Yes He is!
I recently listened to Lara Casey give a heart to heart talk about creativity and her struggles with comparison, jealousy and envy. She is the real deal and my heart was immediately drawn to her. As soon as she sat down and opened her mouth to speak, the tears welled up in my tired blue eyes. It was late last Wednesday night as I began watching her video. She said, "Your creative gifts? They mean something. Your creative gifts were given to you by God for God." Hello, waterworks.
I quickly scratched a few notes in my hot pink and gold polka dot Greenroom journal and called it a night. I needed to let what I had heard marinate for a while. Fast forward to 5 o'clock the next morning when I opened up my prayer journal and began writing down my prayer. Here is part of it:
"...Thank You for using Lara Casey...You are creative, You made me creative for Your glory, not mine. What are the motivations of my heart? I repent that yes, I wanted to write to make a name for myself so I could feel important, like I mattered and have value. I don't think I've ever admitted that I craved notoriety.... I surrender all of my wrong motives to Your Lordship...I want to walk in Your light of life. Help me out of the dark places of envy, jealousy, comparison, pride, anger...If I am to write, release the words...open my eyes...tell the story for me...and let it all be for Your glory....
Man, it is gut wrenching to be so vulnerable but I share it in hopes that someone will be encouraged as I was when Lara shared her story. Shame dwells in secrecy and I've lived in that arena for a minute.
After my prayer time, I plug in my ear buds and listen to Pastor Steven while I fast walk around the track by my house. He's preaching about stretch marks, making me laugh out loud and amen at the same time. In the midst of hearing him share, I hear the Lord ask me to write this blog post. I am fired up to share because the truth sets people free, right? Funny though, on my walk home after the podcast ended and I was alone with my thoughts, I was like "No, Lord. I don't think I can." When will I ever learn? Smile. And He said to me, "Yes, you can. I know you."
I get home all sweaty and grab a pen and paper and I take down the definition of 'notoriety' and words related to it...and I see the word 'influence'. The definition of notoriety has thrown me off because it means the character of being notorious or widely known. Light bulb moment: I don't want notoriety but rather influence which is the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others. My desire is to display Jesus Christ in my everyday life in a way that makes Him attractive to others.
I want the creativity that God has given me to be used for God. That's the biggest takeaway that I received from Lara. It was a timely word for me. And as God is graciously opening doors for me, I pray Psalm 19:14 repeatedly. And I knew I needed to be honest and share some of the dark places of my heart while I'm walking the road less traveled.
The goal of any writing I do, the way I live, the words I use, the motivations of my heart, how I treat my husband and children is for His glory, not mine. Can I brag about how awesome my God is?
In the midst of all my internal chaos, He gently reminds me of something that I've been seeing over and over again as I'm working through Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. He says, "Melissa, I see you. I know you."
As fast as I can I say Thank You Jesus and begin typing the word 'know' in Google and find all the information on what it means. I read every definition, I take down Scripture after Scripture with that word in it, I find meaningful quotes about being known, and when I'm finished I find I have SEVEN pages of notes on wide-ruled notebook paper.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best, "One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself...(instead) we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God."
Somewhere along the way, I allowed some wrong thinking and old ways creep inside my heart, to try to make a name for myself. When honestly and truly, my prayer has been, and continues to be, that I want to know Him and make Him known. I'm grateful for the gut check from God because He can't use me and my wrong motives. And then in His awesomeness He leads me to 1 Corinthians 8:3:
"But if anyone loves God, he is known by God."
I love words. I especially love the Greek word for 'know' which is epiginosko which means to know exactly. I get to know God by my personal and direct relationship with Him. He knows everything about me. The good. The bad. The ugly. I don't have to perform for Him. I don't have to earn His love. He willingly gives Himself to me. And that makes me willing to give Him all of me in return.
It doesn't matter who knows me, as long I know Him and love Him because I know He knows me, loves me and proved it for me when He died so I could live. And my goal is to tell everyone, everywhere, "The King is wild for you!" Psalm 45:11 MSG