Friday, July 31, 2015

Pregnant with Purpose

I’ve been dreaming strange dreams lately. No, I haven’t eaten anything spicy. I haven’t had ice cream before bed, either.  But I have been expectant. I’m waiting… on God. Maybe that’s why I’m dreaming strange dreams.

You’ve heard of a “pregnant pause?” I feel as if I’m in one right now. Pregnant, expectant, waiting. The excitement is building. This is going to be great!

However, in waiting we often become anxious; “I just can’t wait any longer!” We become like a small child playing hide-and-seek. They can’t wait for you to find them so they giggle, giving away their hiding place, or they jump out before you get there to find them. Sometimes we do that with God – jump out before He wants us to and delay what He was working on in secret for us. Then we ruin our surprise.

God has so many wonderful things in store for us. Sometimes He speaks to us or shows us a hint, like in a dream. We get excited. Then we put our focus on that instead of Him and before long we’re running ahead of Him. We’re “pregnant with purpose” with what God said.

In Genesis, God made a promise to Abram (Abraham). He promised that He would protect him and give him a great reward. Remember, Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah) did not have children. Yet God promised, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Gen. 15:5) And this made Abram “pregnant with purpose.” It made him expectant. It also made him blessed.

“And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” ~Genesis 15:6 NLT

All pregnancies take time. Every expectant mother has to wait at least nine months for her baby to arrive. During this time she enters into a time of preparation; a time to prepare for that baby. She has to get ready not only the nursery where the baby will live, but she also has to prepare herself for the baby’s arrival. Pregnancy is a time of preparation, then expectancy, then blessings.

So much happens in secret inside the womb of an expectant mother. We don’t see or get to watch the cells grow together, the bones form, the organs form, or to watch the baby grow. But an expectant mother can feel her baby moving and growing inside her, which makes her excitement grow in anticipation of meeting that new one in person within a very short time.

In the spiritual realm much activity is also taking place in secret, all concerning God’s promises in our lives. When God plants a seed (His Word) in us we then have to enter into a time of preparation. We enter into a time for that seed to grow and bear fruit. In the season of preparation it’s a time of learning. Preparation equips us (teaches us) to handle whatever God promised to do in, around, or for us, or whatever He promised to give us.

While we’re waiting, we should be expectant. Be excited. But also use that time to prepare. Pray. Read His Word. Study. In due time, He will birth something in you that is not only beautiful, but exciting. It may just surprise you. But we don’t get it overnight. You and I have to wait while God not only prepares our surprise, but also while He prepares us to receive it. And in our time of preparation, we can and often will feel it growing within us, too.

God gave me a Word. He planted a seed and now I too am waiting. He’s been giving me hints along the way, letting me feel in my spirit what He is growing and building, to keep me interested and expectant. My hints have been in many forms, but none more intriguing than the weird dreams I’ve been having. It’s exciting.

I’m going to give God time. Just like He told Abram (Abraham) not to be afraid, I won’t be afraid. And just as He promised Abram that He would protect him, I know He’s protecting me. So I’ll wait on God because I know that whatever it is that He is preparing for me, it will be amazing. I can’t wait to see it!


Blessings!

Shelley

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Looking For What You Need

I'm looking for a mentor. Aren't we all? Someone we can confide in. Someone we can trust with our deepest darkest secrets. We look for someone who will encourage us, build us up, teach us, walk alongside us and help us when we stumble and tell us, "It's okay to stumble. Get back up and keep going." We want someone who is touchable, available, who cares and isn't afraid to get dirty with us in our walk of life. 

I say that at two-thirty in the blessed a m while I'm wide awake, unable to sleep, pondering if I'm having a hot flash or if my husband's body heat from his deeply slumbering body is keeping me awake… or if it's the dog barking at God knows what out there in the dark that awoke me to find myself in need. Because there's definitely a need along with a sweet little tune tinkling away in my mind this very moment:

Lord I need You,

Oh I need You!

Every hour I need You.

My one defense. . .

My righteousness. . .

Oh God, how I need You!

And I hear that still, small voice, ever so quietly whisper into my soul, "I'm your Mentor. It's Me. Yet I'm anything but safe. Follow Me anyway."

