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Have you ever "heard" from the Lord? I've had some pretty amazing faith experiences in my life – my conversion at Edinboro Christian Youth Camp, my years at Nyack College, moving from New York to Pennsylvania, leaving my job at Milton Hershey School, moving to Colorado to work for Focus on the Family – but something special happened to me recently on the way to work that I want to share.
The parenting team at Focus is together going through the book Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson. It is rocking my boat. I can literally feel "a new work" being done in my heart, and it is uncomfortable.
While driving to work, I felt the Holy Spirit say (not audibly), Do not medicate! Do you trust me with your heart, Roy?
I began thinking about the ways I "medicate" myself (TV, video games, my smartphone, etc.). I then began reflecting on sermons at church and conversations with my wife. I've been unpacking some past "stuff" that I had forgotten and for some reason is now resurfacing. For a few weeks I have been struggling with where I am emotionally. Now, maybe some of you are shocked that guys actually think and feel this way, but we do.
I shared with my wife what I've been feeling, and this was a portion of her response: "I always know when you are struggling, but my confrontation always seems to sound like a nagging mom. Usually it's because there's a longing to be close and have the moments like we did on Saturday." (We went to a wedding and danced together) "Reality usually steals those moments, and we need to grab them when we can."
I found comfort in her words ("I always know when you are struggling"). We all desire to be known. I know that I do. And not just known by name, but at a heart level.
Here are a couple of quotes from Batterson's book that I’d like to share:
"Lord, surprise us."
"We can’t create divine appointments. All we can do is keep them."
"Prayer is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do."
The truth is that God is constantly doing a new work in all of our lives. But do we listen? Do I listen and see with what He is doing? Do I truly trust Him?
I just want to say that if God is doing "a new work" in your life, then you are not alone. Trust Him in the process. Fight for your heart by allowing Him the access He needs – then guard it as if your life depends on it. Because it does.
A couple of years ago I started talking with my kids about "guarding their hearts." We then went from just talking about it to praying about it. We claim this promise in our lives: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
I am realizing that guarding also requires some fighting if I give ground to the enemy. The enemy might look different for each of us: past hurts, un-forgiveness, resentment, bitterness, shame … you name it. Ultimately this enemy removes the "life" from our heart. But fighting might also mean letting God begin a new work. And do I really trust Him with that process?
My prayer is that I let God be God and trust Him with those things in my life that ultimately lead to more of Him and less of me. I just wish it wasn’t so messy.
Roy Baldwin (@pverb16_7) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Director of Parenting & Youth at Focus on the Family.
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Great post Roy, the Lord has been working on me
much the same. And i still continue to think i know
better......your post is a timely reminder that without
Him i can do nothing. May our Father in heaven bless
you Roy, that His spirit would overflow in you.
Together in Christ,
Thanks Mike...I struggle with the "I know better" syndrome as well. May you know the fullness of Christ today on your journey and may He "surprise you." Blessings, Roy
Great Blog son.
Roy! I LOVED this post. thank you for sharing it. I haven't read draw the Circle yet, but I read the Circle Maker and it was incredible. So excited about the new work the Lord is doing in you. He is so good to us!