Tuesday, January 18, 2011

God Doesn't Call Us To Be Alone

"The Lord God said, "It is not good that man is alone..." Genesis 2:18

I've been finding out how true this verse is in that last few months. At first, I never wanted to be alone because I didn't want to dwell on what I gave up to be here...like my family and friends. So I hung out with different team members a lot. But even then, I could not escape being alone in my apartment.

A few years ago I started reading Joyce Meyer's book, "Battlefield of the Mind." As I was reading through it, my attitude was, "I'm not reading the next chapter until I start applying the one I just read." When I read the chapter on being a positive person, I let it forever change my life and determined to be a positive person. When something goes wrong, I usually say something like, "Well, at least (enter text here)." At least we tried, at least I still have X, at least I still have God. So during the first month, I took the opportunity to get closer to God. There's something about giving away almost everything to obey Him that takes your relationship to the next level.

Side note: persecution and sacrifice is never meant to pull us away from God, but instead to bring us even closer to Him.

When the realization that I was the only single person on the team hit me, even though that truth stung, I decided to have the attitude, "I can't believe God called ME to be on this team! Thank you God."

When the reality that the only friends I had in my life at this time were older, married, had their own family and all together at a different stage of life than me hit me, I told myself, "At least I have friends that I love hanging out with."

Of course there would be days where I was tired of being positive and would break down. But God was there every time to pick me up and strengthen me so I could keep going. And if I stayed in my apartment for a day, I made a conscious effort to get out and be with human company because if I didn't, I'd get in a weird funky mood.

So this is where God starts doing awesome stuff. :)

Through my work, when they hired seasonal help, I met Jenn. It didn't take long for her find out about REC and she started asking questions about it. She ended up coming with us when we did "Rake Up Boise", an organization that gets volunteers to rake up yards for the elderly and disabled. Our whole team loved her. She ended up coming to our Christmas party too.

I cant exactly remember why, but I was feeling like it was going to be a while before Jenn and I clicked. Around that time, during group prayer on Sunday, PJ felt led to pray for friends for me and encouraged the team to pray for me in their own prayer time.

I knew then, that God had something amazing planned for me.

Fast forward to January. One of my targets (we'll call her target A)asked to go out with me for coffee, and turns out she invited my other target. :) That same day, target A called me her friend. yay! The next week, Ashley, another CP employee my age, had  long conversation with PJ about God. I already had Ashley's number for work, so I invited Ashley and PJ out for coffee. We talked for 2 hours about what God had been doing for us since we moved and what God has put on our hearts for what the church is going to be like. She was so so excited and decided to start coming to REC. Ashley and I got to hang out one on one and I learned more about her background and her personality. When I got home,  I was so excited for what God was now doing for me, I felt bold enough to ask Jen out for coffee the same week. When we met, we got to have the heart to heart both of us had been wanting. Out coffee outing turned into a coffee and lunch on Table Rock (the plateau with the big cross that lights up every night) and we went to a couple other places. Immediately I knew this was a God thing. I connected with her so so well. The next day, my work let me off early and I was having a hard time finding someone to give me a ride home. So I called Jenn and asked for a ride. After she picked me up, we ended up job hunting at two different stores. On the way to my apartment, we were talking about how hungry we were. Right as we pulled up to my place, she asked if I wanted to get Thai food with her. "Heck ya!!" (we both love Thai) So we got some AMAZING Thai food. Then went to another place to get ice cream. During this outing, both of us said how the other was an answer to their prayers. She had moved to Boise the same time I did and didn't have any friends that were a good influence on her. It's amazing how God orchestrated our meeting. She wasn't sure why she ended up at Children's Place at first, but now she understands, God was setting her up to find a church and good friends. (I'm not puffing us up, she told me all of this) She came to our first service and really enjoyed it.

I know that was the long version of that story, but It was just so amazing how God had it all planned out. Two young girls who knew nothing of each other prayed the same prayer at the same time and God brought us together. My God is so so faithful. :)

God doesn't call us to be alone. Adam was alone with God for some time, then God decided he needed someone just like him, to be with and have a relationship with. God can sustain us in our times of loneliness, but it won't stay that way...we need human company. We need friends to get strength from and give strength to. We need people to live life with. Remember to stay positive though. I believe it was my choice to be positive even in a tough situation that helped me not go insane. lol. I was still thriving despite my struggle thanks to God and trusting that He knows what He's doing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When God Destroys...