It's now that I realize why I'm awake. I also realize Who woke me up. It wasn't a hot flash, or my husband's slumbering body heat, although he's like a furnace when he sleeps. It wasn't the dog barking, although his sharp little bark was helpful in breaking the crazy dream I was having. It was the Lord, waking me and placing the sweet little tune in my soul to remind me how much I need Him and to remind me that He wants to spend time with me. I'm not even angry that He woke me at two in the morning. How could I be?

I've been neglecting my time with Him. Oh I didn't think I had been. I thought the little prayer here and there while going about my daily stuff was enough. It wasn't. He demands my full attention. He requires I meet regularly with Him. Yet I was missing our appointments.

How can I possibly be mentored, be taught, if I never step into the classroom? How can I learn if I never open the Textbook? I can't take for granted that my Mentor will automatically pour into me, knowledge, wisdom, that sense of well-being if I never take the time needed to actually LEARN from Him!

I'm humbled.

Is He mad at me? No. Is He disappointed in me? No. He just misses me. He knows how to get my attention. And I know full well why. So here I am; ready, willing, humbled, and ready to begin again. Do I have to start over from the beginning? No. Just pick up where I left off. My assignment is still waiting. It always been there. He's always been there. 

Like a toddler with a short attention span and a parent who patiently waits for her to refocus, so it is with the Lord and I. My squirrel moment gone, in the dead of night when there are no distractions of the day hounding me, vying for my attention, no interruptions, just me...and my Mentor.

"Are you ready to proceed?"

"Yes. I'm sorry I wandered off."

"It's okay. I love you. Shall we continue?"

*Sigh* "Yes. I'm ready."

"Then let's go."

You know, He misses you too. You’ve been wandering long enough. You’ve been putting Him on the back burner long enough. You’re running yourself ragged, making excuses, trying to analyze and debate your way through life, complaining, looking for a mentor too. I know how it is. I’ve done it.

You’re trying to convince yourself that you can figure it out. There must be a better way. The answer is around her somewhere. If you can just do enough, help enough people, give enough, work enough, be kind enough, cook, clean, teach, volunteer… but it isn’t working for you is it.

You’re wearing yourself out when you don’t have to. Jesus is patiently waiting for you to stop running in circles and just give in to Him. He’s not mad at you. He’s not disappointed in you. He loves you dearly and He’s just waiting.

You don’t have to have it all figured out. He’s got it covered. You don’t have to clean up. He’ll do that. You don’t have to get yourself organized. He’s got your plan. Just stand still and say, “Okay. Here I am. I’m tired of running.” One step in His direction is all that’s needed. He’ll do the rest. He will meet you where you are. It’s that simple. It really is.

You’re looking for a mentor. Someone who will listen, who will care. Someone who will encourage you, build you up, teach you, walk alongside you and help you when you stumble and tell you, "It's okay to stumble. Get back up and keep going." You want someone who is touchable, available, who cares and isn't afraid to get dirty with you in your walk of life. 

Yeah, that’s the Lord. He’s anything but safe… and yet He’s the only One Who will keep you safe.

Are you ready? Then let's go!






Monday, July 13, 2015

Look Where You're Going

There are many women today who live by continually looking at where they came from:

I was physically abused.

I was sexually abused.

I was bullied.

I was always told I wasfat, stupid, no good, would never amount to anything, etc..

By hearing these things spoken over us day after day, year after year, we begin to believe them, especially when they are spoken by people we love. Words are powerful. They can make or break a person. When spoken negatively our words can be detrimental. However, when spoken positively our words have the power to heal and build others up.

Often times as adults we continually remember the negative things that were spoken over us and prevent ourselves from living the abundant life that Jesus came so we can have. Jesus wants us to have a full life, an enjoyable life. He wants us to be happy. Yet many refuse because they are too busy looking at where they came from instead of where they’re going.

