As a part of my faith practice, I always take time to reflect during this season of areas that God would have me to develop, and clean up in my life. I thought to share my lessons in my blog as they unfold.
As I was preparing to leave for worship service one morning, I gathered my tote and handbag. Clearly, I heard the spirit of the Lord tell me to snap-close my wallet. I thought it odd, because for years, I have never used the snap lever, just simply folded the wallet. I was a bit taken, but thought it was perhaps a preventive measure of loss. As I placed the items in my truck, clearly and sternly, I heard the spirit of the Lord instruct me to zip my handbag. Again, I typically use the handles, but not the lock or zipper features of the handbag. After worship service, I usually leave my personal belongings in my seat. This particular day, the spirit spoke again and instructed me to gather my things.
I was so taken by the commands, I inquired of God immediately as to the meaning of the movements. Simply, the spirit spoke to me of how I have governed access in my life – not in one area, but overall. My personal items were unattended; I was too trusting, and accustomed to leaving my life and identity open for easy access under the guise of remaining approachable. I was ashamed and embarrassed as I considered the greatness that God had entrusted and the gift of life of which I have been so careless.
Obviously, the meaning of my life is beyond a tote and handbag; I had provided open access in many areas of my life and discounted the destiny that God had so graciously given. In this time of reflection, I realized that I needed to secure and protect not only my purpose, but also, the power endowed to accomplish the assignments of my life. Access at many points is a dangerous lifestyle. I was living on the edge. I was in bondage to the traffic exchange in my life; in essence, it was subtle people pleasing. Whosoever will let him come and pass through my life purpose. Some people used the access as a rest stop, some used it for a restroom to expel the waste and mess in their own lives, others a freeway for speed and others a bypass through a construction demo site. My lifestyle exemplified whosoever will let him have access. Recognizing and accepting is a difficult task, but a necessity to living free from the foolishness of others. The lesson: Stop lending your life.
As a child, I always wanted to finish my dinner quickly so I can have a large serving of dessert or evening snacks. During holiday seasons, my favorite snacks were marshmallows. I would try and limit my dinner portion so I would not be full for dessert, but that never worked well with my mom. In my older years, I maintained those same practices; not intentionally, but it was ingrained in my lifestyle. This reminds me of ministry development and as I began to reflect on my experiences as well as others, the same principle of sweetness was relevant.
There are many elements within ministry development that require the meat of the word as well as vegetation for healthy growth. Many times, because we are impatient, we prefer the sweetness of ministry rewards without fully digesting the meat and vegetables. Ministry development not only requires patience, but a different bite into the word. Proper vegetation flushes the system of an individual and cleanses while chewing the meat. Without the protein of power and purpose, your nutritional value will surely lack and your strength will wither.
One cannot survive in ministry on a diet of goodies and accolades. Take time and eat the meat and vegetables. Be patient, because if you are not used to substance, you may experience side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, headaches and vomiting until you adjust to the strong taste of meat. When an individual accepts kingdom development, the body will reject the first few meals initially; this creates false health alerts and concerns. This is normal; just keep eating the meat with your meals, but remember to eat slowly. The digestive process will take some time.
I always advise individuals to stay calm and not be concerned with the sugar withdrawals; receiving feedback not full of sugar and additives to your ears is difficult; especially if you are not used to criticism and critique. Typically one may experience headaches from hearing truth and vision may become blurred as adjustments are made internally. You may wrongfully assess feedback as an external attack. More often than not, the sugar has hardened inside of your being. Meat does not digest well with walls of sugar and sweeteners. It is important to eat fresh vegetables for the flushing and cleansing of internal walls from the build up of foolishness. So, be patient . . . ministry development requires break down before build up. It may not be what you want, but you need it to maintain a healthy body.