I got an unexpected phone call from a dear friend of mine awhile ago. I happened to be completely alone and in a perfect place to talk, so we spent about 20 minutes or so deep in conversation. It was the most edifying conversation I’d had in a long, long time. And truthfully, that was the best way to describe it. Edifying. Every time I’m with this particular friend — A Mature Godly Woman — either in person or on the phone, I leave completely uplifted, encouraged and edified. I leave feeling fed. Feeling equipped. Feeling called. And that particular day, I hung up the phone with such hope, joy and anticipation…elated…like I was walking on air.
I immediately had an interaction that was totally the opposite. The negativity left an ick all over me that I couldn’t shake fast enough. It had an odor to it, a distaste that was palpable. The unpleasant and depressing nature of the interaction almost knocked the wind out of my sails.
As I was left alone with my thoughts after two such extreme and ironic examples, I realized something had instantaneously ignited a fire in my soul: a need be more like my friend. Not just a wanting to be more mature or godly or encouraging…but a real need to become that person.
It’s all I think about.
Since that day, I’ve heard several unsolicited testimonies from people who shared similar stories of A Mature Godly Woman and what an impact she left on them. A prophetic and encouraging word that literally saved her life from a woman she just met only moments before. A friend who just grabbed her hands to pray in the coffee shop. The mentor who was able to cut through facade to call out the real issue, making the way for healing, growth and maturity. Women who compel you by their love of Christ. Women you don’t put on a pedestal, but admire for their godly characteristics…the same godly characteristics that leave you convicted about your own carnal ones.
Most importantly, women who aren’t afraid to do and say and be what He’s leading at any given moment.
And there it is. The F-word that keeps me from maturing:
Fear of alienating people who might not understand. Fear of alienating people who don’t want to understand. Fear people will think I consider myself better than them, even though that’s not the case at all. Fear that I’ll try and fail. Fear God will call me to let go of things I have a pretty firm grip on. Fear I won’t be able to let go at all.
And mostly, fear I won’t have the discipline required to get there.
Fear, fear, fear.
But what’s driving me now, more than the fear (finally) is the need. I can’t find a way to really explain it. I simply need to mature past my childish ways. I need to let go of negativity and petty offenses. I need to get beyond myself in order to be fully myself.
Does that make sense?
It’s a need to be obedient.
I guess a simpler way to put it is “It’s Time.”
There seems to be a specific point (or several specific points) in a Christian’s life (or maybe just mine, lucky you) where God has had enough and He calls you (me) out. It’s a tangible time when God is gently, yet firmly, saying:
It’s Time to fully engage. It’s Time to set aside my insecurity and fear and awkwardness and just be ready to move forward.
And so now comes the hard part:
- What do I do? How do I do it?
- Is there one big moment I’m supposed to look out for?
- Is it saying no when I want to say yes…and saying yes when I want to say no?
- Is it a series of daily choices that seem small but add up to big character changes?
- Is it recognizing an opportunity when the Holy Spirit quietly and gently nudges me to it?
- Is it ignoring my impulse to punch someone in the face for offending me or someone I love, and choosing to pray for them instead?
- Is it (gulp) being disciplined?
And when I ask these questions of God, I get one answer:
Yes to looking out for big moments. Yes to making small choices each day. Yes to recognizing opportunities that come in a still small voice.
It’s seeing that person in my mind’s eye that I want to be…and allowing her to emerge slowly and intentionally, in a process that comes about solely in a choice-by-choice manner.
This post has been a month in the making; working on it a little here and a little there. I think part of the reason it’s taken me so long is because I know for a fact that once I click “publish post,” it means GAME ON for me and this journey. But just today, I had to really struggle with my flesh about something. And the easiest way for me to wrestle through my spirit and flesh is to write.
So I wrote and re-wrote.
And then I cried. And that’s when I knew it was time to publish it. When there are tears involved, it is complete.
And now that it’s complete, It’s Time.