From Average to Ablaze: 6 Practices That Keep My Fire Alive

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Hey friends! If you read my last post, you'll know that one of the things I'm passionate about is making your theology become your reality. Do you know what I mean by that? Whatever it is you read in Scripture or know intellectually, I want it to get down into the marrow of your bones and so it becomes the reality of your daily life. Today we're talking about possessing and maintaining our pure, unadulterated love for Jesus. Because this doesn't alway come naturally yet I really believe that this is the foundation to everything else you do. If you love Jesus, you will automatically live on mission. When you really love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, all of your "should do's" will become "want to's". Just like your relationships in your life require care and tending, so does your relationship with Jesus. I don't know about you but I don't want an "average" or "meh" relationship with Jesus. I want to be ablaze in my love for Him. When I love Him the most, I am filled with His fullness and animated by His Spirit. I'm full of joy and peace. The most wild of dreams and daunting of tasks seem possible when my flame is burning. These are a few things I've been practicing, many of them for years and some are relatively new. Let's get started!
 

  1. The Scriptures. This might seem like an obvious one but hang on! Jeremiah 23:39 says, "Is my word not like fire?" declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" If God Almighty is comparing His Word to fire and a hammer that can break the rock in pieces, it's not possible to be ablaze without it. There are various ways I go about reading and studying Scripture (maybe a post for another time) but what has been a game changer for me and really helps me make my theology a reality is not just when I read it, but stand up, and get loud about it. I bring soul and spirit into agreement with God's Word and activate my faith when I start getting mouthy (faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of God!) This is what I mean: I wouldn't just read a verse like the one from Jeremiah above and think, "aw, that's cool! God's Word is like fire!" I would stand up, and declare out loud with enthusiasm, "This Word is FIRE. I agree with You, God, that when I'm around it I'm going to get my fire stoked. This time here MATTERS, and I will never be the same after reading it." Now I sit down and read on and because I'm starting to get some traction. I even feel like standing up to type as I type this because it just gets me all excited thinking about it. There's so much power in speaking Scripture or words that agree with Scripture out loud. Start confessing, proclaiming and declaring! Few other things align my mind and soul with Scripture like this does.
  2.  Witness to someone. It's the last thing you're going to feel like doing when you feel dry or "meh." Trust me on this one. This is proof that the Spirit of God will give you the words you didn't even know you had in you and you'll walk away from that conversation with some fire. This doesn't necessarily have to be a full on Gospel presentation. Sometimes I ask the checker at the grocery store if they have a need I can pray for. Sometimes I remind someone that they're not invisible and that God sees them. However the Spirit leads me, I ask God to give me one second of an insane amount of courage to start that conversation and He always does.
  3. Body Posture. The way you're using your body in the physical always represents the posture of your spirit in the spiritual. Did that go over your head? Let me try to explain. Have you ever felt emotionally exhausted (I know you introverts are raising your hand!) but maybe you're not physically tired enough to need a nap, but you just want to sit or lay down and veg? You don't physically need a nap but you can't seem to want to get up. Now let's flip the story. Say inside, you aren't necessarily feeling the feels for Jesus. I know what some of you are thinking, "It's not about your emotions! You can't let your emotions lead!" Hang tight. Women of God, God gave you emotions and made you emotional. He could have not done this. I think we need to learn to harness our emotions for good. If you think you need not have any emotional feeling for Jesus you are missing out. Jesus himself has emotions for you, I think it's healthy for you to have emotions for Him! There is danger in letting your emotions lead you, but there is wisdom in you leading your emotions. Back to body posture, when I don't "feel it" for Jesus I start getting my body going so my spirit can mine up with my body. Psalm 30:11 says, "You have turned my mourning into dancing, you took of my clothes of mourning and clothed me with gladness." Are you ready to take off the clothes of mourning? Start dancing! Yes, I mean physically dancing! I put some worship music on in my headphones and start dancing, leaping, jumping and moving my body in worship for Jesus. If your spirit is heavy, you can and should offer Him a sacrifice of praise! It'll be the last thing you feel like doing, but step out and try it! I do this to rev up my spirit before I pray and get in the Word!
  4. Pray + Expect. Sometimes I'm so used to praying without ceasing and as I go though my day, that I forget what I'm really doing. Women of God, we are not just talking to our imaginary friend when we pray! Remind yourself that you are in communication with God Almighty who holds the universe in His hands. Remind yourself when you talk to Him that you are up in that throne room of heaven because you are seated in heavenly places and you have access to speak with your Daddy anytime you want. I often call it "throne room time." I also LOVE asking God for something specific and expect to see it though the day. I ask Him for a specific conversation to happen organically that I want to have with my 5 year old. I ask Him to meet people at the grocery store that are broken that I can speak a word of hope to today. I sometime ask him for something small, like "God, can you show me some yellow flowers? They just remind me that You're a beautiful creator and that You love me." I'll usually drive past a field of yellow flowers that day and think of Him. He hears us no matter how large or small our requests.
  5. Serve. This kinda goes along with witnessing. Have you ever had a Sunday morning where you had to be serving somewhere and thought that you really don't want to be there today, you'd rather be in the service or just be able to not be "on" somewhere? I've had that and I'm always encouraged by how God meets me there. Or if you feel "meh" but you know a neighbor or friend needs something and you decide to do it even though you don't feel like it? I encourage you to step out in faith and do it or give it your best anyway! God designed us so that we feel filled up when we pour out!
  6. Get around some people that are ablaze with love for Jesus. When your flame is flickering, you need the fire of community. We need each other. Get some boldness to call a friend from church or someone you see really getting after it and go out for coffee. Don't know where to find some people that are really on fire for Jesus? Go to places where people are going the extra mile. Come early for pre-service prayer or set-up (if you have that). Stay late. Whatever your church has going on, usually the people that are really ablaze are the ones going the extra mile. Get around them. And if you still can't find those people, be what you need. If you need encouragement, go encourage someone else. If you feel alone, go remind someone else that they're not alone. Start a girls night. Text someone and let them know you're praying for them. Keep at it and it will come back to you.
     

