This is Believing. This is Faith.

2019 was the year I started on this journey. “Believe” is my Word. It has not gone as I expected. Rather than a wonderfully victorious race, it’s been a year of slow and painful deconstructing of old beliefs and a laying of true foundations. It’s left me wrung out and off balance. Most recently, a deeply entrenched, old church teaching about faith and believing got the heave-ho.

Whatever the culture or religion, wherever people gather, we pass down stories and beliefs, understandings of how life works. The Church is no different. For generations we have believed, as plain fact, that faith must be stirred up so that we fully conquer doubt. Otherwise, it isn’t faith. We have agreed that faith is a strong proclamation of belief.  We’ve taught that faith can force what we will into happening, and that without it we’ll jinx anything good that God could do. We don’t use those exact terms, but stripped down to bare bones truth, we treat faith like magic. What we don’t realize is that in doing so, we have misshaped the very foundation of how we see God.

In 2016, I had the kind of faith that believed without any doubt. I had full belief that my husband would live and be healed of cancer. In nine short months, I learned that I knew nothing about faith. My relationship with God wasn’t shaken, but I was confused and I had new doubts about what I had thought were solid facts. I knew I was somehow misunderstanding what faith was, and I questioned my own ability to hear from God.

A week or so ago, I was talking to God, trying to hand over fears I have about new responsibilities I’ve taken on for someone else. Things are precarious in this situation, and I’d been trying to conquer fear and worry in order to generate that feeling of believing I think I’m supposed to have. Although I don’t believe it’s actually true anymore, I feel as though there is a curse hanging over me in the area I’m stepping into. I believe more in the power of my weakness than I do God’s strength.

Holding onto God, ignoring the fear that I still have not conquered, I look to God, hanging onto his promises, no matter what I’m feeling. Whether my emotional response changes or not, I leave it there. Many times a day. As I was apologizing to God for my lack of faith and my unbelief, that Still, Small Voice gently said, “This IS faith. You ARE believing.”

As happens when he speaks to us this way, suddenly, I understood! Faith is not a feeling. Believing is not determined by what I feel. Faith is not the absence of fear or worry. My emotions are a small part of who I am. They do not dictate my choices. I may feel like eating brownies for dinner, but if I choose to eat a salad instead, I receive the nutrients of the salad, not the sugar of the brownies. I can even eat that salad while staring at the brownies, and still get the benefits of the salad. It would be pretty dumb to subject myself to such torture, but that’s another story.

I am choosing to trust God, believe not just what he says, but who he is. I have faith, not because I have no doubt, but because I choose to place my life and circumstances in his hands in the midst of my doubt and fear. I choose to believe in his goodness more than my weakness.

Choosing to focus on what God has promised when my feelings don’t agree is exactly what faith is. It’s resting in him before I conquer my emotions. It’s believing his words before my reasoning comes into alignment. I am exercising faith, to have faith!

Today stretches long in front of me, and my tomorrows are full of change. I believe God is laying out the path before me, and I have faith he will walk with me all the way. This is the Adventure in God.

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God Is

God is vast–beyond the universe kind of vast. And yet, we make him so small–smaller than ourselves. People seem to think that God stands over us demanding we “get it right” before he’ll bestow his goodness and love. That just isn’t true. His love and his goodness are all around us, even within us, available to us at all times. Somehow, we miss it. We don’t know how to see or experience his presence as we were created to do.

 

I’ve mentioned before that I suffered from depression for most of my life, desperately wanting to be free; and I’ve shared that after many years of seeking freedom and a long, heart-wrenching process, when I was finally delivered and healed, I experienced a freedom I never imagined could be mine. But here’s the thing. God didn’t just bring freedom to me; he became freedom in me. Continue reading

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Expect Something Different

“Expect something different.” I wrote that at the top of a page in my junk-drawer-journal; that spiral bound thing that has menus, budget figuring, floor plan ideas, shopping lists, thoughts and study notes, and scribbles from Eowynn. Every time I’m flipping through looking for a recipe idea or some random note and I see those words, “Expect something different,” it grips my soul. It hit me today; this is a vital piece in my journey to Believe! (I realize this may have been obvious, but that’s just how far I have to go!)

