Archive of ‘Teachings’ category

Overwhelmed

By Brooke

overwhelmed

I heard it at least 50 times and from just about everyone I know last week. I am…Overwhelmed. And not the good kind of overwhelmed either. It was the kind of statement that was usually followed by a string of possibilities at remeding a monumental impending fallout.

I myself often feel overwhelmed. We all have a lot of roles we play. Mother, wife, sister, friend, leader, student, co-worker, boss, etc. On average we are anywhere between 2 and 5 of those at any given time on any given day. Realizing that, its a wonder any of us are anything other than overwhelmed.

Here is the thing about overwhelm, its exhausting and lonely. Overwhelm, in that sense anyway, feels like the whole world is resting on your shoulders. It feels like failure and defeat. It feels like the voice in your head that says “I told you so” is right.  It feels like the very last straw…you know, the one that actually breaks the camels back.

Side note…is it always the same camel? or like camels in general? Because camels are incredibly strong. It would take a lot of straw. Unless it was the same camel…and then I am afraid he would be buried by all that straw well before it would break his back. Just sayin’. 

I got to wondering… what is the remedy for overwhelm? Yes yes, I know what you are thinking. Make a list. Prioritize it. Delegate. Pray. Read the Bible. Spend time with God. Get on your mat. Blah Blah Blah. But all of those are short term modifications that rarely give lasting relief. In fact, if we commit to doing all the above and fall short, the tools we put in place to alleviate our overwhelm become the source of overwhelm themselves.

And so the hamster wheel spins.

Maybe the answer is to redefine overwhelm. Maybe (like most words) overwhelm has another meaning. Maybe if it meant something other than defeat, then when I used it, it would illicit a different response.

In Matthew 28, when Jesus gives the great commission and says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The word baptize means (get this) to overwhelm. It also means to cleanse by submerging.

It seems as if The Lord is saying “ As my disciples, your inheritance gives you part with me in my authority. The authority that is over all of heaven and all of earth. Knowing that, go. Go wherever I have placed you. Working in whatever influence I have given you with whatever group of individuals I have placed you in. Overwhelm them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Clearly, paraphrase mine)

The word God uses for overwhelm in our co-mission with Christ spins our understanding, doesn’t it? To baptize is to overwhelm. The power of the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, overwhelms. It saturates and consumes but when it does, it brings LIFE. It breaks no backs nor buries its beloved. It defends and it defeats.

The next time I am feeling overwhelmed, I will choose to take Him at His Word and remember that He is able to do immeasurably more than anything I could ever hope for or imagine. Overwhelm has a new meaning, friends, and that is very good news.

Joy Is Found In Presence

By Brooke

“The LORD your God is in your midst; he is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; he renews you by his love; he shouts for joy over you.”
Zeph 3:17

 I was reminded today of the Lord’s joy. I remembered how it was for the JOY set before Him, Christ endured the cross. He knew that joy is found in the presence of His Father.

Your faithful Father will deliver you today, by His love, into His presence as He shouts for joy in anxious anticipation to simply spend time with you.

 Enjoy it friends… In Joy.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Brooke

And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed herself into the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he beat her again.
Numbers 22:25

 Balaam’s donkey responded to The angel of the Lord, even when it meant that she disobeyed the owner she had always been faithful to. She went as far as pinning her masters leg against a wall in order to be obedient. All of creation is faced with the same question Balaam’s donkey was… “Do you serve man, or do you serve me?”

 Balaam couldn’t see what his faithful companion could see, and she risked his favor for the favor of her real Master. May we be so bold today.

Especially If we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place (or a donkey).

Can I Get a, “Glory!”?

By Brooke

I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful in putting me into ministry, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.
1 Timothy 1:12 -13

 Can I get an amen? I mean really now…who can NOT relate with Paul here?

   I have a friend, Alaine, who always shows her agreement with the Spirit with a verbal “Glory!” accompanied by a hand wave. I love it when she does it – so much so that I’ve adopted it. Except I only do it when I’m alone because, in my mind, I look as cool as Alaine and, in reality, well, i don’t. I tell you that today because THIS IS ONE OF THOSE SCRIPTURES that you know you can fully relate to. Each and everyone of us can.

