I love my church. I belong to an incredible community of Christ-following believers who are loving, compassionate and the real deal. Our pastor is an amazing man of God and he and his wife go out of their way to make everyone feel like a necessary piece of our puzzle. Two thumbs up for the House of God!
Lately, he’s been preaching about the Israelites wilderness experience – kinda funny, because I’m writing a book on worship in the wilderness. He’s been talking a lot about the way that God loves you enough to let you go around your mountain and keep walking around it until you’ve dealt with your stuff and are ready to go through to the Promise Land. This has been so timely for me because I feel like I’ve been in my wildnerness for a very long time. There’s only one problem and it occurred to me while talking to my best friend this morning.
You ever have one of those moments where you start talking and then you say something that shocks even you? Yep, Jehovah Sneaky (I stole that one…but you know you feel that way sometimes. Haha) pulled one of those on me this morning. “It’s almost like because I’m so stuck in the shame and the guilt of what could have been and what didn’t happen that I keep walking around my own mountain while God just stands there pointing to the door going, ‘anytime now…you can go through aaaannnnnyyyytime now!’”
At which point this gets whispered into my spirit: “As a matter of fact, that’s EXACTLY what it’s like!”
But, how many of us do that? We forget that, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) We forget that God’s plans for our lives don’t stop when we forget to walk through the door the first time….or the second….or the third. We believe that God will put us on the shelf of unusable things if we’ve messed up too many times so we punish ourselves and try to reach that next phase of perfection before we’ll allow ourselves to be used by God.
The first problem with that is that we in our own strength can’t do that anyway. The second is that we’re not supposed to wait. Paul put’s it like this:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 – emphasis mine)
I am the first to admit, I’m not the best example at forgetting my own mistakes – past or present. I want to present the best version of myself to God to be used by Him mightily when all He’s saying is “Come as you are and let Me do the rest!!”
So, that’s why the song of the day is Israel Houghton’s Moving Forward. There is a door right in front of me and a mountain behind me. I’ve punished myself too long and this is a wilderness I have grown tired of walking around. It’s time for me to take the next step and walk through the door. Even if I’m dusty, even if my shoes are dirty, even if I don’t look the best, God can fix the rest when I get there. We can work on the rest on our way. Time to forget what lies behind and press towards the goal – I have a lot of goals and being stuck here won’t get any of them accomplished.
One. Two. Three…and GO!