Are We Divers or Swimmers? {For the Ones Who Long to See God}

Image-1 (12)It was about a year ago when God asked me a question I haven’t been able to shake.

Do you want to be a diver or a swimmer? 

Not totally sure what He meant, I sat down to journal for a little while. I quickly scratched out a few of their characteristics.

Swimmers are very “seen” – making a big splash and gliding across the surface of the water. But while they are seen, there may be a lot going on beneath surface that they never see. They miss out on a lot of discovery.

Divers, however, go “unseen” for long periods of time. Bystanders may not even realize they are under the surface of the water – going deeper and deeper, discovering the beauty and mystery awaiting there. They are unseen, yet seeing.

And I knew immediately what the Lord was asking me.

Kimberly, do you want to settle for skimming the surface of My Word, maybe even making a big splash and drawing a bit of attention to yourself with it… or do you want to see the DEEP things about Me? 

Of course, my answer was and still is that I want to be a diver.

I want to see Him.
I want to hear Him.
I want to know Him. 

Not just what I can grab in a quick few minutes here or there. I want the deep things of Him to settle into the deepest parts of me.

And not just so I can write a few Facebook posts or a good blog post or two. I want to see Him because I need Him. Because I love Him. Because He changes me and loves me like no other.

And I don’t want to cause any confusion or discouragement. I’m not talking about God requiring us to dive into His Word for hours upon hours every single day. That’s not what I’m saying at all. This post is about the position of our hearts, not performance. It’s about the attitude we carry with us all day long. An attitude that stirs us to seek Him.

So, what IS a diver? 

D – A diver is someone whose heart cry is “DEEPER.”

If scientists are continually discovering more about the natural world… if there are places in this world I have never seen with my own eyes… then how much more must there be to still see and discover about God? We have yet to plumb the depths of His wisdom and majesty and creativity. We have yet to see all of His wonders and His beauty. So I don’t want to settle for what I have seen and what I now know of Him when I know there is infinitely more.

{Lord, I know I have only seen the mere edges of Your ways and heard mere whispers of Your voice. Because I know there is more, I want more. I long to experience the deep things of You. Job 26:14, Psalm 42:7}

I – A diver is someone who says, “I am willing to be INVISIBLE to the world for a while so God can become more visible to me.”

A diver doesn’t dive to be impressive. A diver dives to discover. To see. To experience. And they block out the rest of the world, hiding themselves in deep waters, so they can see the things only visible to those willing to be invisible for a while.

{Lord, more than I want to be SEEN by man, I want to SEE You. Help me to set aside time each day. Not to just talk TO You, but to listen FOR You. And help me to seek You with a pure and hungry heart. Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Matthew 6:6 (MSG); Isaiah 50:4-5}

V – A diver’s appetite for the things of the Lord is VORACIOUS, insatiable, unquenchable.

Divers dive because they hunger to see more. It’s the same for all of us. What we hunger and thirst for, we go after. If I want a sandwich, I go fix myself a sandwich. If I’m thirsty, I go in the kitchen and get myself a drink. And if I truly want more of God, I don’t just sigh and wish I could have more of Him. I pursue Him. I seek Him. And the more I taste of Him? The more I want.

{Lord, You are the sweetest thing I have ever tasted. So I don’t want to settle for just one helping. I want more and more of You. Help me to continually taste and see that You are good. You are the only One who can satisfy my soul. Psalm 63:1-5, Psalm 42:1-2; Isaiah 55:1-3, Psalm 34:8, Matthew 5:6}

E – A diver’s eyes and ears are open and EXPECTANT.

Divers dive with purpose and on purpose, believing there is beauty to be seen and discoveries to be made. I want to walk through my days with purpose. And I want to live each day expectant. Eyes and ears open, believing God has things He wants to show me, things He wants to say to me, things He wants me to experience.

{Lord, I know that You still speak, and I believe You desire to speak to me. I am watching for You. I am listening for You. All. Day. Long. Help me to wake up each and every day with a heart of expectancy. John 10:27Matthew 11:15, Revelation 2:7aPsalm 119:18}

R – A diver’s heart is REVERENT and repentant.

Divers have a deep respect for the sea. They are in awe of it’s majesty and power. Am I living continually in awe of God? I love Psalm 25:14 in The Message translation: “God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in.” If we want to see Him, we must humbly honor Him. God responds to our worship – moving closer, inhabiting our praises, revealing more and more of Himself to us. He cannot resist a humble heart. Nor can He resist a repentant one. He draws near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8).

