Ready for some more Just Walk Across the Room stuff?
Continuing with the theme from the last entry, God continues to stir my heart to be aware of those around me who are far from God and yet so close to God's heart, that he yearns for them to know him. I have still to reschedule the lunch date with the friend who I want to love on. I'm so thankful God is restoring my health and I'm ready to pursue that encounter this week.
I've learned another neighbor is facing a distressing situation, and I'm receiving some creative ideas for expressing care and love to her. But in so many ways, I feel like I'm in the entry level course on Developing a God-Heart to See and Hear This walking across the room business takes practice! Like Hybels says in the study, it starts with prayer. He somehow manages to get out of bed, knees first, to remind him to offer the day to God for opportunities to share love and whatever words the Spirit gives him, to everyone he meets. Lord, give me this kind of passion and earnestness that comes from a heart that beats like yours! No, I'm not going to get out of bed knees first. There are days when feet first is a creaky process and enough first-of -the-morning exertion! But I do want to consciously pray for opportunities to be used to bring his love to those around me.
Another exercise suggested in the study is to read Psalms 139 and focus on verse 14 which says all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made. What if we lived each day looking for the wonder of others? To notice how each personality and physical feature of people are hand-made, artistically crafted, and each gift or talent selectively endowed. I've set about the day to do this several times and it isn't long before activity and busyness block out that intention, and I forget to focus specifically on God's creation in those I'm intersecting with. I will continue to practice.
One of the bigger assignments in the study is to learn to write our own stories succinctly and without jargon and superiority issues. Will a person far from God understand my familiar-to-Christians-only words? Will I come across as one who has it all together and therefore imply that the listener doesn't? By succinct, Hybels means and recommends a testimony of no more than 100 words and delivered in a minute or so. Of course, that doesn't do justice to all the wonderful things God has done in his people but serves more as an appetizer, a taste of God-flavor that will have them coming back for more. Christians are to be salt in the world; creating spiritual thirstiness. After listening to non-believers' life experiences, and when they seem ready to hear, we may have opportunity to share what God has done for us and his story of redemption.
Can you do that? Could you share your God story in 100 words or less? It was challenging for me and because I've grown up loving God what could I share about how Christ changed my life? During childhood I recognized my sin and need for Christ to redeem and save me, and there was a specific time I made a commitment to follow him, but that hardly marked a huge change in my behavior.
So what has brought the biggest change in my life because of Christ's presence and work of salvation? What experience or encounter would showcase the grace God extended to me that most impacts the way I now live? Here's what I came up with, and I share it to encourage you to make your own story ready to be shareable.
I grew up knowing and loving God and seeing parents who loved him, but I also believed that when I messed up, God was angry with me and I had to work hard to get back into his graces. This produced a lot of guilt in my life and I struggled with anxiety and rejection. My husband died when I was 38 years old, leaving me with 3 dependent children. I no longer had someone to lean on and depend on. I had to face my fears and trust God completely. I learned that Christ's love and peace are unconditional and deep enough to keep me safe , no matter what happens in life. I became more confident and peaceful in relationships and all of life. I'm still a work in progress, but I know the reality of God's comfort and presence with me always, especially during stressful and anxious times.
Blessings my fellow God-flavored saints! May we be his messengers of good news!