Humility, Surprises, and Staying Sharp
Raise your hand if you like adventures! May we remember that we’re already on an adventure with God. Sometimes we see where we’re going — and it’s exciting (or a bit scary). Other times, we’re in a dark tunnel and not exactly sure what’s on the other side. But no matter what — with God leading, the end result is sure to be good. He’s given us the treasure map (bible of course) and we can seek him for extra clues anytime. Amidst the adventure, God’s been teaching me some special lessons too — on humility, curveballs, and staying sharp amidst life changes. Do any of these resonate with you this season?
Listen via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Keep up with the latest updates by following You Are You Podcast on Instagram! Below is a transcript of the episode.
Hi friends! I want to start off this episode with a reminder that you are loved. You are so very loved. We have a God who thinks we are so precious that he sent Jesus to die for our sins so we could be close to him — commune with him directly. We know this, right, and so for everything that we’re going through right now, may we not give into any doom and gloom thoughts. If God would send Jesus, he’s more than willing to provide for us today. He loves to provide for his children for he is a good, good Father!
The other day I was having coffee with a friend. Well, we were at a coffee shop, each doing our work, but chatting throughout. And we started talking about how God is the God of practical things too. She testified of how she prayed about wanting a certain mattress and how nice it would be to have an upright piano — and wouldn’t you know it! People actually offered her those things for free! Like the mattress. She’d had a staycation at a lovely hotel and liked the mattress so much she undid the sheets so she could snap a photo of the label. Then she added it to her new apartment spreadsheet as a wish list item — and a friend saw it and said she actually had that exact model in storage. Because someone had gifted it to her for her wedding — only it was the wrong size. Someone had actually given the married couple a twin mattress… so it was sitting in storage, and now is a blessing for my friend.
It reminded me of a time I went to a jewellery store to get a ring repaired. On the way out, I was browsing the jewellery cases and noticed a pair of diamond drop earrings. I simply told God that if they ever went on sale, I’d love to buy them. And went on my way. A few weeks later, the store emailed to say there was a delay with my ring repair. So if I wanted, they would refund me my ring and I could purchase something else. I’d actually bought the ring for 50% off but they were going to give me credit for full price. And it was a ring I rarely wore! And when I checked online — the earrings I wanted were on sale! I said yes, bought the earrings… and remember this testimony every time I wear them.
I share these stories hopefully to encourage. Honestly I needed the reminder myself. I said the prayer for the earrings in a season where I talked with God everywhere I went. As I was walking through the mall, on my way to the bathroom — wherever I was, I wanted to listen to God’s voice. Because he speaks back! Not always in a still small voice. Sometimes in a thought. Or verse. Or song lyrics. I was noticing God speaking to me more than ever before — it was incredible! But really I think a large part was because I was speaking to and listening for him. And I want to do it more.
Doing what God says, as soon as we can, really is the formula for the best life. But sometimes we can get dull — and yet praise God that he loves to prune us! He prunes those he loves! Here are three areas that I feel God speaking to me about / areas that I’m being pruned in right now — maybe you are too.
1. Humility in leaders
One thing I wanted to touch on today is the importance of humility in leaders. I was listening to a recent sermon from Transformation Church where Mike Todd stated — as he often does — that he can’t teach anything God hasn’t taught him. That leaders don’t have it all together — they’re just one step ahead. One step ahead to learn it and then teach it.
Now as we get older, as we walk with God for longer, it’s very reasonable to think that we should be more mature. In Hebrews 5, the author — unnamed — chastises the recipients of the letter — thought to be from a group of house churches in Rome — for, quoting v. 12 now:
You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.[a] You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. (Hebrews 5:12)
It’s a good reminder for us all that length of time as a believer doesn’t necessarily translate into maturity. But maturity doesn’t mean perfection.
Sometimes I’ve had the thought that, you know, I’ve been podcasting for nearly 2 years now, I should be more mature in my subject matter. But I’ve always only spoken about what I’ve been going through — as Mike Todd said, about what God has been teaching me. And God’s been taking me through a very long season of waiting for various things. Maybe not the most exciting — but it’s real. We can only be real, amen? Testifying our actual testimonies and trusting God to use it however he wants.