Sometimes we wonder where we fit in to God’s plan for our lives. It can be overwhelming. We’ve heard for years that we don’t fit in, that we don’t measure up. But we were listening to the wrong people. We weren’t listening to God. Because according to God we are:

A Masterpiece  (Ephesians 2:10)
Chosen!  (Ephesians 1:11)
Wonderfully Made  (Psalms 139:14)
Beautiful (Psalm 45:11)
Called (Jeremiah 1:5)
Forgiven (Psalm 86:5)
Anointed  (1 John 2:27)
and especially… Loved (1 John 3:16, John 3:16)!

With all these promises from God, how can we ever believe anything negative? And these promises aren’t the only ones. There are so many more in God’s Word, straight from Him.

There are also still those who would like nothing more than to remind us of our past, but sadly these are the people who are also living in the past themselves. It’s time to move up and move on and live the happy, abundant life we were meant to live. We need to stand still and let God heal us, anoint us, and affirm us. When we do that, the negative things that once controlled us will crumble and fall. Because God’s Word also says that no weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17)!

Where we came from doesn’t matter in the sight of God. If we belong to Him, our past is forgotten. We need to forget it, too. Stop allowing others to remind us and keep us in the past. We need to stop looking where we came from and look where we’re going. Because where we’re going looks much better.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Be Passionate

There are so many people today who are discouraged. Rightly so. There's so much going on in our country alone that is discouraging. But that doesn't mean we should give up and quit. It just means that we need to be even more passionate about our purpose in life. And we each have a purpose. Yet, more and more I'm finding that we get more discouraged every day and begin to lose not only the passion behind our purpose, but even our very hope in that purpose.

My pastor once said something during a sermon that hit me very profoundly. He said that we need to be passionate about our purpose. Whatever ministry we are in, we need to be passionate about it. We need to do it to finish strong. Don't quit. Stand back up and finish, because we have so many witnesses who have gone before us who are cheering us on (see Hebrews 11). 

We are all in the race. But it's not a foot race. It's spiritual. It's actually a war. A spiritual war. We don't have time to worry about what others think, or what they might say or do. Instead, we need to be encouraging each other and cheering each other on in whatever ministry or calling that God has placed us in. We need to be passionate about our purpose. 

Where 2? Motorcycle Ministry @ where2.org
Are you passionate about your purpose today? Do you still have the drive you did in the beginning of your ministry? Or are you slacking off, concerned about what others might think if they saw just how passionate you really are about your calling? Do you worry that someone might get their feelings hurt if you aren't as attentive to them as you once were? I'm not talking about your spouse or your kids or grand kids. I'm talking about friends, co-workers and such. Because if you are in ministry, your family should be backing you in support and prayer.

Being passionate about your purpose simply means that you run with the gusto and the faith that God gave you in the beginning of your mission. When God healed me in 2012 I was so on fire, excited, and passionate about what just happened that I was continually telling everyone I met what the Lord had done for me. I wanted to encourage everyone who crossed my path that Jesus wanted to heal them, too. Now? I still want to tell everyone, but there are times when the passion is a little dim. Why? Circumstances, people, and frankly just a tiredness that I feel often when I come in contact with others who are less than positive.

Where Do I Fit In? Ministry @ shelleywilburn.org
Should that stop me? NO! That shouldn't stop you, either. We should all be passionate about the purpose God gave us. I pray every day, "Lord, keep us tied to our purpose." That's a humdinger right there. Staying tied to our purpose.

There is so much going on in our world today that would make is so easy for us to give up. And that's exactly what the enemy of our soul wants to happen. If he can keep us from doing what we're called to do, then those who live with no hope will never know that they were a breath away from the healing that Jesus wants to give them. Is it their fault? No. If we don't tell others, it's on us, and the fault lies on us. That's something I am not willing to live or die with. So I press on, tired or not. Discouraged or not.

You see, when it comes right down to it, if I'm telling everyone I come in contact with about my healing, then I'm walking in my anointing. I'm being passionate about my purpose. I'm doing what God called me to do. I don't have to make anyone believe me. I just have to put it out there. After that, it's up to those who heard me whether they believe me or not; whether they accept the gift Jesus has for them. It's their choice. If they don't receive it, I'm not at fault.

