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Entries in Interruptions (2)

Thursday
Jun152017

When God Interrupts

Kolleen Lucariello’s goal is to help women discover and live out their identity in Christ, and in this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she encourages us to see the Lord’s “interruptions” as His appointments.

“I listened as my sister explained her dilemma and easily sensed the disappointment and controlled panic in her voice,” Kolleen said.

I (Dawn) think it’s clear Kolleen has a sensitive heart—a heart primed to help.

But is helping at that moment what the Lord wanted? Great wisdom here.

Kolleen continues . . .

After months of struggle, my sister was finally able to help a young woman she had been mentoring find residential housing suitable to help her overcome the obstacles she’d been battling.

Unfortunately, she had just been informed her friend would not be able to continue in the program and my sister would need to find a new place for her immediately.

As in: ASAP.

After hearing the complexity of the assignment before her, I offered her the only sisterly advice I had when I said, “I’ll pray for you.”

I’ve learned this answer is the safest when the fixer in me rises up at the same time my empathy levels increase. As a recovering-controlling-fixer I often offer quick solutions to the pickles people found themselves in; my advice flowing from emotion with little thought or prayer involved.

This, my friends, usually put Kolleen in a pickle with her husband, Pat.

So now, rather than allow my emotions to speak up, I’ve become determined to wait on the Lord and be prayed up. So pray I did. 

I prayed hard for my sister. I prayed fervently for her friend.

I prayed that whoever God had given the ability to help would clearly follow His leading.

Each morning for almost a week I would grab my cup of tea, play “I Surrender” quietly in the background, and enter my quiet time of prayer—seeking God for wisdom in this situation.

As the day of her discharge grew closer and no temporary housing had been found, the desperation level began to increase. Calls for help were put out but—with a list of very specific needs in housing—choices were limited.

What became unlimited, however, were the many reasons for the answer, no.

Still, I prayed on.

I sensed the Lord was beginning to unravel this mystery of where He had in mind for her to go when I was reminded of the empty spare room we had recently painted and put together.

I began pleading my case for why the answer had to be no.

Since we were on limited time, the Lord wasted little of it exposing the reason for my hesitation: Interruption. Exactly.

How is it possible to sing “I Surrender” or “Withholding Nothing” in the morning and yet refuse to be interrupted by the One I promise to surrender to and withhold nothing from?

Ouch.

I wonder how Abram managed when God spoke to him, “Go away from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 AMP). Talk about interruption. 

You UPGRADE your responsiveness to the Lord when you:

1. Listen for God to speak to you.

Abram was settled in Haran when the Lord spoke to Him and told him, “Go.”

Is there a chance we’ve become so settled in the safety of our routine that we fail to hear the Lord when He speaks to us?

2.  Allow God to move you out of your comfort zone.

God instructed Abram to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s house.

Is it possible we’ve become unmovable by the comfort of people, places and things?

3. Receive God’s blessing through obedience.

The Lord promised Abram there would be great blessing for him in exchange for his obedience.

Could we be missing out on the blessings He longs to give us each time we fail in our obedience?

Abraham became the father of many nations when he “...departed [in faithful obedience] as the Lord had directed him” (Genesis 12:4, AMP).

I wonder what we might become if we depart, in faithful obedience, when the Lord directs.

We won’t know if we refuse to surrender to His interruptions.

Does the Lord want to interrupt your life?

Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. She desires to help others find their identity in Christ—one letter at a time. Learn more about Kolleen here.

 

Thursday
May262016

I Did Not Plan for This

Kaley Rhea co-hosts a TV show with her comedian mom, but that doesn't mean Kaley lacks depth! In this encouraging "UPLIFT," she shares how the Lord taught her to hold her plans loosely.

"Tell me if I’m the only one," Kaley says. "But sometimes I get an idea in my head about how my day is going to go. I’m not even a to-do list kind of person or a details kind of person or an itinerary kind of person.

"Yet somehow I’ll have these moments where someone calls or something pops up that throws my preconceived idea of today, of right now, off by a few millimeters, and all my brain alarms go wild and my insides announce, loud-speaker style, 'Error, error. Please return to regularly scheduled life-having.'"

Yeah, you're the only one, Kaley.

No, seriously, I (Dawn) am such a planner, that almost never happens to me. But when it does, I get the same blaring alarms. Sort of a "Danger, Will Robinson!" thing. (But Kaley's probably too young to know about young Will.)

So let's let Kaley continue . . .

To be clear, this is a ridiculous phenomenon I’m talking about.

  • “I didn’t realize the trashcan was full, and now I have to take the trash out, and I wasn’t planning on taking the trash out right now. Ugh, worst.”
  • And “Oh, my friend is calling, and I love talking to her, but wait, we didn’t plan on talking right now; what is she thinking?”
  • And “Child, why have you vomited on the carpet? We are on our way out the door; I’m not prepared for this!”

That moment of internal, irrational pushback I feel when something has intruded into my schedule, into my plans, and something—even something small—is required of me.

I’m confessing here. Sometimes I live my life with a perspective set about two inches from the end of my nose.

I guard my time, my words, my efforts with a sharp eye, unknowingly fixed on only spending them where I see fit.

And I’ve met me. So believe me, I know exactly how insane that is.

Of course, while ruminating on these things, I thought of Jeremiah 29:11:

“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘Plans for welfare and not for evil. To give you a future and a hope.’”

I feel like we pass this verse out like candy, and I’m glad we do because these words are sweet and so important.

Any moment spent remembering that my God knows infinitely more than I do and has made infinitely better plans is a good and necessary moment.

But I also couldn’t get the Gerasene demoniac out of my mind.

Of all the people in the Bible, he’s where I landed. Luke 8:26-39 talks about this man who had been possessed by an entire legion of demons and was living this absolutely wrecked life. Jesus cast them out of him. Healed him.

So the man made this plan to go with Jesus. It seems like a perfectly legitimate reaction to what had happened. A good, appropriate response. So he asked, but Jesus told him to stay. To proclaim the name of Jesus where he was. And the man did.

It’s a convicting thought for me. Jesus has done a miracle in my life, rescued me from my sin.

I think sometimes I have this attitude like, “No, no, Jesus, I’m going to serve you this way and in this place and on this timetable."

And I miss out on opportunities He lays right in front of me to serve Him and glorify His name.

In ways that are simple. In ways that walk right up to me. And instead of thanking Him for these opportunities, in my heart I’m selfishly thinking,“Could you please step aside, opportunity? I’ve already scheduled my God-glorifying for 2 p.m., and it’s only half past ten now.”

Lord Jesus, wake up my heart. Help me see the things I miss when I focus on my own plans and my own understanding.

Holy Spirit, give me kindness. Help me see people the way You see them because I love You.

Defeat the selfishness inside of me and replace it with Your love.

Help me hold my plans loosely and always ask You to shape them into whatever You will. I trust You with my time and my desires.

Are you trying to put God in a box? How might you be making your plans without His wisdom and missing out on what He might have planned? For you!

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, releasing soon, with two more novels in the works. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Check out a sample here! Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Graphics adapted, courtesty of Pixabay.com.