Recently I have been thinking over the word “unshakeable”. I have been thinking about this word for weeks! It’s one of those things that you can’t shake (pun intended) because you can’t fully grasp what it means and what it would mean for you if lived it out. It’s like when I think of eternity with Jesus or what I would do with a million dollars or becoming a mother. It could be something different for you- getting your dream job, seeing your dream come true, falling in love. It’s fun to think about but almost impossible to grasp actually being true in your life.
Happy New Year! I LOVE new things. This is my favorite time with the Lord because it’s a clean slate and such an encouraging time for me to dream big and dive deep with Him. There is no better way to start your year than with a fast. WAY TO GO! I am so excited that you decided to join us in fasting as we jump into a new year and seek the face of God. What exciting times we are in!
In the beginning of fall last year Austin and I started to pray through a big possible life change which would have moved us across the country for six months. He planned on working full time doing hands on training and I would have been working, serving, and living with a family (without Austin) trying to fill my time. Though this door was closed for us, we really sought the Lord about what that season would have looked like for us.
God really began stirring my heart and speaking to me my word for 2018. I felt him call me to dive deeper than I ever have before into my heart and to figure out who Kaylee is. Deep down under the layers of self preservation, fear, and insecurity; under every layer of who I thought I wanted to be, is the original God-created Kaylee and I wanted to know her! I felt him say it could be the hardest but best year of my life. It could be if I choose. Hardest and best don’t seem to go together but I truly believe that when you choose to do hard things, you experience greater joy than you could ever imagine.
Matthew 21:44 (NIV) says, “Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” What this verse means to me is that the one who chooses to fall on Jesus will be broken but in a surrendered, healing way. But the one who doesn’t fall, the one who doesn’t surrender their life, will be crushed. Crushed under the weight of sin and expectations.
The Bible says that those who lose their life will find it. This year is all about surrendering every piece of my life in order to find it. This will no doubt be painful and hard. But I believe with my whole heart it will be the best thing I’ve ever done.
As you continue to fast, I encourage you to surrender in a way you never have before. Fall on Jesus and surrender everything you are to Him. Even the thing you’ve been carrying around forever, give it to him. Fall on Him and see how He takes your brokenness and heals you in a way you never thought possible. You are not alone and you will experience the greatest joy as you dive deeper into His plans and purposes!
I also encourage you to ask God for a Word for this New Year. Let it carry you throughout the year. Time flies and who knows… before you know it, it will be 2019 and I hope when I see you there that we are both more broken and surrendered than we are now and that we have lost our lives to find it.
Jesus said what? Sermon Series – The Lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7)
Do you love to be found?
There is a difference between lost and hiding. The result is the same though.
When we are hiding we can come out any time, and we are not alone and afraid. We know someone is looking. When you are lost, you are alone and scared.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.”
-Exodus 20:8-10 (ESV)
If you have ever ridden in an airplane, you have heard the flight attendant’s speech about where the exits are, where the bathrooms are, and what to do in case of an emergency. One part of this speech that always sticks out to me is when they tell you that if we were to be in a situation where the air masks drop, you need to secure your own air mask before assisting others in theirs. Although this can be hard to swallow, it makes sense because if I can’t breathe, I can’t help you breathe.
I say this phrase a lot at the coffee shop I work at because when dealing with people all day, sometimes you just need to get your own coffee first! (Amen, anyone?) Lately, though, this saying has been more than a suggestion on an airplane or a funny thing to say at work. It is a deep and profound reminder that if I don’t take care of me, I will never be able to be the person that God has called me to be. You and I are called to mighty things and when you are called to such high things as you and I are, we can’t be wasting time being burnt out and empty.
Scripture that talks about taking a Sabbath has continually challenged my husband and me. Not because we don’t see the value in it, but because we see the immense value in it and yet it takes a lot of planning and discipline to put into practice. Most of us have no idea how we would take a Sabbath day! Sabbath day is a day to rest, spend time with God and our families, and do things we love to do. It’s a day when we don’t do work, chores, homework, or errands. Because it feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day or week or month (by the way, where did June go?!) to do all that we need to do.
If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve probably heard somebody share a testimony about how they gave a small percentage of their finances to the church or blessed somebody when it felt like there wasn’t enough money to do that and pay their bills. And yet somehow, beyond human understanding, there was more than enough money to go around.
A lot of us have no problem giving God a small percentage of our income because we see the value in it; the thought that God can do more with 90 percent of my income than I can do with 100 percent. However, most of us are keeping 100 percent of our days. None of us would come out and say this but what we are really communicating is: I can do more with seven days than God can do with six. For some reason, we have taken a leap of faith by giving 10 percent of our finances to God but haven’t taken the leap of faith to fit seven days of work into six and to see what God can do with that one day we give Him.
I strongly believe that when we choose to prioritize the important things in life and discipline ourselves by cutting out the things that aren’t important during our workweek, we will be rewarded with a richer, healthier life. So many of us are taking care of everyone and everything else (even things that aren’t that important) and wondering why we are exhausted, burnt out, sick, empty, and don’t have time for the things we actually enjoy in life (like God, family and friends and our health).
The key to Exodus 20:8-10 is that it says for six days we work, and then we rest. Taking a Sabbath means we will need to work smarter during six days of the week so that one day we will be able to rest. Maybe this means you run errands on a day you work rather than Saturday like you normally do, or go grocery shopping or clean the bathroom on a work day so that when you don’t work, there is time to do what fills you up.
