This has been the theme in my spiritual life lately. I think it is interesting how God places me in situations where I am learning the same concept in several areas all at once. Could it be that this is the only way I listen - I hope not, but I wonder . . . am I just like my kids????
So, here we go. I have to say that I feel that packing up my whole life and my family and moving away from the only place I have known as an adult and the longest place I have lived in my whole life was very bold. Especially to come to a completely unknown place to do such a risky thing - start something completely new without the budget that we really needed and without a lot of people to help us. It was a bold move, but after the last couple weeks, I realize it wasn't bold enough.
I was asked at the very last minute to go with a youth group of one of our sister churches to a Youth Conference called CIY - Move. While I enjoyed getting to know the teens better and being able to pour into their lives a bit, God did not make this happen for them. I'm quite sure he had the other leader drop at the last minute and gave Chris the idea to ask me to go because I needed to hear the words those speakers were saying. They spoke about so many things, but the two things that impacted me most was that the Holy Spirit gives us the power we need (Acts 1:8) and that we need to be bold in going out and telling others about the love of Jesus and the fact that he died and rose for our sins. What an amazing gift that is and I hide it for fear of scaring people away! For too long I have waited around for people to come and say to me, "I want to know about Jesus." Not many people actually use those words. How many people have said that in different ways, but I have not heard it? Or how many people never asked, but would have changed their lives had I given the opportunity? How many times has God wanted to use me in that way, but I haven't let Him, so He's given someone else that privilege? Ouch!
Interestingly enough, just before we left, I hit the bookstore to see about a couple books to read and a new Bible study book. I had heard that the afternoons were down times and good for reading. I did get a little reading done, but not a lot. Anyway, I picked up a study on Joshua called Live Fearlessly from the Fresh Life Bible Study Series, which I highly recommend. I wanted a study on Joshua because I just finished a study on Deuteronomy, not because it was about living fearlessly. I don't even know that I noticed the title before we got to the conference and I began to see the theme in my life. Again, just more conviction on how I really am not very bold when it comes to actually sharing the gospel with adults.
There are a million reasons why this is the case - some excuses, some probably legitimate reasons. When we were discussing boldness at the conference, we did talk about the types of bold we do not want to be - mean or bible thumping - we don't want to scare people off. That is probably my main reason, but there comes a time when that is no longer a legitimate reason, rather an excuse. I think when we really want to be bold, we are listening to God and waiting for opportunities and then seizing them. He provides those open doors all the time, if we are willing to walk through them.
I still struggle with this and am praying constantly that when there is an open door I will be bold enough to share. And praying for forgiveness for all of the times that I have failed to listen closely to God.