Forgetting about God’s will for my life

A post on the Potters shaping me these past couple of weeks.

So after watching Juan Pablo and the WWE, I have realized that I was not destined to be on the Bachelor, Bachelorette or fly from the top rope like Randy Macho Man Savage and drop the devastating elbow on someone’s throat.

When I was younger, I distinctly remember the doctor telling me (due to my then-current height) that I was projecting to be 6’8″ – 6’9″.  I was sure I was destined to be in the league.  I practiced endlessly on my drop step and as people began passing me in height, my jump shot.  Alas it was not meant to be.  Although my jump shot is still wet and goes in at about a 75% clip, I peaked at 6’0.  No NBA for me.

I go to college and start down the engineering path.  School always came easy to me, so I was destined to make a lot of money as a Chemical Engineer.  I thought I would get married, have kids, have money, etc. Destiny.

Of course there were other dreams along the way.  Like the day I was going to be a paleontologist until I realized their job was slightly boring.  Or the day I wanted to be an astronaut but realized how selective the program was and abandoned that one too.

What do all of these stories have in common?  I thought I was destined for them.  I thought it was can’t miss.  I thought for sure that I was going to do it.  I even prayed specifically that God would allow me to do those things.  I prayed for him to make it so.

I prayed over and over again “God, What is Your will for my life?

Enter into adulthood and I continue praying as I was not dissatisfied with my job but longing for something more.  My prayer “God what is your will for my life?”  I prayed this prayer as it was something in the future.  Something out down the road.  Something that I wanted to know (maybe) but something that I didn’t have to do anything actionable immediately.

God what is your will for my life?

Maybe you have prayed the same prayer.  Maybe, like me, you as a reader (thank you by the way) have asked, prayed, pleaded over and over again God what is your will for my life.

So I just finished Forgotten God by Chan – a book about living a life in step with the Holy Spirit.  Chan surmises that we (Christians) have placed the Spirit in a box, a nice to have and someone to pull out on Sundays or when we are listening to worship songs so the hairs on our neck can stand up.

Chan concludes that the Spirit IS GOD and IS IN US.  It is because of this that we must be different.

Therefore, we must, I must forget about God’s will for my life?

In the Bible, God didn’t show everyone who followed Him their life’s plan (except Jesus).  He didn’t reveal His will for their lives.  He asked for simple obedience and response in the immediate here and now to the Spirit’s leading.

God is asking the same of me.  Instead of asking God, what’s Your will for my life?  I need to ask God show me how to respond to your Holy Spirit today.

See the difference is God’s will for my life is easy to “think about.” It doesn’t require much tangible action in the here and now.  It doesn’t require any tough or awkward conversations today, doesn’t require any conflict, it doesn’t really require much change.  Chan says “It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day.”

In Galatians 5 Paul writes about being in step with the Spirit.  I don’t think he was writing and saying eventually keep in step with the Spirit.  I believe Paul’s point was deliberately, practically daily respond to the Spirit’s prompting.

Here’s how I was convicted this week: I live as a missionary, so the answer to what is God’s will for my life (to the world) is “be a missionary.”  People are always asking me, us so when do you plan to come back (note: as if the States is our final destination?)?  We respond by we are following God’s will however He leads.

But when I stand in line and pay my water bill, I stand in silence.  I am not striking up a conversation to speak with my fellow Belizeans in line.  When I pump gas, I only make small talk.  I make empty promises to friends saying “I will pray for that, for you” and I don’t.

What would my life look like if instead of silence I spoke to those around me while paying bills?  Instead of waiting for my gas to get pumped in the car, I always go to the same station, the same attendant and start talking about real life, remembering struggles the struggles, the celebrations, the life.  What if instead of making empty prayer promises, I stopped everything I was doing and just prayed right then?

What would my life look like if I did this DAILY, hourly?  What would others say about me?  My prayer is that my life would live out Acts 4:13 where Luke writes “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

My prayer for me, for my family, for all of you is that we would forget about God’s will for our lives and instead live of lives in such a way that each moment of each day others would see our immediate response to the Spirit’s prompting and recognize that we have been with Jesus!

