I had a pastor tell me to share the good and the bad from the Kingdom Expression Experiment. It's hard to share the bad because it makes me very vulnerable. I also like to be positive and joyful. So, if anything is going on that isn't good I tend to not share that but instead share the good I see despite the bad. Things turn around very quickly when I do it that way.
Warning: This post may be more than you want to read. I'm going to talk about the battle has been in my mind. That means letting you in on the part of me that only God has had access to. Until now.
I came to Cambria, California to rest. My folks have a house here that has a view of the ocean. I can hear the waves at night and take long walks by day. I love coming here every year to hear from God and get new revelation. I was expecting a wonderful encounter with Him. But, finding rest hasn't really happened. I guess physically it has but it hasn't been spiritually restorative.
I have had a hard time reading the Word, praying, writing or journalling. Things in the ministry have been hard too. I told God I felt like I was striving to enter rest and the enemy was striving to keep me from it. I felt stuck and was really tired of it!
It's like rest was just on the other side of this wall I couldn't break through. I was getting annoyed at not being able to enter it as easily as I normally do.
Then a friend wrote me saying she was praying for me and said,
“I think you are just in a period of standing against the enemy. Like it's got no power and as long as you keep doing what you're doing, standing against him, he will leave. It's not going to be a long battle. The enemy knows you are about to have a breakthrough and he's trying to discourage you.”
Discourage me? Yep, I can see that! The enemy has secret tactics he likes to use to discourage us. And sometimes practicing the spiritual disciplines don't feel like they help a whole lot. But I always think how much worse it would be if I didn't practice them! Maybe I'm not the only one that is in a battle.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil … Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Eph 6:11, 13
Ephesians tells us to put on the armor of God and emphasizes “stand” three times within the same portion of Scripture. There has to be a reason for this … it's important to know and remember.
When I got the revelation that when you've done all you can do … like pray, praise, study the word, guard your mind, stand in peace, have faith, declare truth (which is putting on the armor) … you stand firm! It doesn't say we advance after putting on the armor. Which is what we hope for. It says so we will be able to “stand against the schemes of the devil,” “withstand the evil day” and “stand firm.”
Sometimes I feel like I'm in the evil day and standing against his schemes. I'm stuck at that wall striving to get my breakthrough and wondering why I'm not advancing.
And yet … I am right where I'm supposed to be. I'm in new territory so it's uncomfortable. I'm about to enter a new place that requires more effort to enter. More stamina to not lose ground.
Standing is harder than it looks!
Here is what I'm standing against:
NEGATIVE THOUGHTS: I strive to stop empowering the enemy with my thoughts. Because what I think upon I give power to. Since God enters my praises as soon as one of these thoughts come … I praise Him for all that I can think of in that same situation. I speak the opposite over what negative words I hear.
I fight lies like:
- Single Matters isn't growing much so what difference are you making?
- Single Matters doesn't make a dime … your time would be better spent figuring out how to make a real living.
- Volunteers keep quitting and you're having to re-train people or take on more. That's keeping you from developing new programs and moving forward. You'll never get ahead.
- People must not believe in what you're doing because they aren't giving financially.
- You write a book – HA! What do you know anyway? You are so busy where are you going to find time? You aren't a writer. You don't even want to do all that marketing to get it out there.
The truth is:
God decides growth and I'm not supposed to worry about what I can or cannot see. I get emails from all over the world so Single Matters IS making a difference. If I can't build new programs yet that is in God's hands too. I'll be faithful where I am and continue to stand against the enemy who wants to push me backwards. Many rewards are in heaven and not here on earth. God is trustworthy. I will never be without. I will only do things out of rest and not strive to accomplish more in the flesh.
NEED FOR AFFIRMATION: Sometimes I wonder if everyone thinks I'm being irresponsible or unproductive. I haven't made many videos lately or written many blog posts about what God is doing in the Kingdom Expression Experiment. Am I doing the right thing by continuing down this faith path instead of looking for a job?
Do people think:
- An online singles ministry is not a necessary. My ministry doesn't help hungry children, help pregnant teens or help women out of the sex industry. I help singles – who have jobs and should know singleness is a gift anyway. What ministry could they possibly need?
- She's avoiding work. When I posted something on Facebook about the struggle to get health insurance I got a response from someone that told me to get a job. But, I have a full time job. It just doesn't pay right now. Do I appear irresponsible or even worse … un-hirable?
- She's wasting her life. Other people's ministries are growing and I'm stagnant. Shouldn't I see growth or be asked to speak more by now? Doesn't fruit tell the truth?
- Is she really hearing from God? I don't have a spiritual covering like a pastor. I wish I had someone would ask me how I am doing and mentor me in wisdom. Do people think I'm recklessly going out and forgetting about the “two by two” model?
The truth is:
It doesn't matter what people think. God called me to start Single Matters as a ministry and go on the road with the Kingdom Expression Experiment because He thinks it's important. This is my full time job. Leaving my post now would be irresponsible. The results, funding, and journey is God's responsibility. He is my covering until someone else comes along side of me to compliment Him.
FEAR: Many people have said I am courageous, brave and adventurous. I have a strong gift of faith so why would I struggle to have peace in the midst of uncertainty? Probably because I'm human too. I have to put my faith in front of my fear. Lately more than usual.
I combat these fears:
- Next month you won't be able to pay your bills.
- You keep hoping for more but God won't do anything amazing through you.
- Driving alone is dangerous.
- The new opportunities you think are coming up will fall through.
- You put a lot of energy into something that won't last.
- Because you don't have a real job you'll end up old, broke and without retirement money.
The truth is:
THOSE ARE LIES! God would never say any of those things to me so those are from the pit of hell. God always provides the finances. I've seen miracles in people's lives because of the Kingdom Expression Experiment, everything God has for me will come to pass and if something doesn't last it's because that was God's plan for a season. He sustains everything and I don't decide if it's a good investment – God does. My future is secure.
So, welcome to the world of Ephesians 6.
I may not look like I'm advancing but that's because I'm standing.
And standing is required before advancing.
CC photo courtesy of John Spooner via Flicker.
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