I'm Going to Pick A Fight: A new take on Remind Me Who I Am

I’ve written before about how much i liked Jason Gray’s song, Remind Me Who I Am. It has been a great encouragement to me, and one of those affirming voices in the back of my head that helps me see God saying, “I’m proud of you, son,” or simply, “I love you.” However, after some time spent thinking this week and talking with my wife and some men I respect, I’m coming to a new perspective on this song, and others like it.

It’s holding me back.

I’ve been able to step back and look at my life from the outside through the eyes of those I trust this week, and realized there is much growing up I have to do, and that some of the things I put into my ears and in front of my eyes are supporting my childish mannerisms. For instance, to use this song as an example, if I am constantly in need of God reminding me who I am (beloved, forgiven, free, etc.), then I don’t have the confidence, the bravery, or the ______ to step out and say to God, “OK, I believe that. You’ve said it about me and I believe it’s true. So now I am going to ACT like it’s true.” Instead I come running back, asking God for help, safety, and the proverbial “open door” for me to walk right through.

I am of the opinion that God would much rather see me bashing down the gateways of Hell than waiting for an open door, a visible aura, and a choir of angels pointing the way.

Because God BELIEVES in me. He TRUSTS me. He’s given me every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST and want’s me to get off my butt and get to work.

One of the affirmations I have developed for myself is that “I am a son of God, brave and courageous.” I’m ready to change that. I’m ready to move from being God’s child to being his MAN. I want to live my life as a man of God, not forever in child-like faith.

I am a man of God, a trusted ambassador for the King, and an obedient servant of the Most High God. I do his bidding AT his bidding, and will seek out, discern, and accomplish the mission He has given me throughout the course of my life.

Now THAT get’s me moving. And it’s just as true as “I’m God’s child…” perhaps even more true. I’m sure the time will come to plead for rescue, to be reminded of who I am, or to simply admit defeat, regroup, and try again. But this is not THAT day.

Solo Deo Gloria. And as William Wallace said so boldly in Braveheart, “I’m going to pick a fight.”

My Jericho

This weekend I head off to Indiana Outpost Boot Camp. This will be my second trip to this men’s retreat; I think the last time I went was two years ago. I was in the middle of discovering a lot of new things about myself as a man, husband, and child of God. I filled a journal with thoughts, words cried out to God, and words I heard back from Him (a very new experience for me – listening doesn’t come easy). My eyes were opened to passions on my heart I didn’t know existed, and that I couldn’t even talk about the first time they really hit me. Since that time, life has been different. I won’t say I’ve chosen the “red pill” (or was it blue?) every day, but my eyes have been opened. I know there’s more out there than I can see. I know I have a purpose, a battle to be part of, and brothers to grow with. I know that my relationship with my wife is more than just a partnership, more than just 2 people living in the same house who are occasionally in love, and more than a hopeful mess of emotions, hurt feelings, and highs and lows.

As I drove towards the retreat last time, I was considering this concept of “advance words” going into the weekend. Looking for a theme that God might have for me, something he wanted be on the back of my heart the whole time. I found it as I was about to leave Morgan County. As I drove into the little town of Morgantown, I saw this sign… “Welcome to Morgantown, home of the Braves.” That was it. BRAVE. I was venturing into something brand new. I was nervous, frightened, and totally in the dark as to what I was going into. I had very little expectations, and I liked that. But my nature is to maintain control and keep myself containable, if not fully contained. I had to let that go. I had to be BRAVE. And so it went. I pulled in, met the guys of my little platoon, and immersed myself in the experience. It was a blast.

This year as I go into this, God’s been opening my eyes to some walls I’ve built up in my life (or that have been built up around me with the help of others). Things like that “maintaining control” thing, having a managable sphere of influence (also known as my little bubble), and more or less, maintaining a comfort level with my life. I live in the country, but still maintain most of my life in the town I grew up in. I know a few people out here, but have very little opportunity to reach out to them or even know how to because my life is still so “under control.” The same things pop up in my life related to food, related to exercise, related to work. I like that comfortable medium between healthy and “easy.” That comfort level between “able to endure” and truly strong. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. It’s all over the map, and as I go into this weekend, I think that wall is the one to keep on my heart.