 Its one that deserves an Alaine type of agreement. So can I get a “Glory!” with a hand wave today, friends?

 Go on.

Do it.

You’ll be glad you did.

And so will He.

Forget Everything You Knew About God

By Brooke

“Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it? Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness.”

Our Lord is The Lord of more. We read this in Isaiah 43 on the backdrop of how faithful God is – how strong He is. He alone can exalt or destroy.

AND THEN HE SAYS… Forget everything you know because I’m doing something new.

Forget how good I’ve been because I want to show you MORE of my goodness.

Forget how faithful I’ve been because I want to shower you with MORE faithfulness.

Forget how I’ve fought for you because I want to show you MORE of my strength.

He’s doing a new thing and He’s wondering if we can perceive it. Perceiving in itself is a feat of faith. Today Are we open to daring to believe for something new? Something even better than we’ve ever imagined before?

What Destroys Revival

By Brooke

revival

A friend of mine was recently telling me about revival. How revivals work…and how they don’t.

He said that the three things that define a revival are:

1. The power of testimony

2. Prayer and

3. Worship.

I was surprised the Word didn’t make the top three… But those three make sense. Revival by definition is a fresh and needed breath. Revival is always about refreshment in His presence and by His Spirit. Those three things draw us into the holiness of who God is at His simplest. I mean if you can simplify God.

While there are three things that inspire revival, there’s only one thing that destroys it.

Us.

Well meaning and well educated humans who love and live in Jesus. See, we start to think we add something to the work of God. We get so wrapped up in doctrine and theology and dissecting faith that we lose it. We forget that He is responsible for doing it all. All of it. We buy into the lie that we have something to add to His fullness. We assume we have something to do with the faith growth around us… and that we must be onto something if people around us are growing. News flash… We don’t.

Please don’t assume that ! don’t value the Word of God. I value it immensely because it is the revelation of God Himself and is profitable for teaching and training me up in faith.

It’s just when the study of the Word is not accompanied by prayer, worship, and an evidenced effect of God’s Godness on our personal lives that it loses something. Or maybe it loses everything.

We are called to be the fragrance of The Lord, a sweet aroma to those living and perishing alike. Our praises and our worship are a sweet aroma to Him; our prayers draw us into His inner sanctuary. And we can’t help but be affected by his presence. It’s in Him alone that we find out who we are and what we are living for. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and directs our steps on the path of holiness. We can’t just know the Word without living in the God it professes. If we do then we are missing the point and our words (as holy rehearsed as they may be) become resounding gongs bringing us glory.

We just can’t forget that His presence gives life; it gives way to transformation. And we can trust Him because his Word tells us that He is faithful and that we are sealed by the blood of Christ for the day of redemption. His Spirit was given to us a deposit. When we are in His presence we can trust what we experience because His Spirit deposited in us testifies with the fullness of His Holy Spirit.

Revivals used to last 70 years. Now the average one lasts 2. We’ve made too much of ourselves, friends. We’ve taken too much credit. Or at least I have.

So Lord… my life, my ministry, my marriage, my parenting and especially my leadership… I give back to you whole heartedly. I repent for the places I’ve taken responsibility for work only you can do.

Thanks for reminding me that you stayed on all sorts of hooks so I could be taken of all of mine.

Im asking for revival Lord. Now that I know my place. You promise refreshment. So come Lord, do not delay. In your strength and your presence alone will I find rest.

Come Lord. Breathe. Selah.

Comparison – It’s Not About The “We”

By Brooke

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My best friend, Alisa, wrote a blog last week that gave voice to the thing God is most recently working out in me. And since God is a God of relationship, it seems He is working it out in those closest to me at the very same time. If you haven’t read her blog, read it HERE first and then come on back to me.

So I suppose I should start with a praise offering before I go into my pile of crap with you. That way the stench of what needs sacrificing doesn’t overwhelm the fact that my offering is ultimately a fragrance welcomed by God, no matter how old and infected it may be.