Do you guys have any more ideas to add? Does any of this resonate with you? Leave a comment because I'd love to hear about it! I believe you are not meant to be average. You are meant to be a mighty, ablaze woman of God, in Jesus' name and for His glory!

15 years with Jesus

Fifteen years ago today, my life completely changed. I was a 14 year old girl sitting at a youth camp when a preacher named Gus gave an alter call and asked if anyone wanted to come forward and receive Jesus Christ as Lord of their life. I remember absolutely nothing about his message, only that his name was Gus and the alter call. Jesus had been pursuing me since I was in my mother's womb, but pretty intensely began opening my eyes to Him for about 6 or 7 years leading up to that day. I had no idea how my life would change or what following Jesus even would be like, but I knew it was going to be radically different from what I thought the Christian life was.

See, when I was younger than that I thought being a Christian was basically synonymous with being American. At least until I met and became best friends with a girl down the street named Hope. We quickly became friends and spent a lot of time at each other's houses, starting from the time we were about 8 years old. When I stepped into her home, it may as well have felt at foreign to me as stepping into China, because her family's entire way of life was so different from mine. I did not understand why they talked to God like he was a friend right there in the room when they prayed instead of reciting scripted prayers. I did not understand why she was memorizing Scripture with her mom or why she wasn't allowed to wear spaghetti strapped tank tops. Why were people from their church always in their home and how did her parents seem to stay so in love after decades of marriage? Why did they seem to have such joy and peace even though they didn't have all the things the world says will bring it?

Since our friendship remained and grew over the years, I was able to ask her many these questions and I kept getting the same answer over and over. "Jesus, because the Bible says xyz, because Church is..." Once the Gospel was preached to me at that camp, I rose my hand and ran up to that alter faster than you can say "bless your heart." I needed no explanation of all the doctrines, creation vs. evolution, or eschatology. I did not need "proof." I had experienced first hand what life without Jesus was like and seen what life could be like if He was Lord of it. Life with Him just clearly worked and prospered for Hope's family. It was like they had the blueprint that the world didn't seem to have on how to do life well with Jesus as their foundation and have actual rock solid joy and peace.

When I told some people I was close to at the time, I found that not everyone had the same enthusiasm I had. "She'll simmer down, this is just a phase," I heard. I definitely went through my highs and lows in my teenage years, but for the most part, I haven't looked back since that day, June 30th, 2002. I had a drink of that Living Water that satisfies more than anything in this world and I never stopped drinking.

You may have wondered where I've been on this blog or maybe you didn't even notice I stopped. I want to tell you, 15 years into this Kingdom Life, my desire to make Jesus known, whether on this blog or elsewhere, has not diminished a single ounce. I'm not only not simmering down, I'm just heating up. In all my years as believer, I've never had fire in my bones to communicate Jesus to my generation and the generations younger than me like I do now. Because Jesus has become everything to me. I have found Him to be faithful when I wandered. I've found Him pursuing me when I felt neglected. I've found Him fighting for me when I felt defeated. I've found Him to be a solid rock when I was so unstable. And maybe much your surprise, I've found Him to be an absolute blast. He is the thrill of my life. And I want you to experience that with Him too. I want you to experience the abundant, victorious, free life that Jesus wants you to have, and I'm here to talk about. Don't call this a comeback, but make no question, I'm absolutely coming back. 

This post has felt a bit selfish to write, because writing something publicly is usually intended to benefit the reader. So I want to leave you with two things:

1) Don't let it your everyday life as a believer be lost on you. If you are following Jesus, your life is absolutely not normal. You never know who is looking at your life, maybe even an 8 year old girl like I was, noticing that something is radically different. Your life might be testifying to someone about who Jesus is and what He is like beyond the most eloquent of sermons. 

2) If you've been a Christian for a long time, and feel like the Christian life has not been all it's cracked up to be, you may not be experiencing the fullness of all the Jesus came to give you (that was my experience for a long time!). He came that you may have abundant life (John 10:10). If you're wondering how to let that theology and you're reality collide, you're in the right place, because that's exactly what Jesus has compelled me to write about.

Jesus, thank you for relentlessly pursuing me when I was not looking for you. Happy Anniversary to us. 

 

 I love paging through the Bible and journal I was using during those early years of following Jesus. It's half comedic and half precious, which might just my favorite combination for some entertainment!

I love paging through the Bible and journal I was using during those early years of following Jesus. It's half comedic and half precious, which might just my favorite combination for some entertainment!