May we not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but keep our eyes on God and obey what he says. May we share what we’re really going through — even if it seems like we should know better by now. Let’s flick away pride and be honest before the Lord and each other. We’re not alone — the devil may want to isolate us and keep us in shame but we have Jesus Christ on our side.
2. Hearing from God
I like surprises. I mean, I don’t always like surprises if I know one is coming and people won’t tell me what it is. But true “I can’t believe that just happened” surprises? Love ‘em! I feel God has been throwing me a bunch of curve balls lately. Maybe it took me a bit of time to get into the “Lord, I love this — keep ‘em coming” phase. But I’m there now. Blessed are those who embrace God’s adventure, amen?
One area that he’s been shaking up is how I hear from him. I believe I’m in the middle of some major life changes. And I’ve desperately wanted a clear “voice from God” type of answer. I *love* when God tells me what to do. When I think I’ve gotten a clear word or phrase and that inner knowing that *this* is the right answer. But with my current situation, it’s been many steps of faith. Because it’s been more “thoughts” than is usual for how God speaks to me.
One day I was praying, maybe pray-complaining, to God about the lack of a clear sign when I had the realization that looking back, some things in my life seemed so obvious. For example, Singapore was clearly the best place for me to be after undergrad. But it really wasn’t like the heavens parted and the job fell into my lap. I think I was in the library, studying for my midterms, taking a Facebook break, noticing an acquaintance’s travel photos, sending her a message asking her how she got her job, then pitching myself to her boss… for things to come together. And things came together quickly — I think it was weeks from first email pitch to applying for the visa! But it was small steps that led to a wide open door.
Likewise now, while I’d love if God said, ‘yes, this’ and ‘no, not that’ or even better ‘yes, that one for 2.5 years’ then ‘that one after x and x happens, 5 years down the line,’ I’m remembering the joy of humbling following the Lord. What I have are thoughts and impressions — I’m following them and then waiting on the Lord, and trusting God will redirect as needed.
Paul is one of my favourite Bible characters. Whereas some characters like David, we see how he sought God and God told him exactly what to do. With Paul, we see how he made plans and then God redirected. See Acts 16:
Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. (Acts 16:6-8)
We can trust that our God plans the best adventures, amen? May we not get swept up in the highlights of our lives and miss the adventure today. We’re already on an adventure — let’s make sure we’re following the right guide/map!
3. Life changes
When it comes to long-term vision or big picture dreams, something I’ve been thinking a lot about is the importance of seeing and seeking God more.
This morning, I was reminded of a vision I had some time back — when I was praising God in the middle of a flame. Like I was wholly consumed by the Holy Spirit — no matter what was happening, God was what I saw. I think many of us want this. Sometimes it might feel a bit intimidating, but if we’re wanting to totally surrender, how wonderful it is to be so consumed by God. To know him more intimately than ever before. To increase how much of his love we can handle — to stay in his presence longer and serve in alignment with his heart. But desire is not enough — we need to be disciplined too. Actually spend time in his presence. Say yes when he gives opportunities to serve. See when he brings that situation to our attention. Give even when it wasn’t on our to do list. To stay flexible and humble to move, pivot, jump, walk on water when God says.
I’m going through some life changes, maybe you are too. Perhaps there will be things that are so awesome we’ll be tempted to focus on the blessing, the glossiness, the money, the power, the social connections — whatever it is. May today be a special day, a marker of a moment where we spent some time with our Lord and Savior and sought his voice. God is the God of all the best adventures! He’s got a magnificent plan and he’s looking for children who want to be a part of it! We’re adventure seekers, yes? More than that, we want to be close to our Lord, amen? May we seek God’s face more than any blessing, trusting that God’s going to take us to far better places than we could ever imagine. May we remember Ephesians 2:10:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
If we want it, let’s go get HIM. Stay at his feet. Include him in more and more. Surrender more and more. Actively change our habits so that we give God our very best.
Maybe we did in seasons past and we’re noticing that maybe we have gotten spiritually dull. There’s no shame — none of us are constantly sharp! But we can constantly get sharpened by our Lord. Who knows what God has planned? No matter what, HE is the best gift of all. Amidst any and all life changes, may we live life in the centre of God’s heart. May he — his truth, his beauty, his love, his light — be what we see.