I praise God for relationship. I praise God for intimacy. I praise God for the full length mirrors He has given me as gifts and tools for lifelong self-reflection who bear the names Jarrett, Jory, Jace and Brynn. I praise God for best friends who not only bring to light things one on one, but broadcast it to the blogging world in order that hiding from accountability is not an option. I praise God for light. I praise God for freedom.

I am also on the verge of praising for the things that hold me back in certain places. I say on the verge, because embracing my deficiencies are never moments I charge excitedly. I mean I will do it, because God has made me obedient, but I don’t like it.

And so IT is (this week at least), comparison.

Comparison has been a companion of mine for my entire life. If we are honest, its in all of us. It bears names like education, money, intellect, beauty, weight, status, and success just to name a few. We are born into a society and bred by that society to compare. It’s so rooted in us that we don’t even know we are doing it. Not only are we being done (or undone) by it, we are perpetuating it.

Webster’s dictionary defines comparison as the act of comparing and also simultaneously the state of being compared. Do you get that? Comparison is the thing we do externally as a manifestation of what we are doing internally.

There is nothing like relationships that matter to us to draw out in us this deep seated root of comparison. We are drawn to those who reflect the truest nature of our inmost selves. For the most part we really appreciate them for who they are – until we realize that those people are a reflection of what we really like most about ourselves. Then we are faced with the question “is there enough of that to go around?”. Thats why marriage gets hard. Thats why friendships (real ones) get hard, because God uses them to wake us up to deeper places in us.

Annndddd so it is with Alisa. Alisa is a leader of the finest degree. She is fearless and brilliant. Articulate and generous. Stunning and strong. Everything I want to be when I grow up. Alisa has all the things I ask God to make me in ministry. What a perfect place for the creeper called comparison to take root.

God says in Galatians 6:4-5 in the Message “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” It sounds easy. It’s not. I am not allowed to add to the Bible, but if I was, I would add “God helping you” to Galatians 6:4-5, because Lord knows He needs to.

It first began when I started to see Alisa step into the fullness of who God has created her to be, specifically in her teaching of the Word and her leadership in ministry. I say it began there because it was a quick landslide. I found myself jealous of the restoration work God was doing in her marriage. The very marriage I had been petitioning for in prayer (without ceasing) for the last four years. Gross. What the hell? What is that? I clearly see my crazy but why do I know better yet can’t do better? I need a Savior, stat.

See, I need people to like me. I need people to want me to be around and I need people to think I am great in order to feel worth. Ok, that’s not pretty to write. It’s not pretty to admit (to myself, let alone all of you) and it’s not pretty that it’s true.

My comparison trap is I want to be the best at whatever I do and if I perceive anyone else as better, I have a problem. My problem is not against flesh and blood, but is one of spirit. I am not assaulted by Alisa and her beautiful being, I am assaulted by a lie of the enemy that says “if Alisa is good at this, there is no room for you to be good at it too.” It’s a scarcity mentality. It’s a lie that says there is not enough to go around. Without the Spirit of the Lord plumbing the depth of my being, I would assume Alisa is the problem. I would make Alisa, what my sister Stephanie calls, a “we” problem. My issue of comparison who happens to be wearing the name “Alisa” is not a “we” problem, its a “me” problem. Its a spiritual problem that the Lord is wanting to heal in me.

And here is the truth. For a while Alisa and I kept it at bay. We would confess to each other right away when our feelings of jealousy would pop up in order that we have fellowship with one another in the light. We know what the Word says and we were doing it…but God often has something more. God had for each of us something more than the “we”. “We” were good. “We” were honest and still the “we” felt unsettled. We know now that God was interested in the “me” in both of us. We needed individual explorations of the heart. I went on my “me” journey and realized that our “we” lacking was a reflection of my “me” needs.

ComparisonQuote_Blog2

Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of Joy.” As a lover of the great Lover, my joy is found in the person and anchor of Jesus Christ. To compare myself with others is to intentionally look Christ in the face and say “you are not enough”. What you have for me and all that your Word promises, is not enough. It’s to say that the temporal fix from believing that I am “better than her” or “it’s all her  fault” is more secure than the act of Christ on the cross.

