“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
Lately, I have been lost, refusing somewhere inside myself to believe in that which is in myself. I feel so strongly the impression from those, especially in the church, who seem to have said so much without words. You are a woman, so your place in the church is small. You are single, so there is obviously something wrong. We have nothing for your kind. You have no place. You don’t really matter to us.
I recently switched churches, and then I had the opposite problem. I sat at home in my prayer spot, looking up to the place in the sky where I perceive God to be. I told my Lord that I knew it was His will for me to go to my new church that day last week. I knew that it was time for me to start tithing, or at least give a little. What held me back this time was not the former pain of anonymity, but that of being known. I could tell they cared about me, just the way I always felt a church should. I knew I was entering into a new phase in my life. I knew I wanted to be with them, and get to know them and begin to take part in their programs. But something held me back. And so, tomorrow which is Sunday, I am promising myself I will go. If not, I am simply holding back the work that God has planned to do in this the next phase of my life.
I have been attending choir practices in Ocean Grove all summer, and this has been my church. So suffice it to say, I have not been “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” as per Hebrews 10:35. I have also invited the other singles in my Facebook group to go to an event I created called “Praise in the Park.” A couple of times, this has been fantastic, and I feel we touched heaven together.
However, especially while studying the phenomenal masterpiece by Felix Mendelssohn called “Elijah” for the Ocean Grove choir production in August (also the name of my new cat), I have put other things on hold.
What this means is I have not been in touch with my new book. There was a short season where I submitted queries to different publishers. As is par for this course, they rejected any further knowledge of me and my book, based on the query I worked so hard on. Several very successful books endured that same fate at their beginning. However, I am not one to stand alone, when someone suggests that something coming from me isn’t worth the cheap computer it is being typed on. No one said this, but the suggestion is there. There are leaders in my life, who show no interest. There are friends who have better things to do. And then there is me sitting before God as I do every day, asking new questions, and waiting for new revelation: “Is this really from You? Or am I just another author with a stupid book with dreams of winning the publishing lottery?”
I felt this same way when I placed myself in the path of the Christian Music market. Though I may have had something to offer, I painstakingly fell into the place of the reject and outcast which was somehow more comfortable for me. And perhaps this is my true platform anyway, not to come into the market as a consummate professional, but instead as one who truly knows how it feels to lose all, to the degree that only God Himself is left.
One of my very favorite Scriptures is one I frequently fall back on. And by allowing myself to become none other than a loser in this life, I am ironically elevated by it. “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). I also begin to recall the Scriptures which tell me my life is not my own (I Corinthians 6:19-20, II Corinthians 5:15). In these and so many other Scriptures, there is light, and life.
So my challenge today is to somehow find that mindset which I once had while working on my book. Not that I stand to gain anything by it, but that which comes with knowing that I am indeed serving the living God, as with every other aspect of my life.
I must realize that there are voices in this world set there to rob me of the grace that comes with serving God in the unique way He has gifted me to serve Him. Even in seemingly wonderful places, with good people, and great friends, there is often a voice telling me my contributions on this earth are not worth while and I should therefore resign myself to participating solely in the Godly works of others, as in a church institution. To infer that such an institution is above the call of individual persons on their life by God is something which I have come to highly disagree with, and which such institutions can answer to God for, as I am relieved of the burden of having to judge any person on this earth, and no where near qualified enough to attempt it.
I have my hands full with trying to keep my own self straight and on course. And it is only due to the grave importance of this work I have been given that I can adequately put my hand to the plow, and run hard, looking unto Jesus, thereby knowing I am not alone in my efforts. Learning to Believe in the person in whom Christ first believed, I shall strive going forward to lay aside every weight, and with faith and patience run this, my own race (Hebrews 12:1).