This is where believing in theory becomes a mindset change. Continue reading

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Can You Believe This Freedom?!

“God said it and now he’s doing it. It’s no afterthought; he’s always known he would do this.” Acts 15:18

This is too perfect to not share on Independence Day. That’s what the Apostle James said to the group of church leaders when they were making a pivotal decision about Gentiles and salvation; about our freedom. Continue reading

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Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day. It’s a hard day for me now, so to tame the struggle, I want to honor three fathers; my dad, my husband, and my son. My dad showed me many things—honesty, integrity, devotion to family—but most important to me, running like a golden ribbon through my life, is to worship and love God at home, when no one else was around. Continue reading

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Adventures in Believing

A lot has happened in these two months, but most involved other people’s stories that I don’t feel free to share. I’ve been privileged to share God with people, and show the love of Christ in a boldness and confidence I’m accepting as part of this new journey, part of the me that I’m becoming. I can’t see the “after” pic or where I’ll end up.  Where I’m going doesn’t show on my map.

Something quite new is working on my first message/sermon, and it’s been difficult. I love writing, but I haven’t done any public speaking in so many years, that I can’t even remember. I desperately want to share what’s on my heart, what God has given me victory in and authority over. I’m so excited, but I keep starting and scrapping each draft. Just recently, I finally got on a track that is flowing and the words are falling into place.

Every song and teaching I hear point me in the same direction and build lesson upon lesson. I know I am due for some soaking time with God. I need to let all that learning soak into my heart and soul. I need that quiet time with God to just rest and abide in his presence. Do you have a radar that tells you you’re running low and you need to get back in? I’ve been playing it safe, staying on my map in wonderful, new, but still familiar territory.

One thing God has been impressing on me lately has clicked into a complete, understandable thought just last week is that I will not survive the future he has for me if I do not abide in him and live from a lifestyle of abiding. I can’t jump into his presence when the need arises. I mean, I can continue to live that way, but not if I want to reach my dreams and the fullness of his promises to me. I’ll need to start full, because I’m not going to be able to plan for those opportunities; they’ll fall on me when I’m not looking. Living from that place of abiding is part of  my dream life, but now it’s time to take that seriously. No more dabbling. Time to make the move. I spend lots of time studying and praying; lots and lots of time! But now, it’s time to turn off the outside distractions, the words from my own mind, and just dwell in his spirit and let him do the talking.

I’m ready to walk off my map.

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Believing in Freedom

I’m continuing on this journey with Believe as my companion. It’s a blast! I think any time we know we’re learning and growing, we have the opportunity to rest in Joy. I’ve had some weird and disturbing things happen, not big things, but just…unsettling. I’ve put them in my saddlebag and continued forward. I’ll get them out later when I make camp for longer than a night.

I know I say “God showed me” a lot, but honestly, I feel dishonest and arrogant saying that I “realized” something if it came to me when God and I were talking. Continue reading

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Believing in Words Fulfilled

Back in 1994 or thereabouts, I received a prophecy that set me on a course to becoming a different person. Strike that. It set me on a course to becoming the person God created, the person I truly am. Continue reading

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Breaking Old Beliefs

For the last couple years, I’ve been asking God to change my mindset about money. I could see that I have a habit of anxiety that is not in synch with my experienced reality; and my mindset was indeed changing my experience. I am not able to enjoy financial successes because my mindset is stuck in crisis. Continue reading

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Believing for Boldness

Every day as I drive to and from work, I talk to God or listen to teachings or worship music. It’s my favorite time of the day. This morning as I left home, I was talking to God about being bold. Continue reading

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