In closing, can I ask you an honest question? Do you have a “we” situation that is troubling you today? Could your “we” problem simply be the lowest hanging fruit, per se? The fruit most easily picked on. Or off. The ones that could easily be discarded as hopeless and in need of disposal? Or could there be something more than the “we” ? Could the Lord be calling you to the “me”?

The remedy of “we” is found in the remedy of “me”. By definition, comparison is the act of comparing and also simultaneously the state of being compared. In Christ we are anchored to Him. He defines us and in Him there is no room for lack, scarcity, or comparison.

And there it is, friends. In the words of my sister and bestie por vida…

Boom.

vivid

God’s Initiating Love

By Stephanie

_HYR0156

Holy Yoga Retreat #16 is in the bag. I think it was #16. I lose
count. Not because I don’t care or that they get in any way less
significant, but because I tend to follow closely the things I can
take credit for…and there are very few things that are Holy Yoga
retreats that I can take credit for. Very few.

It was Holy. Set apart for the express intent of meeting and engaging the Lord.

It was yoga. Meditation, Breath and Movement. All with the hope of meeting Him.

And He came. In full measure.

The first night, we committed to doing the week “alone together.” We
offered our time to the Lord as individuals who happened to be on the
same journey for a week.  We committed to showing up every day to
every session, whether we felt closest in or furthest out. We
committed believing that the Word and His Spirit were our anchor for
the week. That we would place them above any emotion. Any revelation.
Any disappointment. Any fear and All deliverance.

And He came. In full measure.

Somewhere along the way, I am not sure where, but I was overcome. I
suppose it was because He came. Yes, that’s it. He came. He always
does. Not in some creepy way as though He was sneaking up on me. But
in presence. The kind of presence that when He  comes you can not help
but be drawn by Him. By His love. By His patience. By His grace.

Holy Yoga is the vehicle that He has chosen for such a time as this to
minister to my heart. So I get it. I get what each and every one of
those who are with me this week experienced. I get it. Even 7 years
in, I get it. He is always new. It’s the Gospel way. The old becomes
new when He comes.

In full measure.

God loves with an initiating love. A love that never quits. A love
that says I don’t love you because you make me happy, but because I
choose to love you. I choose. You. It’s what the bible calls an
a’havah kind of love. A love that says “I see all of your crazy. All
of your nasty. All of your falling gravely short. AND I STILL CHOOSE
YOU.”

We don’t love like that. Ok, I DONT LOVE LIKE THAT.  I realized this
week that while I don’t love like that NOR do I know how to…the Lord
loves me like that and today Him loving me without any action in
return in enough. I can’t give if I have never received. So today I
receive. Things unmerited. Love I am unworthy of. Patience that
propels me into not more of myself, but more who i was created to be.

I learned this week about who I was created to be. Whose image I have
been fashioned out of. I learned about brokenness. I learned about
redemption. I learned about recovery. I learned that I (and you) are
wholly and dearly loved.

He came. In full measure.

God never holds back. His fullness, at least to the capacity in which
we are able to receive, is always available to us. Always. All ways. I
suppose its just a matter of perception. Or obedience. Perhaps they
are one and the same.

On the other side of #16, I say a simple thing. Thank you. Thank you
Lord for showing up. Thank you for taking all the credit. Thank you
for letting us all off the hook and for the ability to travel lightly.

He said in the beginning of the week “It is for freedom I have set you
free. Stand firm then and be careful not to take on another yoke of
slavery.” Fellow #16’s, we live a gospel life. One where we are always
before Him. Always in process. Firm and secure and conscious of the
yokes that threaten to bind.

And we petition. We ask. We plead. We pray…

Come. In full measure.

He will never disappoint for He can never disown Himself. He will hold
both sides of the covenant. He will when we can’t. He will simple
because it’s His will.

I will never forget this week. I may forget the number, but I will
never forget a name, or a face, because together we fought for
freedom.

And won.