{Lord, I am in awe of You. And I remember who IS God (YOU) and who is not (me). May I never lose my sense of wonder before You. And may I quickly confess any sin in my heart and life. I long to live a life of unbroken intimacy with You. Psalm 96:9, Isaiah 43:11Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Acts 3:19, Revelation 3:19-20}

Oh, how I want to be a diver. Not a woman who stands on the shore and simply lets other people tell me how amazing God is. Not a woman who skims the surface of the things of God and walks away a bit refreshed but never deeply changed.

I want to be a diver. I want the cry of my heart to be DEEPER. I want to be willing to be INVISIBLE. I want my appetite to be VORACIOUS. I want to live EXPECTANT. And I want to remain humbly and sincerely REVERENT.

May seeking Him be our sweetest and greatest pursuit.

Because the seekers? They will be the seers. 

~ Kimberly

Why Doesn’t She Like Me? {When Hints of Haman are Hiding in My Heart}

When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.” Esther 3:5

I want to identify with Esther. Purpose-filled and created for such a time as this Esther. Humble, strong, beautiful Esther.

But how many times am I found with hints of Haman hiding in my heart? Haman. A man whose blood boiled to the point of plotting the destruction of all of the Jews in the kingdom of Ahasuerus simply because one man would not bow to him.

And I can’t help but think of the times I have gotten hurt, offended, or even angry because people haven’t loved me like I thought they should… responded to me like I thought they should… honored me like I thought should… jumped on board with whatever I was doing like I thought they should.

And, oh, how it makes me cringe to even type out a single one of those words.

Because I don’t want to be that prideful.

I don’t want to admit I’m easily wounded when I feel ignored. I don’t want to admit that my whole day can get thrown off when I feel neglected, unnoticed, unappreciated. But I realize I need to call it what it is so I can deal with it. Because it’s pride. It’s sin. And it’s dangerous to let it set up camp in my heart.

And I’m not saying I’m as bad as Haman. I’m not saying anyone else reading this is either. But I am saying we had better check our hearts.

Because while we certainly aren’t doing anything as extreme as plotting murder simply because someone won’t notice us, we need to know that envy and pride will absolutely kill our joy and steal our peace.

Sometimes all it takes is one quick scroll through social media. Next thing we know, the joy is leaking right out of us. All because we don’t understand why this certain person won’t friend us or why that person always likes “her” posts but never ours or why so-and-so never seems to care about what we are up to.

{Hello, Haman.}

And we can’t miss this. How it was one person.

Haman’s undoing was ONE person.

Even though he had great riches…

Even though he was blessed with many children…

Even though he had been advanced high above many others by the king…

Still he paved the way to his own death because of one man.

Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate,” (Esther 5:13).

Who is your “one person?” Who are you driven to distraction by because they won’t notice you? Won’t respond to you. Won’t love you.

I know mine.

And while I’m not “filled with wrath” like Haman was, I do know how forgetful I can become when I feel slighted by her. Forgetting about the blessings of a family that loves me like crazy, friends who pray for me and encourage me continually, and a life overflowing with the goodness and love of the Father.

So why exactly is it that I need her attention?

{Sigh.}

Oh, friends. This isn’t how we were made to live. Blind to the blessings that are already ours. Ungrateful for the love that we already possess. Demanding of attention that will never in a million years fix us or fill us up.

And so we must fix our eyes on the Lord once again and ask Him to fill our hearts to overflowing with HIS love.

Because if we are filled with the Father’s love, it really won’t matter if people like us. And if we are bowed in worship before Him, we won’t even be able to see who is and who isn’t noticing us.

Lord, forgive us for any and all of the places in our lives where we are basically demanding to be worshipped. You and You alone are worthy of worship. And forgive us for being shortsighted. For focusing on one person not liking us instead of being overwhelmed by the breathtaking scope of Your love that is immeasurably high and wide and long and deep. We say today that we love You and that Your love is enough. Root out every bit of this sin, every hint of Haman, hiding in our hearts. Because we don’t want it stealing from the beauty and the purpose You have tucked into this day. Amen.

For the Pelicans Among the Eagles {Soaring Above the Temptation to Compare}

ofjKX8aIt trips me up more than I care to admit.

Comparison.

And I end up apologizing – to the Lord, to the world – for everything I’m not. For how my faith doesn’t look quite like hers. For how I don’t do things quite the way she does. For how I feel slow and lumbering while she moves about the things of God with such poise and grace.

And I didn’t expect the Lord to encourage me through a bird. Through a long-legged gray heron patiently watching the water for fish. I was simply out for my morning walk. He was simply looking for his breakfast. And I couldn’t help but smile. At his grace. At the slim black mask over his eyes. At the way he would cock his head to make sure I wasn’t going to disturb his hunting. 

