Finding Hope in Obedience to His Calling

ProcrastinationBook.HS.Original

Yes. I know. There has been another lull in my posting.

Perhaps I should apologize. Not necessarily to you, though.
I need to apologize to Him.
Repent, if you will.

____________________

I’m a good starter, but I’m not always a good finisher. I enjoy the creative process and what follows to get ideas off the ground, but I’ve had to learn to be the type of person who submits the final report or finishes the project to the end. I don’t have an issue with this when it comes to doing a project for another person, for a group or for a supervisor; my issue shows itself when I do something for me. I guess you could call me a “procrastinator” of sorts — when it comes to my own projects, ideas, tasks or to-do list. I have a theory as to why I am this way … and perhaps I’ll share that with you some time in the future!

(My husband, many years ago, bought me a book about overcoming procrastination. I had every intention of reading it. Years after that, he found it, saw I had never read it, and tried to give it away to a book drive for charity. I pulled it out of the box with every intention of finally reading it. Surprise! I never did. It’s on my “list” of “I’ll get to it” items.)

____________________

So why the lull…again? I wrote about this once before. This time, it’s not about listening to my calling; it’s about being obedient to my calling.

I’m struggling with baring my soul.

It was easier to write when my audience only knew me via the web. Now my audience is a mix of friends, family, acquaintances, strangers AND those who found me on the web. Sometimes it’s easier to be more open with those who don’t really know you. It can be tough to be open and reflective with those who see you at the post office, sit beside you in Bible studies, live over the mountain, catch a status, read a tweet or remember you when you wore your hair in piggy tails.

My calling hasn’t changed. I still feel as though He is leading me to share how I’ve surrendered my own hopes to Him in an effort to seek His will, strengthen my walk and live out the life He has planted within me. My audience, however, has changed.

Some of you are reading these posts…
…because you are on your own hope-filled journey
…because you want to follow my journey.
…because you know me.
…because a friend recommended you to me.
…because you want to support me as He’s called (thank you!!).
…because you want to see my cracks.

Additionally, some of you are reading these posts…
…because you are cheering for me through life’s challenges.
…to hold something over me.
…to take credit for something in my life.
…to see if I’m genuine.
Some of you are reading to see if I’ll crumble.

And then, there are some out there who aren’t reading these posts at all…some of whom I wish would be reading them.

These things are all a part of putting oneself out there. I know that. I’m just being really honest when I say that it makes it tough to write sometimes. Rather than write, I procrastinate. I start a lot of posts, but I am challenged to finish them.

So why SHOULD I bare a part of my seeking soul here on the web? Some of the reasons to choose to do so have been of my own doing, and some have not. The answer could be for many of the reasons listed above. If I were to find a hypothetical, big, ol’ glass bottle, and if I were to insert the mish-mash of reasons into it, and if I were to shake it all up and see which reason would rise to the top, well…

His calling for me would be the reason that would rise to the top.

The method of our calling does sometimes change, but, as believers, our purpose for being called does not.

We’re called to live our lives in such as a way as to point back toward Him.

No, we don’t all have to write a blog as a part of the process. I could live my life more quietly by picking and choosing who knows some or any of the details. I could walk a fine line to be seen but not heard. I just feel I’ve been led to reach out to others by sharing parts of how I find my hope, which, every now and then, leads others to reach back to me for prayer, confirmation, guidance and God-honoring input. Maybe, just maybe, some of you are finding a kind of hope in your own life by reading and pondering what I share.

Ann Voskamp, author of the book One Thousand Gifts (which you can find at DaySpring or Amazon), wrote in her five-session Study Guide to the book (which you can also find at DaySpring or Amazon),

“When we receive gifts, grace, and joy, and give them to others, we are fresh and filled with life. And when we receive, take and hold on to the good gifts of God and never pour out for others, we become bitter and toxic.”

So, even if all of those other reasons I listed above challenge me and cause me to occasionally feel as though I’m under a magnifying glass, and if being obedient to His calling points back toward Him, honors Him, honors His blessings in my life and honors others, then I need to move forward. I feel “fresh and filled with life” when I follow His calling in obedience, and I don’t want to become “bitter and toxic” by failing to recognize or share the grace, gifts and joy I’ve received from Him in abundance.

