Overwhelmed.

There is no better way to express the happenings of my life than with the word overwhelmed. My heart is overwhelmed with the love of Jesus. My mind is overwhelmed by the conscious choices Abba Father has made to put me where I am today. My body is overwhelmed by the affections and manifest response to the revelations God is giving to me (and the gallons of joyful tears I have poured out). Oftentimes I hear believers utter the statement,“Jesus will never give you more than you can handle.” I would like to use a few words to express how untrue that actually is.

    If we aren’t drowning, how can we ask for help? 

    If we don’t know how to ask for help, will we keep drowning?

    I think yes.

Abba Father works best through a broken heart. He knows exactly what we need, when we need it, and never hesitates to offer His fullest portion to us! If we can humble ourselves to recognize that He is a good Father, always giving good gifts, and then position ourselves to receive from Him directly, your heart will be broken. Psalm 34:18 says it like this,“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Our downtrodden spirits need to die to our own desires and be filled with the spirit of the living God, so that through restoration, we can be used as vessels to promote the kingdom of Jesus. As soon as God calls your name, your heart is no longer your own, your life is no longer your own, and your body is no longer your own.

Life with Jesus is a puzzle. There are moments when you have the end picture with a bunch of pieces that don’t make any sense. Sometimes it’s flipped and you have pieces coming together without a clear goal in sight. Jesus aligns our hearts to reveal the purpose of both the end picture and each individual piece along the way. He guides our hands to connect the edges and even randomly throws pieces together that don’t look like they are going to fit, but match up perfectly. The beauty of it all is that in order to reach a completed picture, there is a process to endure. No matter what, every puzzle starts off as a box of pieces and ends in a masterpiece.

Here’s what I know about my process. My heart is broken, and I recognize that I am drowning in the love of Abba Father. The only way to breathe is to continue to ask for help. Never ceasing to press into what He has for me, setting aside my desires, and watching as my desires shift to look more like His. That way, as transformation happens inside, reformation happens everywhere else and I am sanctified to look more and more like Papa God. The puzzle pieces are coming together faster than ever, and instead of taking a break from putting the pieces together, I have decided to be a full on participant in the process. Everything is on the table, and I’m all in!

With my role as worship pastor, something I have learned is that the place of worship is so intimate that it is hard for me to hide my brokenness away from leadership. In the same vein, I recognize the disfunction of leading from a place of brokenness. In the midst of this season of being overwhelmed, it has been easy for me to recognize the peace that comes from the proper adoration of Jesus. Not only that, but allowing Him to rule and reign over my heart has allowed me to look to Him to teach me how to be a lesser shepherd using both the rod and the staff, leading sheep to the still waters of Jesus, and leading out of a need to know Him, rather than a need to be glorified. 

At the end of the day, the journey is nowhere near over. I don’t have everything figured out. I don't have every answer to every question. I don't make the right choices all the time. I don't consider my success something to flaunt. I don't know what tomorrow holds. I don’t do a good job considering myself. But, I do know the writer of my journey, the One who has everything figured out, the Creator of question, answer, choice and success. He knows what tomorrow holds and He thought of me before I was conceived in my mother’s womb. And knowing Him will help me to love everyone better! 

Call on the Lord when you are drowning because,“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

I want to end with this text from The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers:

“GLORIOUS GOD,

It is the flame of my life to worship thee,

the crown and glory of my soul to adore thee,

    heavenly pleasure to approach thee.

Give me power by thy Spirit to help me worship now,

  that I may forget the world, be brought into fullness of life,

    be refreshed, comforted, blessed.

Give me knowledge of thy goodness

  that I might not be over-awed by thy greatness;

Give me Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God,

  that I might not be terrified,

    but be drawn near with filial love, with holy boldness;

He is my Mediator, Brother, Interpreter,

Branch, Daysman, Lamb;

    him I glorify, in him I am set on high.

Crowns to give I have none,

  but what thou hast given I return,

  content to feel that everything is mine

    when it is thine, and the more fully mine when I have yielded it to thee.

Let me live wholly to my Saviour,

  free from distractions, from carking care,

    from hindrances to the pursuit of the narrow way.

I am pardoned through the blood of Jesus —

  give me a new sense of it, continue to pardon me by it,

  may I come every day to the fountain,

  and every day be washed anew,

  that I may worship thee always in spirit and truth.”