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.

Partial Obedience is Disobedience

By Brooke

partial obedience

Kyle Pals Said that “partial obedience is disobedience”. I wish it weren’t. I wish I could get away with giving 95% of my life over to sanctification, to rely on what I know about God or what He has expected of me in the past, but that’s not the way it is.

God asks me daily for full obedience. In every area of life. In the exposed places and in the secret places. I used to think that the places I elected to expose were less vulnerable because they were available for accountability by people around me. But if God sees the heart it means everything, whether I am confessing it with my mouth or not, is exposed. It means that if I do “it” in the dark or in the light, it is seen. It means there are no “secret” places and there is no hiding.

I get caught in the trap of believing that what I have done this far in obedience to Christ is enough. I think I am familiar enough with what it takes to be in right standing with Him and I lean on my own understanding of what He needs today. I take my cues from what He has required of me in the past. While He is the God of yesterday, today and forever, He is talking to me about today. Not yesterday and not tomorrow.

I am reminded of how God told Saul to destroy the Amalekites. He said to leave NOTHING and NO ONE alive. He was clear how He wanted things to go and how He was intending to accomplish His plan. Saul just had to do what He said. And he did… about 95% of the way.

Saul kept some sheep and cows in order to make an offering to the Lord. I can’t help but relate. Isn’t that what the Lord always asked for? Wasn’t that law, the whole offering part? Surely Saul thought he was doing the right thing…the thing that the Lord had always wanted. Saul knew of this God…even if by his own admission it wasn’t his God. It leaves me wondering… if I were Saul, would I have thought something similar? In my rebellious humanness would I have thought “the sacrifice thing is a given. He knows I know that. He must have left that part out because its so obvious”. I would have been 100% wrong concerning that 5% of my obedience.

Obedience really is better than sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22)

That 5% cost Saul his kingship. Samuel reminds Saul in a crushing exchange in 1 Sam 15, that while Saul thought of himself as small (insignificant and unworthy), God gave him all of this…and he didn’t listen to what God wanted THAT TIME. THAT DAY and in THAT CIRCUMSTANCE. God is a God of today and one of complete obedience.

I cant rely on what I think God is asking for today because He has asked for something similar yesterday. It could cost me everything. Partial obedience truly is disobedience.

 

It’s a Get To

By Brooke

steady as a post

There are some days when I can’t believe Holy Yoga is my job. I mean if you can call living your dream a job. Today is one of those days.

When I opened facebook and saw the above post this morning, I wept. Initially I thought it was because of the beauty captured in the photo. Maybe it was the verse. Or maybe it was because the photographer and the model both happen to be my life long sisters.

But aesthetic beauty, while it evokes soul-stirring, it never brings tears like these. These kind of tears come from a knowing of the soul, not just a stirring of it. I re-read the verse and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wept (and wept) because this is what He has done for me in Holy Yoga.

I have had to hold on for dear life to my God on my mat as He has ripped my heart open and laid it bare before His alter.               I have had to cling to the hope of my next breath as He has His was with the one in my lungs.  I have had to repent. I have had to forgive other. I have had to forgive myself. I have had to see things for the first time. And the last time.I have had to stay still when all I wanted to do is run. And I have had to run when I was used to being crushed by the same old weight and sick thinking.

I realized my weeping this morning was not that of a woman buried under the weight of her own sin, but that of a woman who’s mourning had turned into joyous singing. Whose God has held her and made her steady as a post. A woman who may not know who she is at times but knows exactly who her God is.

I wept this morning because He has done great things for me, both on and off my mat. I wept this morning with great anticipation because I know He will do it again. I wept this morning because I am grateful He is not done with me and loves to save me. He is not at all offended by my desperation. In fact He can’t wait to hold me and comfort me and to transform me into the likeness of His beloved Son.

That is My God. This is His ministry and this is my get to. That is why I wept.

I pray that God will give grace and abundance to His ministry of Holy Yoga so that more people know this kind of love affair with their King. Will you join me in praying for Holy Yoga? That it would swell by the outpouring of His life changing Spirit? Would you pray fiercely with me for this kind of revival?

Hold on for dear life and He will hold you steady you as a post. No matter where, when or how. Our God is faithful.

Top Ten Things I Learned At ICWC

By Stephanie

fingers crossed

10. Hard things are worth doing.

9. I can’t wait until I am ready to do something. I have to trust that in the process I will be made ready.

8. Body image and self-esteem are interchangeable and they have nothing to do with my body. They

have everything to do with my beliefs.

bye

7. I can’t dance. Not even a little bit. BUT I did have fun trying. RefitRev, you girls can move.

refit

6. PVC pipe and duct tape. Who knew?

5. God doesn’t need our body to spread the Gospel. We do.

4. The definition of fit is two pronged. It is to be moved out of something and into something else. The

posture we must take on the “out of” is one of surrender. The posture we must take on the “into” is

one of cooperation and participation. When God moves us, He is always bringing us into an exceedingly

good land.

3. God is up to revival in wellness.

2. It is ok to agree to disagree, but it’s never an excuse to leave the table.

dinner group

1. It’s never about the mirror, but the One we mirror that matters.

pena

*Check out Alisa’s spreecast about wrapping up ICWC here.

*Alisa learned ten things at ICWC too! Check out her list here.

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.