The Narrow Gate

Have you ever started to say something and weren't sure how to formulate your words? After saying several "Uh's" and "Um's" and "Well's", the words finally come out? Me too. And this is one of those moments. I'm just going to trust the Lord because I truly believe they are His words. I am just the vessel, tip-tapping away here at my keyboard. 

Over the last month, I have been on a quest to hear from God what He wants me to do for His kingdom. In such a time as this, it is imperative that I lean closely to Him and turn off the outside noise. Unfortunately, that outside noise can be very loud and very convincing. So, I did a literal shut down, went camping and sat for about 5 hours listening to God and boy did He show up! 

Sometimes, it can be scary to sit alone with God because, sometimes, He is going to call us to do things that will be risky. For what, you might ask? 

Well, risk losing friendship. 
Risk being questioned or ridiculed. 
Risk losing respect from some and risk being persecuted for your beliefs. 

The one thing I can be sure of is, God will be faithful, He will give the right words, He will provide the right scripture and He will be solid ground. It really comes down to who am I trying to please?

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
Pleasing God is going to look totally different than pleasing people. There is no glossing over or choosing words carefully when it comes to the work of God. If we read through the gospels, we see Jesus sharing how to live life in ways that are not always gentle. In fact, His words made some people quite angry. There are times, as I read His words, I cringe just a little bit and wonder, "Gosh Jesus, couldn't you have maybe chosen more gentle words to get your point across? You want people to follow and love you, right?" 

As I have gotten deeper in ministry and leadership in my church, God has continued to peel back layers of my soul. Who knew one could create so many layers for themselves!?! What I learned is, I want people to like me. I want them to respect me and I want people to want to know Jesus. This latter want isn't necessarily bad but, how I go about it can be. What does this mean? Well, if I choose to be gentle with my words, leave certain parts of scripture out because I feel they will be too harsh or avoid certain topics for fear of debate, then I am doing a disservice to those who God places in my path. It needs to be less about wanting people to like me so they will listen but, more about trusting God with His words while also trusting that He will speak to them exactly as He intends. It is less about how eloquent and friendly I can be and more about being obedient to  God's calling in my life. 

In my seeking to learn and listen, the Holy Spirit has given me a resounding message. I would be doing a disservice if I spoke gently or glossed over issues. It would be a sin, for me, if I avoided controversial topics and avoided social issues because I wanted to avoid confrontation. During my camping week, I had nowhere to go. There was no avoiding Jesus and He was telling me truth loud and clear. And, I want to share with you what will be transpiring from now on. 

Since that week, I have stepped down from leading ministry at my church. It was bound to happen, anyway, because I am returning to school and it would not be wise to work full-time, lead a ministry and go to school full-time. However, to be honest, this was something that has been on my mind for a year. I didn't avoid it but, I cautiously listened. My tendency is to get super excited when God gives me vision and go all in without thinking. While God loves His children to go all in, He also gave us wisdom, His timing and discernment for a reason. So, sometimes jumping in came too soon. When the thought to step away first came up, you can understand why I was cautious. I didn't want to make a knee-jerk reaction. It was clear God was cultivating and preparing me and so, while the need to step away was coming, it would be awhile as He did what He does best. 

What an amazing and incredible God I get to serve! He knows His children so well. He knows us better than we do! How can that be? I know my deepest thoughts, desires and what makes me tick. But, He created me! He knows my inner-workings. He knows what is to come and prepares the way. I just have to stop and thank Him for being His omniscient and omnipresent self! Wow God. 

Okay, so that time finally came to step down. It was easy for me to make because the Holy Spirit prepared me in such a way that made it easy. Don't get me wrong. Stepping down wasn't easy in that I said "sayonara!" and "peace out!" to my church family. No, now that was difficult. Relationships had been cultivated through the years of leading women's ministry so, it was definitely difficult in that respect. What makes it easy is when I remind myself who I am serving. 

I love what Paul says in his letter to the people of Thessalonica. As he traveled and shared the gospel, he shares Who he did this for.
For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approached by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Stepping down from my role in ministry is freeing me up for school but, it is also making space for what God is calling me to. Which is trust His voice and only serve Him. What I do is not gain approval from who reads this. The words I share on ones inspired by the Holy Spirit and from scripture. It's time to speak truth with no glossing over the truth. 

What you will never hear from me on this blog - "I am Enough". Why? Because I'm not without God. HE is all need and supplies all I need. He does the same for you. 

What else? - "Love is love." Why? Because not all love is love. Some love is actually love disguised by lust and sin. We will dive into that one and nothing will be off limits. 

What will you read? All lives matter. God is love. He is enough. He is victorious. 

I know some of those words can be a trigger for some. Here is what I want you to know. Everything I share will be in love because God is love. Sometimes we have to stop straddling the fence and settling for "good enough". In a world that is heavily influenced by celebrities, social media, celebrities on social media, Christian celebs and on and on, sometimes we fall in to the dangerous pit of compromising and choosing what is "almost right". Because it sounds good. We can keep one foot in the world and appear accepting while still acknowledging God and His gospel. 

Romans 12:2 gives us some pretty clear direction though: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

People, stop letting the world conform your mind! Test everything to the word of God. Is it true to what He says? Is it good, acceptable and perfect? If you answer yes to all those things, you are in a good place but, if any of those are answered with a wishy washy answer, you best pause and listen to what God says through His word. Then, you need to make a choice. Will you enter through the narrow or wide gate? (Matthew 7:13)

I choose the narrow gate. 

It looks less roomy. Not as many people are going through it. The path looks a little bit sketchy but, wait, there is Someone there! He seems kind. He exudes peace. Ah, it is the Good Shepherd. Yes, I will take the narrow and less traveled path. 

Will you join me? It's about to get even more uncomfortable. 



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