My computer crashed today. This is the second time it has done so since saying yes to God to be a FB small group leader for P31 OBS. The first time was before the study actually started so it wasn't as big of a deal. It was inconvenient for sure, as I would've liked to have had it to prepare for both attending She Speaks and the Yes to God study. But not having it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A blessing in the form of a lesson. A lesson of learning to depend on God rather then myself and a lesson on turning to prayer to prepare rather than tasks. Great lessons, but only the beginning, or computer crashing 101 if you will. Today I advanced to computer crashing 201.
Todays crash brought about entirely new lessons leaving me #Amazed at how God uses our circumstances to grow us and mold us. Or to shape our character to match our calling as Lysa says.
"God is using all of your experiences, both good and bad, to develop your character to match your calling." -Pg.72
Boy is He doing that in me, and I must say, it's a rather humbling process! You see, when I had set out on this yes to God journey, I set out to make my plans, set my goals, get organized, etc. And this week I made a lot of progress in doing just that. I had all my perfectly pretty little poster pins created and saved, and all my perfectly prepared posts typed out and saved, and I even had all 6 wks worth of other related posters and quotes that I'd searched out to use for the study - all saved...in my computer. I felt like I had it all under control...except for this little tiny issue throwing a crutch into my perfect little world at every turn - my malfunctioning computer!
But you know what? The computer wasn't the issue. There were two very different from that issues. "I" being one of them. Did you notice all the I statements above? Well, there's this little thing about "I" and it's not just the length of the word. Anytime you notice a whole lot of "I" going on, it's because their "eye" isn't focused where it should be - solely on the Lord. I allowed my focus to be continually diverted with every "techy" issue that arose, and believe me when I say arose too numerous to count. But this wasn't the only problem. The second came in the form of perfection.
Rather than focusing on perfect surrender to God in my yes journey, my focus was continually being diverted to striving for perfect performance. While I have known for many years that striving for perfection is a struggle of mine, I started to recognize it's presence in this chapter of my life in chapter 1 of Yes to God when Lysa wrote:
"Saying yes to God isn't about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to the Lord day by day."
Despite the fact that God had given me multiple mini lessons on perfection in the past few weeks, one of which I shared just last week in my "Forever, and never. Amen." post, and two more that I had posts in the works for, it still took this computer crashing 201 today for this particular lesson on perfection to crash into my heart. This was God's perfect timing though, to allow the enemies fiery arrow to pierce its target. God had everything lined up just perfect.
First of all, my daughter woke up before I did, something she rarely does, causing me to forego my usual morning quiet time and leaving me weak and wide open for attack. Secondly, today is worship wed in my group (shout out to group #56, you rock!), and worship is supposed to be all about Him right. Then lastly, ironically enough, all the posts I had planned for my group today came from the section called "No Matter What" in chapter four and had very much to do about resting in the Lord. Apparently the lesson I had planned God had intended for me. Here's some of the quotes:
"We can't stop or control the things that roll our way any more than we can stop the water's edge. But we can make the minute by minute choice to let our souls rest in God."
I was not in control, but God was. And in circumstances such as this, we have a choice to make. We could let our thoughts and actions race in a panic (which I did initially with many tears shed and words shouted - not a proud moment for sure), or we can rest in God...it's funny because I had read this entire ch. thoroughly several times, highlighter and all, and yet still found myself caught in the enemies snare. And the next quote is even more revealing...
"Rest knowing all is so safe in My hands. Rest is trust. Ceaseless activity is distrust. Without the knowledge that I am working for you, you do not rest. Inaction then would be the outcome of despair. My hand is not shortened that it cannot save. Know that, repeat it, rely on it, welcome the knowledge, delight in it. Such a truth is as a hope flung to a drowning man. Every repetition of it is one pull nearer shore and safety."
First of all, notice it says safe in God's hands, not ours. Why do we try to so desperately cling to these things? Why don't we give them over to God where they are safe? Secondly - boy did I feel despair. I felt like if my computer wasn't fixed and it wasn't fixed now, the whole world needed to stop. And drowning? I had just used that word to describe how I felt about it all in the conversation with my husband afger it happened. So dramatic I know! But don't we get this way when our focus is off God and on ourselves when we are faced with a problem beyond ourselves? Well, God showed me today that it was not in fact the world that had stopped, but rather it was my focus on Him that had come to an abrubt halt along with my computer, and I needed to turn my "I" back into my "eye" on Him and rest there in this trial.
When I was finally able to re-shift my focus, God showed me that what had been feeling like an enormous mountain I was climbing, was in actuality only a mole hill in the bigger scheme of things because in truth, OBS kept right on clicking along without even an inkling of a sign of my troubles affecting it. God's message was still reaching the thousands and even my group despite my imperfect performance. You see, the truth I learned today is that getting God's message out doesn't require our perfect performance. It only requires His perfect love through our perfect surrender.
I wasn't going to share this in the blog hop today because I knew that in order to do so would require me to let go of my usual standard for my posts. It would mean that I would have to type this all out on my smart phone touch screen without spell check or gramar check, and without having had time to re-read and re-write anything...and yes, even without all my pretty perfect poster creations, lol. Not that there's anything wrong with doing any of those things, but when perfection is sought in these things and that perfection distracts and detracts from God, then it is an issue.
When I felt God nudging me to say yes to this post, my response to Him was: "Why can't I wait until later in the week when perhaps I will have a working computer again." Which really what I was saying was: "Wait Lord, I can't share your message until everything is perfect." Oh how many times we do this - we buy into this lie that we need to wait until everything is perfect for us to share the Lord and do what He asks of us! Well, do you know what God's response was? He said: "Katrina, do you want to limit me to only what you can do through 'perfect performance' or do you want to experience what I can do through my perfect and limitless love?"
I had been putting God in a box. I had taken His gifts He's given me and the call He's put in me and tried to wrap them all up in this pretty little perfect package to hand out. Even now I'm picturing how perfect it would be to have a picture of that perfect little wrapped present right here in this post....
God doesn't need perfectly wrapped presents. He only needs perfectly surrendered hearts. Period.
This saying yes to God journey has proven to be challenging even in the small yeses, but when I said yes to God for this study, I said yes, no matter what. I don't want to define for God what yes looks like or what no matter what includes. I want to allow Him to fill in those blanks, whatever that may mean. This is why when my computer crashed the first time, I said: "Yes God, no matter what." And when my computer issues persisted into the study I still said: "Yes God, no matter what." And so now, when my computer no longer works and I can't make all my posts perfect, or even know exactly how this is all going to work out, I say: "Yes God, no matter what!"
Not only has computer crashing 201 been a teaching lesson that I'm growing from, but it has also been confirmation for me that I am right where I'm supposed to be. The enemy doesn't like that I've said yes, and he is seeking to deter me to ensure that I don't succeed. But I have the omnipotent God behind me, beside me, before me, and in me. A God that uses everything for our good. A God with plans to prosper and not to harm me. A God that provides me with hope and a future. A God that sees His work in me through to completion. A God thaf puts the enemies simple schemes and measly powers to shame! This is the God I rest in and remain in and surrnder my heart to - the God of perfect love - No. matter. What. What about you?
(A creation I had already posted in my group before my computer crashed, which is also imperfect because it doesn't have my blog address on it, lol)