Two Cubans. Three Americans. I will never forget sitting around the breakfast table on a steamy Havana summer morning in the home of a Cuban Pastor and his wife several years ago when Cuba was still a closed country. I have traveled there four times on a religious visa and it has marked some of the most pivotal moments of my life and journey with God. I have seen firsthand the injustices as I helped bring resources into their villages and sat on barrio dirt floors and just listened.. and then prayed. To some it felt like they were just born to die. The poverty and hopelessness, sobering.
In Cuba we always exchanged stories in our host homes as we sat around the table over a pot of coffee and prayer before heading out to the villages. On this particular morning light-hearted stories filled the air. The kind of stories that brought pause from the oppressive reality they lived in. They needed it. We all needed it and we all laughed a lot that morning.
Once the laughter died down, the words the Cuban Pastor's wife spoke next became forever etched in my mind. I will never forget. She looked up from her coffee cup, with tears in her eyes and said, "You. Americans. You laugh different than we do. You laugh as 'free' people."
The hurt in my heart for the hopeless grew deeper that morning as silence filled the air.
Freedom. We all long for it.
We can live as Americans inside of a free border, but never truly experience freedom if we don't know God.
Purpose. We all need it.
I wonder how many of us are missing out on God's purposes for our lives because we're slave to our own ideas on what life should like? Even in the name of Jesus and ministry.
Great news is.. Jesus came so that we can be saved and fully free and God has a purpose for each one of us.
John 8:36 says, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (NIV)
2 Corinthians 3:17 assures us, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (NIV)
Psalm 139 reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and all of our days are ordained by God.
I know firsthand what it's like to not be fully free to live out God's purposes. But, I have also learned what it is to be free and I live in that freedom. It's worth the process...
It's been a journey and while I don't claim to have "arrived", as we are always going from glory to glory until we see His face. There are some things I have learned that have helped me to be free, embrace the present - what God has placed in front of me - rather than always wishing for the next thing.
This seems to be an obvious one, but truth is sometimes we talk a lot about what's going on and don't talk to God or seek Him in our daily lives. I'm first to admit that I have been guilty of this. But, I have learned to go to Him first - and I know when He's whispering my name to get in the quiet place in the daily routine because He has things to say to me that I can only hear in the posture of being still. And I don't want to miss it - or Him. God wants us to know Him. The only way to really know Him is to spend time in His word and in prayer. There is no substitute. He invites us to seek Him and know Him.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (NIV)
FACE YOUR FEARS
Fear is a weapon of the enemy and can keep us stuck. In my current season I have personally had to overcome fear of opinions, fear of failure, fear of success - I surrender my fears when they creep in and replace them with God's Truths to continually overcome.
God says in 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (NKJV)
LEARN TO BE CONTENT
What you do in the process and the waiting has a significant impact on your future. It took the Israelites 40 years to make a trip that should have taken 10 days (Read Numbers 33). Press into what God has you doing right now and watch him go to work on your behalf. Don't compare your journey to another's. There is only one YOU. God has a unique purpose for your life that only you can live. In surrender we can trust God is leading us to a place of purpose. (Read Psalm 138).
Learn to trust in God's heart and cultivate hope as you meditate on His Truths. Trust Him when circumstances make you feel forgotten. Learn to trust in His timing.
Beautiful friends, don’t look down on your current situation just because you don’t view it as your final destination. Embrace your season in its fullness. As the missionary Jim Elliot so famously said, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
When you do what only you can do, God will do what only He can do. I pray daily that God will do what only He can do and that He will guide me to do what I should do. God is a promoter of the faithful, not the discontent or impatient. Embrace your now. He is faithful and His purposes and promises stand. Don't be afraid to invest in your current season.
What obstacles are you facing in living out your purposes and passions? How can we pray for and encourage you?