s campus (even though I graduated two years ago), and most commonly as of late, the IHOP parking lot. A five second good bye turns into a 45 minute conversation full of confession, advice, wisdom, prayer, and soaking in God’s goodness.
I went to New Orleans this past weekend to visit such a sweet friend to celebrate our birthdays together and we had a great conversation about our testimonies which prompted my last post; however, it led to a conversation with another friend when I came back into town Sunday evening at…you guessed it…IHOP. It originally began while we were indulging in breakfast for dinner but soon turned into another one of our car conversations. It was just too cold in there!
We were talking about following the Lord’s calling on our lives and I admitted I had a hard time discerning His voice from my own lately because of a situation I went through last year where I 100% believed I was listening to what God had told me only to find out it had been my flesh screaming over His voice and Satan enticing me to believe it. (As always, I am super thankful for His mercy and forgiveness in my life.) Anyway, I confessed that during my 4 years as a follower of Christ, I never felt like I had that deep relationship with God. During the fall of last year I had momentarily basked in His presence when His healing hands overcame my soul and emotions and I tasted His goodness. It was the best moment of my life and I wanted it every moment for the rest of my life until the Lord calls me home.
I’ve become so worried in disappointing people lately because I feel like I am always falling short of everyone’s expectations for me, my work ethic, my morals/values, and my life. I just kept missing the mark (Scripture says we fall short of the glory of God…so of course I will always fall short to man) and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it; to me, I need to meet their expectations in order to be happy with myself. That is a lie and completely contradicts scripture.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Referring back to my last post, I said Islam was very works based…and so is my personality. I am a doer and I don’t like being still and not having something that needs to be done. I never realized until this conversation that I still viewed my relationship with Christ as a works based relationship because of my upbringing. I’ve felt like I’ve been failing so much lately and my life is a disappointment that I believed God thought so too, so why even try?
I marvel at the fact that He has called me by name, He perfectly planned my life, knitted me together, and breathed breath into my lungs, all while being the Creator of the universe and everything in it. How could He want ME? Why would he? This amazing God wants me to serve Him and spend eternity with Him? I am so unworthy. I don’t deserve it. While it’s a good thing to view Him so reverently I made it a sinful thing. I thought that he was TOO good for me…which in all actuality He is, but He still wants me. (Hallelujah!) I felt like anything I did was never going to live up to His expectations or I wasn’t going to live a life that was worthy enough to call Him Lord; therefore, I slowly distanced myself from seeking Him and relied solely on my works.
I never realized I was still works based until this conversation…God is good to reveal sin in my life to bring me closer to Him. This conversation was crucial to my eternity and my life here on Earth so that I can serve with the right intentions and a pure heart. It was necessary so I can form that deep relationship with Him I so badly long for. I can now view Him as a forgiving Father instead of a boss I am trying to please. A burden has been lifted and now I feel like I can go running to Him and His arms will be wide open. I am the prodigal son.
The beauty of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is that His blood has covered my sins; it has covered your sins. We no longer have to live in fear or bondage that our works and our offerings will never be enough, Christ took care of that at Calvary. We must only call on Him as Savior and make Him Lord over our lives. We are nothing but filthy rags; yet, He still wants us. We will never be worthy of God by works and words alone, but thankfully because of that day at Calvary we can be reborn and adopted into the kingdom of God and be made worthy with His cleansing blood.
“22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” James 2:22-26