When I am 75, how will people be responding to my words?
This thought occurred to me more than once during this weekend. Jill Briscoe came to speak to the women of our church and our guests on Friday and Saturday. I have heard Jill speak many times before. And as much as I try not to have high expectations about anything anymore... those things usually get me into trouble. I did have high expectations for this weekend and they were more than exceeded.
What I notice about Jill this weekend.The older she gets the more revelatory she gets. She tells stories that Stuart her husband still tells her she might not want to tell. She makes mistakes. The Lord shows her she has made a mistake. She listens. She discovers in her heart why she did what part of her did not want to do. She trusts the Lord for another go at it with Him absent of fear.
She notices so much. She notices the world and then lessons found there. She notices the connections between the world she observes and the God she adores and trusts.
She admits that sometimes she must learn to listen to her own teaching. To follow the advice that she is giving to others. And she knows the humility that is required to admit this is sometimes so very hard to do.
She admits that she has been ruled by fear and worry. She has been on a life long quest to choose faith, to choose to sit with God about the places where she does not trust. She has learned how to cope and take action against what could and has defeated her.
She has learned to see with the Eyes of Heaven. When she sees this way it often inspires poetry. It kind of bursts out of her.
She began as a street preacher. What a joy to hear the sound in her voice when she remembers those days. As God would have it, there have been other venues for her preaching but she loves most speaking to those who know they need God and need no persuasion for that part of her wisdom. To this day she finds herself in those kinds of places very often. And yet, thank the Lord she has been brought in places like ours where some are not so aware of their deep need for God in absolutely every way. Her stories which demonstrates her own deep need for a surrendered life help others others to see their need. God has placed her in dangerous and outrageous situations, what God does there opens our eyes to the missed opportunities and the ridiculousness of being so careful where we live.
Once again, I am irritated by my cultures passion for safety and its effects on me. I play it to safe and try to call it wisdom. This will not change in me apart for the work of grace in my life. I know this for sure. It is not simply a matter of making a decision and knowing instant change.
Somehow all of this is connected to the trip to Ireland that is coming up for me. That both scares and thrills me. Will I surrender? Will I trust God in radical ways for me in that environment? Will I even be able to see the opportunities to trust and step out in faith? Will I follow God where I sense He is leading me? I will pray that I will do with His help. I will ask others to pray for me.
I also received significant encouragement about how I handle the after moments when I teach. There should be a whole semester in seminary spent on that. I probably need to talk with my Spiritual Director about it this next month. I left the second workshop with significant negative emotions. I asked God for help. The fast answer was in Jill's talk that followed immediately. "God did not ask us to be good and successful.", Jill said. 'He asked us to be good and faithful." That helped me see what was causing all the negative emotions. Then at the end of the night God allowed a conversation and prayer time with one of the participants that completed the answer to my prayers. I have so much to learn! I am grateful God shows me that He is very interested in teaching me.
If God gives me 75 years, how will people be responding to my words?
I hope they will say. She trusts God. She loves God. She has committed her life to faithfulness and surrender. It blows me away what God does with that. I think I'll ask God to help me do the same in every relationship and circumstance God gives me.