My mind wandered to other hunters of fish. Smaller birds like the brilliantly colored Kingfisher. Swift and powerful birds like the bald eagle. Elegantly plumed birds like the snowy egret. And the list goes on and on with glorious variety. Birds like the puffin and the spoonbill and the pelican. Each one a fisher of fish, yet each one designed so differently by our God. Designed perfectly for their own style of fish catching.

And we, we are called “fishers of men.” Those who follow Jesus and make Him known to the world. Those who help the world taste and see that He is good. And I sensed the Lord reminding me… correcting me…

If He delighted in creating such variety and beauty among the fishers of fish – all of those many kinds of birds – how much more did He delight in creating beauty and variety among His fishers of men?

Oh, that we would rest in the knowledge that we are who we are for a reason. Each with our own unique personality. Each with our own beautiful style of doing things. Each with our own God-designed way of making Jesus known. He isn’t longing for us to be more like other fishers of men. He simply wants us to follow Him, to know Him, and to love Him. He simply wants us to let Him fill us up and let Him flow right back out, making Him known to every person we come across.

Today, you can be you and I can be me.

No comparing. No apologizing.

Even if we feel like squat little puffins in a world of graceful egrets. Even if we feel like awkward pelicans surrounded by soaring eagles.

We can simply know we are exactly who we need to be. And we can choose to believe there is beautiful purpose in who God designed us to be.

May our hearts soar today with the knowledge that we are perfectly loved and beautifully purposed.

Much Love,
Kimberly

What if Your Dreams DON’T Come True?

Image-1 (3)Have you ever felt offended on behalf of someone in the Bible?

I know. That sounds like straight up heresy.

Because shouldn’t we read every line of Scripture through the lens of “God is good. God is sovereign. And who am I to question how He does things?”

But when it’s just you, the Word of God, and all of your hurt and mess, sometimes your gut-reactions may not be so neat and tidy. I confess that was me as I sat with the story of Moses not too long ago.

Me, Moses, and my messy reactions.

In the portion of Scripture I was reading, Moses was speaking life and encouragement over Joshua, the man who would get to lead God’s people into the Promised Land instead of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-8). Telling him not to fear. Encouraging him to trust God and keep on keepin’ on. And I found my insides starting to feel a little bristly.

Honestly, I would have struggled with that assignment. And not just the part about being an encourager in the face of my own disappointment thing. I would have struggled with not getting to enter the Promised Land. Because while my head knows a case of disobedience on the part of Moses is what kept him from entering in, my heart cries out, “But he worked so HARD. He deserves to go into the Promised Land.” {Yikes. Entitlement issues, anyone?} 

And Moses had worked hard. He had gone in front of hard-hearted Pharaoh again and again and again. He had led a stiff-necked, complaining bunch of people for forty years. But did he pout, shake his fist at God and throw in the towel when he first found out he wouldn’t be the one to officially lead the people in? Nope.

He. Still. Followed.
He. Still. Led.
He. Still. Encouraged.

And I felt the Lord impress some motive-checking questions on my heart…

Kimberly, if I told you right now that the dreams you are holding onto will never come to fruition, that the things you think you want, even think you deserve, will never come your way – would you still follow Me? If I told you that you will never reap for yourself some of the things you are sowing, would you still obey Me?

And while I wanted to immediately answer, “Yes, Lord. Of course!”… the truth is, I know my heart and flesh would struggle. In great big ways.

This struggle demands I take a closer look at Moses. Search for clues about what kept him following and serving the Lord in the midst of a disappointment that could have shut him down. And what I discovered are truths that I believe will help me keep pressing on with God no matter what too. Truths that make me ask a few questions of myself.

Here is what I discovered:

1 – Moses had truly experienced God.

Not someone else’s story. No. He had his own burning bush, sea parting, mountaintop meeting, face glowing story. Am I experiencing God for myself? Not just once in a while, but continually?

2 – He trusted God.

Seriously. If you read all about Moses, you will see that God asked Moses to do some crazy things. And Moses obeyed. There was obviously a deep level of trust there. Do I really and truly trust God, His plans and His love?

3 – He cared more about God’s presence than “arriving.”

See Exodus 33:15 – I will not go without Your presence. What is it I want most? God or a certain place/achievement/position?

4 – He made God’s will his goal instead of his own personal glory.

Not only would he not be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land, he had to purposefully encourage the next leader. Am I encouraging people who may go farther than me?

