Sunday, April 15, 2012

Big, Bold Courage for a Brand New Day!

Big, Bold Courage for a Brand New Day!

"When we have the courage to live, we find joy, for joy is the emotional expression of the courageous Yes to one's own true being."  Gordon Smith

I am writing today from a beautiful place called the Dreamgiver's Inn.  Isn't that a great name? Nestled one mile off Wilsonville Road, the Inn sits gorgeously on green hills; I can see Mt. Hood clearly.  I am preparing for a retreat next weekend and just had a strong desire to connect with you about what God has given me.

Here's the question: What is holding you back from doing all you had in mind?  It's a question I've been asking myself for some time and working through this material is helping me answer it honestly.  Because we're each created so uniquely, what we have in mind to do and what's holding us back may not look the same at all!

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients the last 12 weeks of their lives.  She recorded their dying epiphanies and writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives.  When questioned about any regrets they had, common themes surfaced again and again.  Here are the top five regrets as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I'd had let myself be happier.

You can read more of her writings on her blog called Inspiration and Chai.  But I was struck by the fact that the word "courage" was used twice in these statements.  We long for more courage, don't we?

Courage can mean, "eager to do what is in one's mind or thoughts." Sometimes we need courage to face another day because of great loss, lack of confidence, deep anxiety, or unwanted circumstances. Other times we need courage to face that person, change our daily habits, or spend more time with people who matter most.

In Joshua 14:6-15, Caleb is asking for his most difficult job to date!   Eighty-five-year old Caleb wastes no time on nostalgia or regret.  Joshua and Caleb lost 45 years of abundant living because of the Israelites’ unbelief.  Yet, according to this passage – Caleb is still the whole-hearted man following hard after God.  Remember Caleb’s response when the other spies said “we can’t do it?” He and Joshua cried out and tore their clothes.  No holding back true feelings for Joshua and Caleb; they expressed their deep disappointment.  However, these men had the courage to live the next 45 years true to God and themselves and by doing so, could confidently say, "I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous" (v. 11).

Brad and I were talking about this passage a few days ago; ironically, we are both preaching on Caleb this week.  We wondered what Caleb's daily life looked like during the years of wandering.

(any ideas?)

What did whole-heartedness look like, sound like, feel like for Caleb when he was surrounded by a complaining and disbelieving people?

Whatever held him back from doing all he had in mind to do was no longer in his way.  On that brand new day in verse 6, Caleb approached Joshua with four Spirit-planted, Spirit-grown qualities that I long for:


What holds you back from doing all you had in mind to do?  This is what I'm asking myself this week.

I pray for you by name throughout the month.  Feel free to drop me an email if you need courage for something specific!  Thank you for always praying the same for me when I ask!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Leading With Conviction

Approaching the God I love and know
Remembering what He said long ago
Old enough to hear, “servant, go!”
Young enough to explore land, return with show

Convinced of all my eyes could see
Firm understanding of strong and weak
I spoke from my convictions

Hearing the words fall from their hearts
Melting with fear those in the dark
Many from there I did part
When I spoke from my convictions

“It’s yours, fully persuaded one,”
I heard from the Holy One.
“The inheritance is yours to come
For your children not yet born
Because you spoke from your convictions.”

Days and years later am I
Fully convinced as then
With a certain can do possession
Young enough to hear, “servant, go!”
Old enough to start the show
As I speak from my convictions

Bless me Boldly, God I love
Give me Hebron as I’ve longed
Whole heart I follow hard after you
As I speak from my convictions

CONVICTION: A firmly held belief.  The quality of showing that one is firmly convinced of what one believes or says.  From the Latin: convincere.