One very large challenge that many of the leaders on the River's Edge team has dealt with has been self perception. When I moved to Boise, after God corrected me on unwillingness to make disciples, He put a mirror in front of MY very flawed mirror that I saw myself in. I knew how God saw me; a beautiful woman full of talent, love and very worth pursuing. I saw myself as ugly, stupid, flawed and that nobody truly wanted me in a romantic way. (I'm being very real and transparent with you because I want you to see the HUGE change God has done in me.) When I received a complement, I would either use it for my confidence to stand on, needing more and more complements without end, or I would write them off as liars. This cancerous mindset was so strong in me, that even when God confronted me about it before, I would not let him past the fortress that guarded my self perception. Every hint of rejection confirmed my thinking and built the fortress higher. I told myself over and over again, "I am not of any value to anyone." In Jr High I started comparing myself to girls around me and always found myself not worth pursuing in comparison to them. So then I started eating to medicate my pain. When the pain was very great, I would verbally and physically abuse myself. I would say out loud to myself, "You're not worth it. Nobody wants you. Look at you...you're ugly compared to them." The guilt that followed was so great, I would medicate with food, or confirming I was right by comparison...the deadly cycle of pain and addiction continued. The Holy Spirit would speak to my heart and counter the lies that I believed about myself but I would throw it back in His face saying, "Life experience rings more true to me than your Word."

My heart desperately longed for a life experience that would prove that things have changed saying, "NOW I'm found wanted." However, God would not have it. He would not relent until He PROVED to me that HIS WORD rings more true than any experience I have had.

When I moved to Boise, I had a lot more alone time in my apartment. At first, I clung to God because I needed His strength while I transitioned from almost constant company, to days alone at a time. My relationship with Him deepened so so much. However, as I got more comfortable in my new life style, being alone became hard in another way. It was suddenly easier to get deeper into any and all addictions I had. (since they were all linked together) After falling on my face...again, I begged God to free me. "Tear out the things that tear me apart. Uproot the things that strangle my heart. Put on mute the things that silence your Spirit. Make me new until all I am pleases You."

Several weeks passed, then I had an encounter with a young man of God where, by first impressions of how I looked and how I acted, he sought to get to know me. I haven't seen him since, but the whole encounter threw me off balance. It countered what I believed of myself. I thought someone would have to spend quite some time with me to see past my many flaws, to find me worth pursuing. I found every excuse in the book to try and counter it. It wrecked me so much...I fell apart. The love of God shone through so strongly through this man that it took me off guard and God was finally able to completely obliterate the fortress I had built. I was in such panic, I was trying to rebuild my fortress as quickly as I could...but once God destroys something, it cannot be put back together.

I remember being on the floor crying with no end for quite some time. After I had seen that it was hopeless to put my old self perception back together again, I opened my heart as wide as I could open it and let God do what He had been so very patiently waiting to do in my heart for almost 10 years. He was uprooting every lie I had told myself and He told me over and over again how amazing and marvelously made I am...how beautiful I am...and how I'm wanted above all, by Him. He also reassured me, that with patience, He will bring me to the man He has picked out for me; and that man will want and love me deeply.

I am very aware of how transparent this entry is, but if I am not transparent with people, then they cannot see God alive in me. And He IS!! He's ALIVE in my heart and my heart is His home. He may do WHATEVER He wants to do with it. :) Because I trust and love Him so....

Since God has radically wrecked my heart, (in a good way) OH WHAT A CHANGE!! What a FREEDOM I feel!! I see myself SO much better and I'm completely trusting in God for my future. The way God sees me, is becoming more and more of how I see myself everyday. I feel like a blindfold has been taken off and like a huge bag of bricks has been dropped from my back. Joy...oh sweet joy, is more and more evident in my life. And because I can love myself more, I can love people more deeply than I could ever before. My focus is off my faults and I am able to focus more on what God wants me to do each day. :)

My encouragement to you is if you know you see yourself in an unhealthy way, (and you will know because God's Spirit will or already has shown you.) ask God to completely destroy that negative way you see yourself ; to the point where even if you tried, you could not go back because the truth of HIS WORD in undeniable.

"Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a NEW thing in you!!" Isaiah 43:18-19a (emphasis added)

Forget what people have told you, what you have told yourself or your past experiences, God is doing a NEW thing in your life!! So let Him!! You will not be able to recognize your old self by the time He is done. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

#1 Calling

I am SOOO excited for this new year. Today the staff got together and spent a lot of time in prayer. I could feel the anticipation from everyone. God is about to move! He already is! AHH!! I love my God. So I'm meeting with on of the people I put a target on for coffee. I know that I know I will pray the sinner's prayer with her soon. I can feel it! And I want her to know Jesus so badly...Also, my Mormon friend came into my house long enough to see my art. As a result, she asked for me to commission a piece for her. She's willing to pay me $100 for a small piece and for a larger one, I set the price. I'm hoping there's a way to minister to her through this opportunity. I know God wants her. I know she desperately needs Him. I'm praying for them like crazy. Feel free to add your faith to mine. :) I'm determined for these women to become God's.

I really really encourage you, if you don't have anyone in your life that you have put a target on for you to pour God's love on and pray over until they pray the sinner's prayer, FIND SOMEONE!! It's such a thrill to see God move and change people's lives right before your eyes. :) Making disciples is your #1 calling. Any other calling God has put on your life is so that you can make disciples more effectively!! Amen! So if you're a hairdresser, a lawyer, a teacher, an artist...whatever you are, God has positioned you so you can be a witness for Him!

I think I'm going to make this a priority and constantly encourage it to my worship team. One reason why Christians hearts get calloused or stagnant is because they aren't going out and making disciples. I KNOW that if my team is constantly going out and getting people saved, their heart and effort in worship will be so GREAT!! I know that suddenly compassion will flow out of them and their instrument on stage. Then, it will be SO much easier for their hearts to be in the right place and they will worship fearlessly because PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR!!! Amen!! Amen!!

I'm SOOO excited for this year and what God is going to do!! I feel like nothing is out of reach or impossible. God IS and WILL move in Boise because River's Edge Church is here and every single team member wants this church to be what GOD wants it. because of that heart, we will be successful.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Green means "Go"

Maybe my perception is wrong, but when I think of starting a blog, I consider myself so so selfish! Who wants to read about me talking about MY life and what I am doing and MY thoughts on life and other random things. However, I understand that there are a few people who want to know what my life in Boise is like and how I'm doing. I've also realized that people seem to be encouraged by what God has done and is doing in me. It's a little difficult jumping in to a story that's already started. I feel like I need to play a lot of catch up. So I'll either put a lot into one post, or post very often until I feel anyone who reads my stories can understand and appreciate what's going on here in Boise.

I had a hard time trying to pick a name for my blog, but I chose "Living Fearless" because that's what God told me to do in high school and ever since then, my life has never been the same. Moving to Boise hasn't been the most life changing decision I've made; chosing to live fearlessly for God has been. Moving to Boise is just a result of that decision. However, moving to Boise HAS changed my life...dramatically. I can't wait to see what God does through my obedience. :)

So I have story I always tell first when talking about what has happened since I've moved. I guess I'll just keep with the tradition and share that one first:

God gave me a really big kick in the pants during my first few weeks in Boise. It was hard to admit to myself, and most of all to people, that even though I've grown up in church my whole life, at the age of 20, I had never prayed the sinner's prayer over anyone before. I'd never put a target on someones back for me to try to win for Christ. I'd rarely even prayed for someone I knew to be saved. My mentality was, "I serve in the church. There are people who minister to Christians and there are people who minister to the lost. I'm not called to witness outside the church."

One night I was reading in John and read the Great Commission, "Go into all the world and make disciples." God took the opportunity to let me know, "I didn't exclude anyone from that order. EVERYONE is to go and make disciples....that means you too." I wanted to ignore it or find an argument, but God had confronted me about it so strongly, there was no getting around it. I had to admit to God and myself that I had ignored and ran in fear from the biggest thing God called me to do...make disciples. Whether a person is a leader in the church or not, they are called to go make disciples. Whether a person is shy or out-going, they are called to go make disciples. There is no excuse or exception, EVERY Christian is call to GO MAKE DISCIPLES.