5 – He was willing to carry a vision that was about someone other than himself, thinking and acting generationally instead of selfishly.

Ummmmm… Wow. Am I willing to sow where I may never see the harvest this side of heaven?

How these truths challenge me in the best of ways. They tell me that Moses wouldn’t want me to be offended for him. He would want me to learn from him. Because this life? It’s not all about me and my own personal pursuits. And there is no destination, no dream, and no personal desire that will ever fill me like an intimate, daily walk with my God.

Father God, how thankful I am that You love this stiff-necked woman. Forgive me for all of the times I have pulled back from You when things haven’t gone my way. Help me to be more like Moses, Lord. Help me to follow You even in the midst of disappointment. Help me to willingly sow into others – even when they’re doing what I long to do. And help me to delight in You daily instead of living with my eyes fixed on some distant destination. I want to live a life where I am less “entitled” and more obedient and faithful, less “arrival”-minded and more right now presence enjoying, less about me and more about Your Kingdom, less grumbly and more life-speaking no matter what. Today, I say “yes.” Even if the dreams I am carrying right now are never realized, I will follow You. Amen. 

Praying for us all today. That God would indeed be our deepest desire and our greatest pursuit. Because the promise of His presence is far sweeter than any “promised land” where we may long to go.

Much Love,
Kimberly

Three Things You DON’T Have to Do When It Comes to Your Calling

Image-1 (1)Sometimes life can feel like one great big, unending to-do list.

You have to do this.
You need to do that.
You must finish all of these things.

And on top of all of your daily stuff, you also have dreams tucked away in your heart.

Things you want to do.
Things you long to do.
Things you feel called to do but are fearful you may never get to do.

So I thought I would share a list with you. A list of the things you don’t have to do today. A list that is gently ushering peace and rest into my soul. And I’m hoping it will do the same for you. Because God doesn’t want us to be frantic today. Especially about the good things He plans to do in and through our lives.

Three Things You DON’T Have to Do When It Comes to Your Calling:

1 – You don’t have to apologize for it.

If God has called you to paint? Paint. If He has called you to write? Write. If He has called you to crunch numbers, teach, serve overseas, or nurse people back to health? You can simply do those things – all to the glory of God, no apologies necessary, no worrying that some other call is greater or nobler.

The enemy wants you to think you are “less than” because he knows your life matters. But God created you on purpose and with purpose. And who He created you to be is lovely and needed and good (Psalm 139:13-16).

So no more apologies for who He designed you to be, okay? (And if you need more help with celebrating who you are instead of apologizing for who you are, you can read THIS post.) 

2 – You don’t have to compete for it.

Your calling is your calling. “Her” calling is her calling. There’s no competition. Even if your callings are similar. You have a unique personality, a unique life story, and a unique set of people only you can reach.

God didn’t place something on your heart only to say, “Oh, wait… she does it better than you. So sorry. I’ve changed My mind.” No! He placed you where you are and made you who you are on purpose. And He will work through your life in His own timing, in His own ways, as you stay surrendered to Him – no competition needed.

3 – You don’t have to be anxious about it.

God tells us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6-7). NOTHING. That means not even our callings.

Because God knows what He’s doing.

He knows how to develop your calling, and He knows how to develop you. He knows what connections you need to make, what doors you need opened, what doors you need closed and what provision you will need along the way.

His every “yes,” “no,” and “not yet” are perfectly timed and can absolutely be trusted. He wants you in His will even more than you want to be in His will, and so your heart can be at rest as you trust Him day by day. Trusting Him with every single detail and feeling released from the need to manipulate any of those details.

***

I don’t know about you, but I love having a list of things I DON’T have to do. With all that I do have to do today, it gives my heart such peace to know I don’t have to apologize, compete or be anxious about the dreams God has placed in my heart. I can simply press in, follow Him and delight in His presence as He leads the way. And I can let all of the places where I feel frantic about my calling clue me in to the fact I may be trying to make things happen on my own.

May we let our hearts rest in His love, in His ways and in His plans today, friends. He is for us. And He has great purpose tucked inside of each and every one of us.

Much Love,
Kimberly

Why You Can’t Keep Lions on Leashes {For When God Doesn’t Feel Very Safe}

lydia-harper-231626“Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

So, there are these days where you realize maybe you’ve been trying to walk the Lion on a leash.

This Jesus.

This King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This Lion of Judah.

You realize you’ve been trying to tame Him, to control Him, to crack your whip and make Him do what you want Him to do.