…which means I should be obedient to His calling on this season of my life.

It also means I’ll seek to write more…for your sake, for my sake and for His glory.

 

_____________________________________________

Finding Hope in His Calling

MaryCarver - Copy

Yes, you are right. I haven’t posted much in the last few months. I’ve been on a journey…a journey of silence. I felt Him calling me to “Be still…” (Psalm 46:10) and just listen to where He might be directing me.

So, I did.

I’ve learned.

…learned from Him in wisdom that when He calls us to be still, what He often doesn’t say as He allows us to hear Him can be just as powerful as what He does say when He allows us to hear.

In recent weeks I’ve felt a prodding to get back to writing; this time, though, with a slightly different focus. I’ve felt Him leading me to let you into my life a tad more…a leading to be more authentic with you about how He calls me to find His hopes in my daily walk by surrendering my own hopes. More about that to come in a future post…

I have a daily calendar on my desk from Dayspring. It’s an (in)courage calendar titled, “home for the hearts of women” — they use a lot of lowercase letters, so pardon the lack of capitalization, but do click on the links and visit them! A few days ago, I felt moved by some of the sentences posted by Mary Carver of Giving Up on Perfect. Mary’s words stared at me as I stared at them, and it was yet another leading and confirmation for me about where I am being called. The Lord often does that…He often gives us some kind of confirmation to affirm what he’s already told us.

Mary’s words on this meaningful little calendar were:

*******
“I’m slowly (so very slowly) learning that for me, for now, right here IS my mission.
It IS my calling.
He IS sending me, and I CAN follow Him.
Even without a jungle or a moving van full of boxes or a passport full of stamps, He has called me.
And I can serve Him by staying.
I can follow Him right here.”
*******

I know He has called me to write as Hope Surrendered…here on this dot.com, on my Facebook page and on Twitter, too. (I’d love to have you follow me in those places. The links are above on the “Contact me” tab if you wish to do so) I haven’t questioned the calling, but I did question the timing of it. Wouldn’t you know? He did have to give me a big push before I got started, and yet another one to take this step!

I have felt led to take a step away from here over the last few months to question, ponder and pray about just WHO He was calling me to be on these pages. My journey has been about surrendering MY OWN hopes to Him. It’s been about knowing and trusting that whatever my own hopes have been, are or will be, they are absolutely nothing if they are not also His. He knows the desires of my heart, but the journey of Hope Surrendered has been about me surrendering those desires to seek His will and His way so that I might know His desires.

Psalm 37:4 tells us:

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

The journey has shown me that when my desires line up with His desires, he will grant me the desires of my heart. The journey isn’t over, and I still have a lot of work to do in accomplishing this, but Mary’s words on that calendar reminded me of  being conscientious of working on His timing, in His ways, and through His calling.

The silence of being still which I’ve experienced over the last few months has shown me what I believe is His desire for me to be more authentic in who I am. In my day-to-day life, I do feel I’m pretty authentic. The Hope Surrendered you’ve gotten to know a little has been very authentic with you on these pages, but she’s been holding back…holding back in the sense that those who know me in my day-to-day life don’t know about Hope Surrendered.

I feel as though He’s calling me to change that.

From the many emails I’ve received from you, I know that some of you have found a kind of hope in reading Hope Surrendered, and I thank you for reaching out to me. I want to continue to provide that for you through my writing about how the Lord has been leading me, and the time has come for me to prepare to also let my friends and family in on how I’ve found that kind of hope, too.

I’ve told a few people in the last few days, and the response has been wonderfully supportive. I’m realistic enough to know this won’t always be the case with my family, friends and acquaintances, but if I’m doing His Will and traveling the way He would lead, then He will also equip me to deal with the not-so-positive responses, too.

He has and is calling me to serve by doing what I’m doing right here on these pages, but even more so, He has and is calling me to journey on a path through life with Him. For that I feel blessed and grateful!