 

Prayer Requests:

  • Healing: We are fighting off colds (Madeline, Elijah, Jojo, Amy) and stomach bugs (Amy and Jojo).  We are proclaiming healing over our family.  Join us in this proclamation.
  • Kids Ministry: Continue praying for kid’s ministry starting on Feb 1 in Hattieville.  Amy had a great meeting with her helpers on Wednesday night.  Pray for all the little details to come together.  Pray for 200 kids on Feb 1.
  • Teams: I lead a team starting on Saturday.  Pray for a week full of relying on God’s power and Spirit to prompt us day by day, minute by minute.  Pray for the team to experience the fullness and richness of The Lord and leave here changed.  Pray for El Buen Pastor (local church).
  • Fundraising: It is a new year.  Which means Amy and I are raising our support again for this year 2014.  The good news is that we have a lot of monthly financial partners that are continuing their partnership this year.  We are about 50% funded for 2014.  Please prayerfully consider contributing and becoming a financial partner to our ministry here in Belize!  For more information you can visit: http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate
  • Transitions: As I step out on the first trip of the year, pray that the kids would transition nicely.  Pray that Amy would be filled with energy that is from The Lord.  Also pray that new ministry opportunities will present themselves for Amy and that those would EXPLODE!
Heroes of mine: Examples of forgetting God's will and responding to the Holy Spirit daily

Heroes of mine: Examples of forgetting God’s will and responding to the Holy Spirit daily

 

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There’s no place like home..

Journal writing today and this is what came out.  I wanted to share.

Overwhelmed.  Semi-exhausted. Frustrated. Stressed.  These are all words that I feel this morning.  Overwhelmed with work.  Exhausted due to travel.  Frustrated at the house with its mold, woodlice, ants.  Frustrated at the continuing battle with our automobiles and the world of Belize auto-mechanics.

But yesterday I was sitting in the Miami airport when I saw an older “black” woman sit down (I use that term really to refer to her different skin color as at the time I was unsure of her ethnicity).  In her displeasure with her husband, I saw her shoot him a look and it was in that look of displeasure that I saw THE belizean woman LOOK.  It’s as if she was glaring through him and saying (without talking) “Hmmpf (as her pitch increases), you foolish”  And in that moment I was home.

Yes it was a moment of snarkiness on the woman’s behalf,  Yes it was frustration and yes as much as it pains me to admit, the man probably deserved it.  It was familiar, comforting.  It was something I totally understood and it was / is home.

As the couple started to banter / discuss / argue back and forth in Kriol, I caught myself closing my eyes and placing myself back in Belize, back home.  How can one look, one conversation bring so much peace and joy?

Home back in a flash.  Home after being back in the states for 3 weeks.  Home from just a look and just proxy to a discussion.

We got “home” to mold, everywhere….to ants everywhere…to woodlice or evidence of them on our kitchen table and kitchen cabinets.  We got home to 1 car in the shop and 1 car with no reverse (currently I am placing it in neutral and pushing it out of driveway then hopping into the car before it goes into the bushes to turn the wheel and place in drive).

Home isn’t easy.  But it’s home.

The reality is that home is where the heart is and my heart is in Belize.  Home is where the peace of Christ and joy of Christ abound in me more and more and being in the center of God’s will allows us to continue.  We are persevering, frustrated as we bleach-wash our walls, but persevering.   Because home is the center of God’s will for our lives and Belize is God’s Will for us!

There truly is no place like home.

Example of the mold we are washing from our house walls!

Example of the mold we are washing from our house walls!

Notice the wood "crass" from the insects.  This is below our kitchen cabinets.

Notice the wood “crass” from the insects. This is below our kitchen cabinets.

And on the seventh day…

Remember what God did on the 7th day?

He rested!

Since about Dec. 15th, Amy and I (with the kids) have been resting!  We have enjoyed our sabbatical or Sabbath.  As we left Belize, we were excited to see family, friends, and eat some different foods.

We are happy to report that we have done all 3.  After many hours with family, we unexpectedly had a HUGE opportunity and blessing fall into our laps and we were able to spend a week in Raleigh with our friends!!!

We were blown away about how God just works things out!  He KNEW just what we needed!

We leave the States this time, ready to return but sad to be leaving our friends, family, and food (especially sushi) behind.

As you all enter this week, we just wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for praying for us in 2013.  Thank you for praying specifically for this Sabbath rest!  God heard your prayers!

We are refreshed and ready to serve God more boldly, love more passionately, and expect God to move in greater ways in 2014.  The best is yet to come and y’all are a part of that!

I did do a little work and created a summary video of God’s work through our family and through Praying Pelican Missions here in Belize in 2013.  To watch it, click here: Edmonds 2013 Year in Review 

And now to pictures of our Holiday!

decorating the tree with Grandma

decorating the tree with Grandma

Grandma Jane with her babies!

Grandma Jane with her babies!

Christmas carol time

Christmas carol time

Uncle Mike playing

Uncle Mike playing

reading with Pepa

reading with Pepa

Elijah and turtle

Elijah and turtle

Our night away from the kids!!

Our night away from the kids!!

Technology time reward for good behavior

Technology time reward for good behavior