But then you run hard up against the truth that He can’t be tamed. And He isn’t here to perform tricks for us. He isn’t here to jump through our hoops or to sit at our command. He isn’t here for us to use Him to show off. To show others just how great we are.

And then you end up feeling not quite sure what to do with Him … because while He is utterly safe, He’s also wholly and wildly unsafe. As in, He isn’t going to do what we want Him to do just to make our lives happy and easy. He is good, but He is also sovereign. His ways and His thoughts, they are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

And I had a day like this yesterday. One where I was feeling heartbroken over things I can’t fix. Over things I can’t change. Over circumstances I can’t control. Over pain I just don’t understand in the life of a dear friend. And when I asked Him, “What do I do with You now?”… the only answer that immediately came was to let Him roam free. To let Him move freely throughout the whole of my life.

No trying to control Him.

No trying to manipulate Him.

No trying to use Him for my own glory.

Simply following His lead. Resting in His love. Trusting in His plans. Knowing He is good. And believing He can protect me so much better than I can protect myself.

I don’t know who else needs this. But maybe someone does. Maybe you need to repent like I have had to do. Maybe you need to humbly hand Him the leash, the flaming hoops you keep trying to get Him to jump through to prove Himself to you, or the impressive Lion-taming get-up you keep putting on to try prove to yourself.

Maybe you need to hand it all over and simply let His mighty and His loving ROAR go out across the whole of your life.

I don’t know exactly what this is going to look like other than a whole lot of surrender and a whole lot of trust. So thankful to know that, at the end of each and every day, He is good. He is mighty. And He really is worthy of our trust.

So Much Love,

Kimberly

***Photo credit:

lydia harper

When You Aren’t Where You Want to Be or Where You Think You Should Be

Paul could have been angry.

He could have been wounded.

He could have pouted and refused to do a single thing for God until He agreed to move in mighty and obvious ways on Paul’s behalf.

Instead, Paul ended up writing letters that would become the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon in the Bible. All while he was in prison.

In PRISON.

There the enemy was, working overtime to try to shut Paul up and to keep him from preaching and teaching about Jesus Christ, and what did Paul do? He chose to be still, to listen, to receive, to pen some of the most powerful words known to man. Words I turn to continually in my own walk with the Lord.

Words of freedom written from a place of captivity.

And Paul certainly could have been offended about his “sidelining.” He was doing great things for the Kingdom. But instead of complaining, instead of pouting as I have been known to do, he sought God right where he was. And here we are, still being blessed by his surrender and his seeking to this day.

I don’t know where you are in your life right now. Maybe you’re feeling sidelined. Maybe you’re feeling forgotten and abandoned by God. Maybe you’re nowhere near where you hope to be or where you want to be. But I want you to know this…

Wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, God can redeem it. God can use it – in your life and in the lives of others.

And He is right there with you. In the midst of what feels like the end of your dreams, His Spirit is there. His goodness is there. His peace is there. His wisdom is there. His hope is there. He is there {Psalm 139}.

I confess I laughed a little as I turned to Psalm 139 for encouragement about His unending Presence. Apparently He also wanted to offer me a little side-helping of convicting truth. Because He also tells us that He knows us. As in, He knows us knows us. Knowing every word we are going to speak before we even speak it and being well-acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:1-4). So if He allows us to be sidelined, it may be for that very reason.

Because He knows us.
Because He knows the best way to reach us.
Because He knows what the stillness will work in us and then bring out of us. 

You see, Paul wasn’t being punished by God. He wasn’t forsaken by God. He was actually perfectly positioned to receive from a God who had never left his side. How crazy to think that he may have never penned those mighty words had he not been forced to be still.

He was, quite literally, a captive audience to the Holy Spirit.

And maybe, just maybe, in our places of obscurity and in our own places of hiddenness, He wants us to be a captive audience too.

May we relax in the Father’s embrace. Even if we aren’t where we want to be. Even if we aren’t where we think we should be. May we press in to Him and simply sit with Him – fixing our gaze squarely upon His face instead of straining to see how we can get to wherever it is we think we want to go.

May we ask Him for treasures in the dark places, in the hard places, in our hidden seasons. Not that we stop praying for God to move in our circumstances. It’s just that we decide we are going to seek Him right where we are until things do change. Because who knows how far the ripples of our surrender and our seeking may reach one day. What the enemy intends for evil in our lives? God can use for good. For our good and for the good of others.

So keep seeking Him, friends. And keep holding on to hope.

There is great purpose in your present position.

And these places that feel like captivity? They may hold the keys to incredible freedom… if only we would be still and listen for His voice.

Much Love,

Kimberly