I want to see it fall. I want to see the city inside become vulnerable. I want to see God’s life flood into the places I’ve held back.

And so… Jericho. Jericho was not defeated through strength or might, intelligence or cunning. It was defeated by obedience, faith, and the power of God. Obedience to some rather simple things, actually… but also rather mundane, to be honest. Walk around the wall every day for a week? Yeah, right. I’d rather bust down the gate or die trying… or maybe just find a way around the city.

So where must I obey? Where must I step up, do what I know I’m to do, and trust God to do the rest? Well, for starters, I’ve got to show up. I was really hoping to go with at least one close friend I’ve developed in the past year, but that wound up not working out. For completely legit reasons, it just can’t hapen. And so I begin to doubt. “Maybe I should wait until next spring when we can go?” “Maybe I should have tried harder to bring someone with me?” “Maybe I should just take the weekend and go camping for a night by myself.”… “NO,” I hear. “GO.” And so I will – and this time, I won’t drive past the entrance and have to come back out of fear. 🙂

What else… find comfort. That’s a big one. It’s time to find the balance between being comfortable with where I am and where I feel God is leading us in the future, but also being comfortable with not knowing where those things are… to just be comfortable being me. Living in my own skin.

Another… build strength. I’ve never been much for commitment when it comes to strength, or even losing excess baggage. I can do it on a plan, but I’ve never found the reason for me that is going to take me from where I am to where I need to be. Not a plan. Not a diet. Not even a fear of something I might have to face if I didn’t change. I want a reason to eat right, exercise right, and, in general I guess, just live for something. A way to fit the day to day parts of life into that bigger picture. To be in the Matrix but not part of the Matrix. To be in the world, but not of it.

So that’s my Jericho. That’s the wall I choose to march around, around, and around this week, expecting God to show up.

I can’t wait for the command to SHOUT.

Afterthought… I went for a run between the cornfields tonight and found a creek with a big tree that had fallen across it. I decided to cross it. Then I decided to try a different way. Then I thought about giving up. Then I made up my mind that I was going to do it, in my strength and skill or not. So I walked, shimmied, and crawled across… and as I now think about Jericho, I wonder if that was my Jordan River crossing, and this blog post is my pile of rocks to look back on and See What God Does.

En-Couraged

I can’t remember if I typed this out or not yet, but I’ve decided I’m going to take up the invitation given to me by my old math teacher and visit the FCA meeting at PHS this Thursday morning. I don’t know what will come of it, but as I look back to how God led me to this point of making a decision, I truly believe He’s leading me down this path.

As I have mentioned this to a few people I have been encouraged by their excitement. Not about their promise to pray for me; that really doesn’t do it for me, but to actually see someone’s eyes light up with excitement when you tell them, out of the blue, about something you’re going to do that connects to something you just heard them praying about… WOW. That is encouraging.

That word – encouraging – has come to mean a lot more to me in recent months. Obviously it’s two words smashed together – “en” and “courage,” and I remember my Greek right, “en” has something to do with “being with”. So basically, the meaning I now take from this word is someone who comes along side me and imparts courage to me. They share their strength with me. It’s so much more than just putting a smile on your face and hoping it helps. It’s being part of someone else’s journey, partnering up with them and even buying in to the journey they are taking. It’s following up, listening, responding, and getting involved.

I am going to need courage for this thing on Thursday. This is something I’ve never done. This is something I don’t know the outcome of. This is something that thrills my soul … I don’t know why, it just does! Maybe it’s the adventure of something unknown. Maybe it’s the chance that this will grow into something else. Or maybe it’s “just” God living through me, and me finally being willing to Let Him.

This is the day that the LORD has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I will rejoice and be courageous in it. I will rejoice and encourage others in it.