I originally wrote this almost a year ago. Since I am currently away doing some of the very things mentioned in the post, I thought it was a good time to re-post. I am in awe of God’s faithfulness!
For the sake of the world burn like a fire in me
Light a flame in my soul for every eye to see
For the sake of the world burn like a fire in me …
(From the song “For the Sake of the World” by Brian Johnson)
This was a hard post for me to write. I’ve been sitting on it for a while now. But I know I need to take a step of faith and “put it out there.”
It may not seem like a big deal to anyone else. I’m okay with that. Even if there isn’t another soul on the planet who understands the battle I’ve fought to be able to publicly declare what’s burning in my heart–it’s totally okay. I need to do this for me.
So what’s the big deal? Simply this: My heart burns “for the sake of the world” ….
And I know I’m (still) called to go.
There’s a decades long back story to that statement. I’m not going to even attempt to share it here. But I needed to say it. I needed to own it. This is who I am. It’s who I’m (still) called to be and it’s what I’m (still) called to do. Years ago, in one of the most profound encounters I’ve ever had with the Lord, I not only said ‘yes’ to this specific call, I literally laid down my life for this purpose. And, although the years since haven’t exactly gone as expected …
I haven’t changed my mind.
No one will ever have to convince me that the local church serves a vitally important purpose. There are many, many issues and needs in our own backyard that desperately need our time and resources. I get that. I also get the concept of “blooming where you’re planted”–I’m not half bad at it. I’ve learned to enjoy the journey. I’ve learned to cheer for, pray for, and support others who have gone and are going. I’ve learned to “occupy”–and to make the most of the opportunities that are in front of me. I’ve found many ways to use the various gifts God’s given me right here and right now.
But that doesn’t take away the passion and longing that still burns in my heart.
I’ve had the opportunity–at several key intersections–to be involved in significant ministry in a local church setting. And sometimes, for a season, that has been the right thing to do. Many, many times I even convinced myself it was what I wanted. But each time something held me back. And whenever push came to shove and there was a choice to commit long-term or to press on for what really burns in my heart, I’ve ended up walking away …
I’ve beaten myself up plenty for that. A whole lot of other folks have joined that party and thrown plenty of punches, too. They have no idea how much I wanted to make it work. How hard I tried to make it work–but it just doesn’t. So I’ve walked away from things I could do — things that looked great on paper –things that seemed like they should fit –things I was gifted to do — for one simple reason:
I wasn’t called to do them.
My heart was elsewhere. My heart was …
- Sitting with Jesus on the Mt of Olives, weeping over the city of Jerusalem
- Reaching out in compassion and prayer to those trapped in the nightmare of sex slavery in the red light districts of Thailand and Cambodia
- Leading small prayer teams in strategic and prophetic intercession in key geographical locations throughout the earth
- Declaring destiny and hope over at-risk kids in some of the most hopeless places on the planet
I could add to that list, but you get the idea. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do all of those things and more–but not in a long-term sustainable way. Basically I ache to pray and go–and to go and pray. After all these years — my dream — my desire –what I burn for — really hasn’t changed all that much.
It’s what makes me come alive.
I have no clue what the future will bring. I do have some ideas of what it could look like on a long-term basis, but I have the distinct feeling God has his own ideas … and his own timing. Honestly I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever get to “go” long-term or that I’ll ever see the fruition of many things I’ve prayed into for years. But I’ll keep praying. I’ll keep believing. I’ll keep cheering, and I’ll keep supporting others who can go. I know what I have been able to do does make a difference. I don’t plan to stop.
And, despite the counsel of some to go out and “do something” to “make it happen” I’ll wait on the timing and leading of the Lord. As much as I want to go–I need to be sent.
I think I will be. I sense a shift. I feel like I’ve been 9 months pregnant (for years!) with a long overdue dream. “‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 66:9). Right now, he’s simply not allowing me to be less than honest about who I am and what I really want. In fact, he’s been doing a pretty darn good job lately of keeping me from walking through any door that would lock me in anywhere else. Let’s just say he definitely has my attention.
So I’m listening. I’m waiting. I’m watching. I’m ready. I’m hoping. And I’m praying.
In the end, whatever does or doesn’t happen, I’ll still have joy. I’ll still have peace. God will still be good. Above all, he is my passion and I can love and serve him anywhere. I’ll still be who I am right here. And I’ll still do what I can right here.
But my heart burns for the sake of the world.
I refuse to deny that fact any longer.
What makes your heart burn? Have you been trying to “dumb down” your dreams to fit them into something that is more manageable; more feasible? What really makes you come alive? Maybe it’s time to figure it out!