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Welcome to Sacred Friends. It and its companion website used to be Eternal Community, but, quite honestly, I never liked the name and felt a touch out of step with the focus. It's no longer about trying to train and equip counselors and others in relational ministry. Now it's about living relationally. It’s about my heart's desire to see people love God and others more deeply and to be a part of their journey as I share a bit of my own.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Invited, Assigned, or Both?

I’ve continued to ponder Bill Hybels’ My Morning Prayer and I’ve been stuck on two phrases: “commit myself to the role you’ve invited me to play” and “commit all of myself to the role you have assigned me in the building of your church.” I don’t know if the difference was intentional or not. I rather assume it was; Bill Hybels is a smart and logical man. But, even if it wasn’t, God is still using it to make me think more deeply about my role in His Kingdom.

 It is undeniable that there are certain things about ourselves that we cannot change. The Lord knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb and with each one of us He used a pattern that is unique. No two are exactly alike, not even identical twins. They may look the same on the outside and may share many of the same characteristics and personality traits, but still, each is distinct. As a young child I knew twins that were impossible to tell apart by looking. Only their mother knew, not even their father could manage it. But it only took a minute with them to know which was which. One was outgoing, the other quiet. So, whether it’s our looks, our physical build…tall or short, muscular or wiry…our innate personality…gregarious or reserved, laid back or hyper…our IQ, or other characteristics, each of us came into the world with certain attributes that we can’t change.

We also can’t changed who are biological parents are, who raised us, where we were born and raised, the other members of our family, illness, death of loved ones, and things that have happened to us whether by natural disaster, accident, or poor choices on the part of others. None of us had a say in whether we were born into a wealthy family or a poor one, a kind one or an abusive one, a farm family or a city family. So much in our formative years has been beyond our control.

Once we’ve accepted Christ there’s a whole new set of parameters; a new heart, a new mind, a new identity, and one or more spiritual gifts. I think all of these non-changeable things are part of the role that we’ve been assigned in God’s Kingdom.

Then there’s the invitation. At any given moment in any given day, we are faced with the choice to build up or tear down. We can choose our own agenda or God’s. And what blessed relief when the two are the same! We can choose relationship or isolation, mercy or revenge, blessing or curse, life or death.

We get to choose what we will do with the unchangeable components of our lives. Will we enter into God’s plan with thanksgiving and praise or will we become bitter and selfish? Will we use our hurts to ease the pain of others or will we wallow in them? Will we generously share our abundance or hoard the blessings we’ve received? Will we choose money and possessions over people? Education over relationship? Comfort over calling?

He has assigned us and invited us. I don’t always get it right. I don’t want to be interrupted. I want quiet. I try to write or pray or read and someone crashes through my peace and quiet with the audacity of a question or a comment. My mother needs help opening a jar, my husband calls to ask if we have plans for the next night. Life enters my solitude, my agenda. I have a choice. Oh but that I would choose rightly more than I do or that when I do, it would not be such a struggle to battle my annoyance into submission. Father, I long to be the joyful, grateful woman You created me to be. I long to see others as you see them; Your precious children, not an interruption.

We have a choice, moment by moment. How will I choose when the next opportunity arises? How will you? What is your heart’s desire?

Psalm 139: For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Joshua 24:15 …choose this day whom you will serve…