Recently I watched an interview between the lovely Emily P. Freeman and the equally delightful Annie F. Downs. I have been reading and listening to posts from Emily since the very beginning of my blogging days and to know Emily is to know Annie. I am always inspired when I hear their words.
This time was no exception.
In the course of the interview, Annie said something truly beautiful that is sticking with me. She said that it’s important to stay in your lane, to know what your mission in life is and then to live out of that. Then she said this- staying in your lane allows you to cheer for others who are staying in theirs. You don’t have to feel threatened by others who are living out their purpose. Knowing your mission means you can celebrate the success of others. While their lane might look similar to yours, we ALL have our own lanes. Our circle of influence is unique to us. No one else can claim our combination of strengths and giftings. This frees us to live faithfully to our mission and to be genuinely happy when others are living faithful to theirs.
This concept is so beautiful to me, because I have watched what jealousy does to working relationships. I have observed the results of someone feeling threatened and then feeling a need to minimize or diminish another’s giftings and abilities. It’s so ugly which makes the idea of celebrating others even more beautiful.
I have heard the concept of “stay in your lane” many times in my life, but this added piece of it, to celebrate others along the way, excites me. When others are critical of me, but I know I am staying in my lane, I can let go of trying to live up to their expectations. After all, they are not the ones I am trying to please. Galatians 1:10- Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. When others celebrate my success (defined as staying in my lane!), then I can know that they too are living faithful to their calling.
So stay in your lane and celebrate those who are staying in theirs!
We’re reading through the Book of Acts in our family Bible reading time and today we read a fantastic passage in Acts 5. Go ahead and read verses 17 to 42. It’s worth reading!
The religious leaders of the day were angry at the disciples who they believed were spreading lies and so they imprisoned them to get them to stop talking. God miraculously “released” them from prison- the guards didn’t even know that they were guarding an empty cell! Of course, the disciples went right back to preaching in the temple. So the high priest goes to them and basically says, “Didn’t I tell you to stop talking about this?!!” And Peter replies in verse 29, “We must obey God rather than man.”
I love this response. It’s not one that I believe you can use flippantly to give yourself permission to do whatever you want. But I do believe that there are times when “men” will expect you to act a certain way or do things the way they want you to, yet you know that what they are asking is contrary to what God requires of you. These times are incredibly hard, because people have a tendency to get mean and threatening when they don’t like what you are doing. But when you KNOW that you have sought the Lord’s will and you are convinced that He leading you in a certain way (that is not contrary to scripture!), then you have to obey God, not man.
And so the disciples had to keep telling people about Jesus.
The passage goes on to give an amazingly wise and logical discussion between Gamaliel, an honored teacher of the law, and the rest of the religious leaders. He tells them about others who had led a group of people “astray” and their rebellions came to nothing. They could rest assured that if the disciples were wrong, they would not last. But if they were truly from God, then nothing the leaders could do would be able to stop them.
My logic loving kids were thrilled with this discourse. How joyous it is to read this passage thousands of years later and know that these disciples were speaking the truth. Their “rebellion” has lasted, it has grown, it has spread. And here we are today, the recipients of the blessing of their faithfulness.
Man can’t stop God. It’s not possible.
I know what side I want to be on.
Obey God, not man!
The other day, I introduced my littles to one of my all time favorite movies- “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken“. It’s based on a true story of a girl who pushes through adversity to tenaciously pursue her dream. Her determination to dive on horses in a thrill show during the Great Depression is inspiring and captivating.
This is my last post in my daily Lent writing and there are a couple of things I remembered and discovered through this time. I remembered how much I love writing and how considering topics I want to write about keeps me inspired and intentional. I remembered that God uses my words to be an encouragement to others. And I remembered that I enjoy being vulnerable in this way and inviting others to share in the daily stuff of life.
I discovered that my heart can’t be broken beyond repair. There’s a line in the song “Move” by MercyMe that says, “I just might bend, but I won’t break.” In retrospect, where I thought I was breaking was actually bending. As I have written these posts, I have felt my heart returning to hope. Writing is helping me to move past hurts, to heal, to be restored and redeemed.
My husband told me that he thinks I need to write for me, not worrying about anyone reading my words, but just writing what the Lord lays on my heart to write. That’s what this series of posts has been and I am grateful for it. I’m thankful for those of you who have joined me along the way and I know there are some of you who have read every word! Thank you.
I will not continue to write every day, but I will be writing more frequently than I had been before Lent started. I hope that when people think of me, they will think of words like “tenacious” and “determined”, not “broken” and “hurting”. I want to be a person who continues to pursue dreams no matter what adversity comes my way.
And I want to set an example for my kids who are watching me every day. Brighter days are ahead.
Wild hearts can’t be broken!
I’m struggling to find the words to say for all of the emotions I am feeling on this Good Friday. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross is hitting me in new ways this year. I read these words in Luke 23 and I want to weep.
Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”
But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will. (13-25 ESV)
Nothing deserving death has been done by him… but they were urgent, demanding.
The greatest injustice ever to occur in the history of mankind.
I have found in him no guilt… but he delivered Jesus over to their will.
Jesus was without sin, yet he took on the sins of the entire world.
One of my favorite prayers in all of scripture is found when Jesus prayed on the night before he was crucified. Recorded in Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Not my will, but yours, be done.
Jesus in his darkest days, set an example for all who would follow him. An example to live with open hands. To live obediently to the will of the Father.
When it doesn’t make sense, we can trust the Father’s wisdom.
When we want to fight back, we can be still knowing the Lord will fight for us.
When injustice occurs, we can know that God will bring vindication.
When all seems lost, we can look for the light, because it will shine in the darkness.
Good Friday records the horrors, the injustices, the scourging, the floggings, the betrayals, the scoffing, the demanding, the lies, the fear of man, and the murder of the Son of God.
But praise God, this is not the end of the story!
I read these verses in Genesis 50 and I want to leap with joy!
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (20, ESV)
Just as God used Joseph to bring about the salvation of many during a great famine after his brothers had betrayed him and sold him into slavery, the crucifixion of Jesus would be used to offer salvation to all who would believe.
You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.
It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!