Sadly, as soon as I decided to change, I had to ask, "How do I get someone saved?" I was SOO embarrassed I even had to ask that question. I didn't get a direct, straight answer. I think it's because there's more than one way to catch a fish and different bait attracts different fish. But the scripture and song, "they will know we are Christians by our love" came to mind. Also the scripture talking about us overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony came to mind as well. So I had to find some "fish."

I transferred from the Portland Children's Place clothing store to the one in Boise. Which was nice because one; I didn't have to find another job. Two; I had a small pond to fish in. What was really cool was that it didn't take long for people to find out I was a Christian because they all asked why I had moved to Boise. (since it wasn't to go to the college) It became obvious when I told them, "I moved here to help start a new church." For some of my co-workers, the conversation died there. Others however were intrigued and asked more about my story. For one girl in particular, just in telling her my story, she told me, "Wow, you are so strong. I have such a high respect for you now." Her and a few others became very curious with my lifestyle and curious about the church. Keep in mind that none of these people are Christians. Matter of fact, one is Mormon. I LOVE that just in my obeying God, that that witnesses to people. They see the sacrifice I've made and what I've left behind and are so curious why I would do that.. :) I love it!

I want everyone at my work to be saved, but there are a few that are particularly heavy on my heart. One has become a friend to me. She's in her 40's, has kids and happened to be the best at "winning at the wrap." (gets the highest percentage in emails, phone numbers, and credit card apps) She's a great people person and has a lot of influence in the work area even though she's not a manager. But one day she comes up to me and says, "So Becca, I normally wouldn't like you and would be very jealous of you, but you are so NICE, it's impossible to not like you!" haha. Just try and imagine my awkward response to THAT one. Another day, I had just won a PSP Go in a drawing from work (your name gets put in every time you get someone to apply for a children's Place credit card) and the same girl comes up to me and says, "Normally I'd be really jealous and hate your guts right now, but I'm glad that out of everyone here, you are the one who won it." She's also told me several times that she goes home and talks about me to her husband. She even brought in her husband and little boy to work just to meet me.

One day, I walked into the beak room and caught her crying. This girl NEVER cries so it was a big deal. Found out a customer was a complete jerk to her and hurt her so much, she had to take an early break. Well, I was going to get a gift for the company's gift exchange anyway, so I went out and found a "bad work day recovery kit." It has self-motivational cards, band aids, a bad work day handbook, a charm and a few other funny items in there. When I gave it to her, she was so moved that she almost cried again.

I'm not telling you this to puff myself up AT ALL. It's just me sharing my excitement about how God is using me to show people His love. I LOVE seeing God's love have an impact on someones life.

There's another girl at work that I'm praying over and pouring on the love. She's in her late twenties, has two small kids and is a Mormon. I'm not sure how much I hope I really have in making her a disciple, but I'm determined to show her the truth in love. I haven't preached to her at all and neither has she. I catch her watching me though. Not in a creepy way, but in a deeply curious way. I can almost see the wheels physically spin in her head. One day she threw out a comment about how broke she was at the time. Her favorite pretzel place in  the mall happened to be having a mall employee special where you could get a pretzel for a buck. I asked if she was gonna get one and she told me no. She didn't have the money. So I pulled out the dollar I had in my pocket (it was my bus money I ended up not using that day) and handed it out to her, saying, "Here. Go and get a pretzel." She shook her head and told me, "No. no I can't take that from you." I assured her that I was planning on not having that dollar at the end of my day anyway and told her to just take it. The moment she grabbed it, she started crying. It threw me off....I didn't expect her to cry. Luckily there weren't customers around. I figured out that it meant so much because one, she didn't have a great lunch that day, two, she has no friends outside work, and three, she felt unloved at the time. It's amazing what a small act of kindness will do. Since then, she's asked me questions about the church and I just see a strong fondness towards me from her. I'm at a loss of what else to do for her other than love her. I know it's especially hard for a Mormon to convert to Christianity, but we'll see what God does.

I can't wait til I get to the day where I'll get to pray the sinners prayer over one of my co-workers. I want to overcome this obstacle of never leading someone to Christ. I know it'll be exhilarating and addicting the moment it happens. :)