I don’t know your schedule and I don’t pretend to think that making this a priority in your life will be easy or happen overnight. But I do believe with all of me that if we begin to cut out the things that don’t matter (social media, toxic relationships, worrying, Netflix, etc.) and begin to make time for things that really do matter (reading our Bibles, date nights with your spouse or children, reading, doing something that you love, exercising, etc.), you will be so much happier and healthier.
In Psalm 23:2 (ESV) it says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Makes. Meaning it’s not easy but it is vastly important. Imagine getting refreshed by the still waters and being in His presence! Being with the people we love, doing things we love, getting good sleep, eating healthy meals and drinking lots of water are so important to living the life that God has called you to! Imagine those green pastures!
Establishing a Sabbath day will be hard at first but it will get easier. These days it feels like saying ‘no’ to something becomes wrong in our culture’s eyes. It is not a crime to take care of you! Saying no to working that extra shift so you can go home and make a healthy dinner for yourself is worth it. Saying no to the next episode on Netflix so you can take a walk or read a book is worth it. Saying no to the dishes today to go get coffee with a friend is worth it.
You are allowed to say no to good things in order to take care of yourself too. Taking that leap of faith in saying no to something in order to say yes to something even more important is worth the risk. You are valuable and worthy of love. This means loving yourself and sometimes being a little selfish so that you can be full, that way when your name is called by God to do something amazing, you will be ready.
My love language is gift giving. This means my favorite way to say “I love you” is by buying them something I think they’ll absolutely love. There is nothing like the look in someone’s eyes when they open a gift and they love it – especially when they said they liked that thing or animal or candy a few months ago, or you remembered what coffee they ordered or their favorite snack and brought it to them out of the blue.
Even though I love giving people gifts (and if I do say so myself, I think I’m pretty good at it), there’s always this feeling I get just as I present the gift. It’s in my heart and my gut. My heart starts pounding and my face feels bright red – I feel lightheaded and my stomach twists in knots. I know it sounds intense and I’m sure I could cool my jets a little but I think I feel this way because to me it’s not just a gift. It’s a piece of my heart. I learned something about them; I remembered it; I thought of them at the store, or in some cases, went to the store just for that gift; I spent money on this thing and then brought it to them; I often take the time to write a note and decorate the gift. Maybe it sounds silly to you or maybe if you are a gifts person like me you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a piece of my heart saying, “I love you”, and there is a chance that when I give them that piece they will reject it. Maybe not on purpose, but reject it nonetheless.
One memorable gift-giving story happened during my first year at the ministry school I attended, Anthem. Anthem is like a family and I was really determined to single out my classmates one by one throughout the year in showing them love. So one morning, I got up early and went and got one of my classmates a coffee from Starbucks. I remembered the drink she always ordered and thought bringing it to her was a good way to show her I loved her and was thinking of her. (As I said earlier, this was my jam, the way I really love saying, “I love you,” to someone I care about.) The day I delivered the coffee to my classmate for some reason we were all stuck inside this tiny room (all 19 of us). It was my moment of truth but with some higher stakes because now everyone would see how she would react to my gift. I handed her the coffee and in front of everyone she sweetly said, “Oh… I’m fasting, I can’t drink that.”
Now, I can’t tell you if that story could have ended differently but I do remember the huge amount of embarrassment, and ultimately rejection, I felt in that moment. I could tell you lots of stories where I felt this way but this one really sticks out to me. Maybe it’s with gifts or maybe not but I’m sure you’ve all felt this way before. You put your heart into something and it was met with resistance or rejection. I have felt tempted in times like these to protect my heart from further possible rejection by hiding my heart and shielding it. My flesh tells me that I don’t need to put myself out there anymore, that my heart will be safe if I stop trying to love such imperfect people in radical ways. Of course it was just a coffee, but the facts are the same – letting people see your heart and even have a piece of it is absolutely terrifying.
But of course the opposite is true: it is also absolutely rewarding. I have over and over again been challenged by the heart of God to love people radically without restraint; to be so weirdly generous and loyal and faithful that people would always, always remember the way I loved them; that they knew I was only able to love them so greatly because I myself was so greatly loved. This type of love comes at a cost, the cost of vulnerability and exposure; the cost of someone misjudging your motives or thinking you are misguided or weird; the cost of people trying to take advantage of your heart, which is so open and vulnerable. In fact there’s a 100 percent chance of hurt. Because we are dealing with imperfect people who are hurting and lost, people just like you and me.
It’s no secret that Jesus told us to love one another. In fact, He even said in Matthew 22:39 that it was the second most important commandment, right behind loving God with all of you. He tells us to love your neighbor as yourself. I often look at my life and think that maybe my calling is to love people extraordinarily. At times I begin to think that it’s not that special or not that cool, yet I always end up in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, the passage that talks about all these amazing things you could do as a believer. You could have “prophetic powers” or “understand all mysteries and knowledge” or (my favorite) “have all faith as to remove mountains”. It even says you could die as a martyr. But if you don’t have love, you are nothing. Let me repeat that. If you say to a mountain, “move!” and it moves but you don’t have love, you are nothing. Jesus was so very serious about this love thing and we ought to be as well. My challenge to you is to look at the way you love others around you. Is it ordinary or is it radically? I know the risk, I’ve experienced the pain, but here’s what I know to be true – no pain of rejection can compete with the joy of love.