|[source: French Antique Door]|
Now, 20 years later, I'm so glad I did and over and over again he has proved himself gentle, kind, faithful, loving and completely trustworthy.
But you can be a Christian for a very long time and still keep certain doors (read: habits, thoughts, areas of your life) closed to God. And because he's a gentlemen, he won't force them open. He knocks and waits for you to invite him in.
We took advantage of our holiday to go to a couple of services at different churches and one of them was at C3 Ryde where the pastor there, Richard Green is running a series over January called The Pursuit of Happiness. His first sermon of the year was on Inviting God In. What made it extremely powerful was his very personal testimony and decision to invite God in to the small things... for him, one of these things is losing weight. It's difficult to summarize a preach up but here it is in brief:
When we try to do things independently of God, we're essentially rejecting him. Sometimes we don't mean to do things independently of him it's just that before we ask God for help, we rush ahead with what we think we should do and we ask him to rubber stamp our efforts. When we stop and admit that actually we've tried doing things on our own in a certain area and it hasn't worked, we need to invite God in and wait for him to show us how to do it or to open the doors.
I'm explaining it badly, but here's what happened when I started inviting God into little things.
I was listening to the hubster try and reason with our middle child and she was getting angrier and angrier and started screaming. He had enough and sent her up to bed to calm down but as I listened to her angrily crying and dramatically wailing from upstairs, I invited God in to a situation which we are at the end of our tether on. Just as I was finishing up what I was in the middle of doing, a thought popped into my head that what she needed was a cuddle and some one on one Mum time, a story perhaps. I did it and not even 15 minutes later, she was sunnily happy, calm and ready to go downstairs and play with everyone else again.
Last week, dissatisfied with the Christmas podge round my middle and knowing how hard I find it not to eat sweet things and what a chore I find exercise, I invited God into my losing the kgs I need to lose and getting me fit and healthy. Later that morning, PaisleyJade blogged about a weight-loss/healthy living app and intrigued I downloaded it and started trying it. Honestly, I think it was a God thing because it has made me rethink what I am eating, how much and encouraged me to get going on the early morning walks again.
On Sunday, I got a new pair of glasses. I got them home and suddenly they reminded me of the glasses I wore when I was a teenager and I felt awkward and gawky and thought oh 'eck, what have I done! I firmly believed though that God wanted to bless me with them so I asked God to come in and heal me of all those feelings of low self-esteem and gawkiness from when I was a teenager. I asked that he would help me to enjoy wearing them. A few days later, my delightful sister posted on my facebook something about how they reminded her of an adult version of the ones I wore when I was younger. Interestingly, I realized that comment didn't provoke angst and Oh my goodness, I knew it. I made the wrong choice. Instead I felt peaceful.
We've been inviting God into every area we're struggling with - getting a good night's sleep, finances - long term and short term, our dreams that we're tempted to give up on because without God they stand little chance of being fulfilled, parenting the kids, our marriage, having a relaxing holiday, finding jobs, opportunities at work, you name it, we're opening the door.
What I love about God is that he really is the King of peace. That's what he wants for us, peace. To live without having to worry or be anxious. To live without having to feel a constant burden of guilt and depression. To live and enjoy life, not constantly wondering if something bad is going to turn up tomorrow. To live and see things shift and change, to let him do the work he longs to do to make our lives more powerful, more amazing, more incredible. He wants us to enjoy the incredible blessing of seeing him shift the mountains we can't shift on our own except when we invite him in to move them with us.
Although Richard Green didn't reference it, after the service, I thought about Revelations 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
I always thought this verse was for people who hadn't asked Jesus into their hearts but it seems to me that for everyone of us, in each situation we face each day we are alive we have the choice: will we let God in or will we carry on trying to do it our own way?
I'm excited for the possibilities! I know that God can take the mundane and turn it into the extraordinary and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings. How about you? Has this resonated with you at all? What impossible situations are you facing? What mountains aren't moving for you? Why not ask God in to them and see what he does?