Monday, March 26, 2012

next steps

(c) puresunday

oh.  what to do with myself.
Here's the backstory.

A few weeks ago, I finished what would be two years which I chose to consecrate to the LORD.  There were specific things I chose to abstain from in order to set myself apart, and to devote that heart space wholly and holy to the LORD (Side note: It wasn't until after I finished the two years that I realized it was practically a Nazarite vow, complete with the growing/not-cutting of my hair). After it finished, I was at this strange place of - I don't know what to do with myself.

It's not that God owes me anything.  That's something I've told myself this whole time.  No, God doesn't owe me anything just because I gave Him this time.  God doesn't owe me anything ever.  He's just so overwhelmingly gracious.  In fact, I was at a place of resolution- maybe He shouldn't give me anything.

The solitary lifestyle of prayer and worship had wound so tightly around me, that I both jokingly and honestly considered nunnery!  After all, their lives are devoted to prayer, worship, mercy, simplicity, modesty... all the things I love.  Then I can come out of my cave to tend to garden.  Perfect.
Everyone hates that idea.  Especially my parents.  Rightfully so.  My dad finds the most non-sensical opportunities to say "And it says in the Bible, 'Be fruitful and multiply!'" ~don't get me wrong! This is not about relationships.  What I'm saying is, my desire to live an outwardly consecrated life had overridden the desire for a variety of things, from a family of my own, to the "minor" things like careers and dreams.

Or so I told myself.

In fact, once the vow ended, in my mind I got technical and said, "Actually, because of [this or that event] the consecration actually ends in June.  or August."  Well.  That shouldn't be a factor, because if God were urged by time, my consecration (technically) has been going on for four years.  It's also very easy for me to volunteer to extend my vow of consecration.  Volunteer to make the consecration a little bit more intense.  Give up a little more.  A lot more. maybe.

But then the LORD told me....

"Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain."
- Exodus 20.27

My heart was exposed.  It IS exposed.

If I'm being honest with myself, my next step is not to continue a consecration of outer things to force my heart in line with Him.  I could do that, and there's nothing wrong with that, but that's not my real "desire," and the motives are not pure.  It's my excuse to not take a step forward.  It's fear of the unknown.  It's my lack of trust.

As I looked at next steps, I've been coming up with ideas of places that would hide me from trusting, hide me from the potential of getting hurt, hide me from people.  I often struggle with the purpose of community.  I hid behind my relationship with God... when all this time, I've been using it as my excuse to not reach out and even let myself be reached.

So what do I do with myself?

For one thing, regardless of whether or not I take part in these external things, I don't want my heart position to change.  This has always been my real desire - to keep myself consecrated to the LORD.  I still want to be as devoted to prayer and worship and Bible study.  I still want to be at a place of willingness to sacrifice.  I still want to live a life that is set apart as holy to the LORD.  If He brings situations and open doors my way, I will trust Him and walk through it in faith.

All these things are doable with or without the vow.  But initially, I did it as an outward declaration of abandonment to Jesus.

The point of this post is not to disregard Nazarite vows or fasting, because I am still a great advocate of it (When the LORD gives the OK, I will talk about what He taught me).  All I'm saying is that we can't do things, or declare to do things "in God's name" just to make something right when we know that we ordained it, and He didn't.  We can't tack on the words "God said," when God didn't really say.

However, we can be sure of at least one thing He did say: "Trust me."

Jesus, my heart is Yours.  Come feast or famine, plenty or want, I adore You, and there is none before You.  I trust You, Jesus, You always know what is best for me.


ps- that photo on the top was taken two years ago. fitting.

currently listening: Lisa Gottshall "All Is for Your Glory"
currently watching: The Prince of Egypt
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