It's the same with you. Jesus has done something miraculous for all of us. He died for us. He willingly gave up His life so that we could have life. Then He rose from the grave, defeating death and hell! But we have to accept His free gift. When we do that; when we accept Him, when we allow Him to heal us, we are called to minister to others, to go out and tell them what He did for us. That's our calling. That's our purpose. Now, we also have special gifts to go along with that. Mine is to write and to preach about what He's done for me. Yours may be different. But we're to use those gifts and in using those, we walk in our purpose. That's what becomes our passion.

I love my purpose. I love my Lord. And while the world is running amok and people are crying out about one problem after another, they forget that the Answer lies in Jesus. How can they call out to Him unless those of us who are called tell them? We have to be passionate about our purpose.

So if you've fallen down, let's get back up. Brush yourself off. Stand tall. And run in your calling! Be passionate about your purpose today. And if someone doesn't want to hear you or accept what you have to say, shake the dust off your shoes and move on. You'll be better because of it.




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Which Do You Choose; Scary or Safe?

"...the things worth doing in life are often the things that scare us the most." ~Jeff Goins, Writer and Author of The Art of Work

How many times have you found yourself standing on a precipice, with a decision to either step out and go for it (whatever "it" is), or step back and be safe? Step out and trust God to heal you, save you, or just give everything you are to Him, or step back and just live life and take whatever happens. 

How often have you held back because of fear? It's easier to be safe instead of scared, right? But a life without taking risks is really no life at all. If you live in constant fear, if you allow fear to paralyze you, you aren't living. You aren't walking in your anointing or your calling and yes, you do have one. 

I lived that way for too many years. I wouldn't step out because of fear. But one night I stepped out simply because I was tired of living in fear, intimidation, and depression. And my life was changed forever. Since then, have I been completely rid of fear? No. There are a lot of things that scare me. But I step out anyway and do them afraid. I don't step out in fear, but I step out in faith.


You see, scary things don't necessarily mean that you shouldn't do them. Because the very thing God may be calling you to do may just be the thing that scares the dickens out of you (whatever a dickens is). The new, unknown, different, they are all scary things to us. But having faith in God, the One Who created not only us but the very universe we live in, is the greatest accomplishment we could have. In doing so, we place ourselves in a position to do great things; great and mighty, wondrous things that we had no clue we could accomplish. But with the strength that comes only from Christ, we are able. We just have to have faith.

We are all just ordinary people. However, we can do extraordinary things if we allow God to use us. That in itself is scary. We have to take risks. We have to step out into the unknown. We have to take a deep breath and say, "Okay God, use me. Whatever you've planned for me, here I am. I'll do it. I want to do what you want me to. Bless me in this, Lord. Enlarge my territory. I'm willing to do it. And by the way Lord, I'm scared." Here's a secret; He all ready knows you're scared. But by admitting it, by being willing, and by putting your faith and trust in Him and stepping out anyway, you show Him that you mean it.

When I built this website, I was scared. When I started writing I was confident, but scared. What if no one ever read my stuff? What if someone didn't like what I write? When I published my book, I was scared. When I launched the book and did my first book signing, I was scared. But I did it. With the Lord's help, I did it. If I had procrastinated through it, analyzed and debated about it, I would have never done any of it. If I had been that way on May 30, 2012, none of the above would have happened either, because I would have never been healed. Yes, even the night God healed me I was scared. Yet I stepped out, scared but still willing.

You can, too. What is it that God is calling you to do today? I know it's scary. You've never been down this road before. But may I encourage you today? Step out on the road. Do it scared. Don't be safe. Be reckless! C'mon out! 

Now I'm not saying go out and put yourself into thousands of dollars in debt. I'm not saying that. I'm not saying to go out and do something that is life-altering in a way that will hurt you or others. What I am saying is trust God. If it's positive, if it's helpful, if it's Godly, and you absolutely know that God is in it, step out. 

I fully undersand your scary. I'm right there with you. I'm right in the middle of something God is building around me, and it's scary for me. It's not out of reason, but I've never done it. However, I know He is in control and my Heavenly Daddy won't let me fall. So I'm stepping out. 

Scary or safe? Which is it? I'll choose scary. Because I know in my heart that stepping out into the scary I will also ultimately be safe.

*Excerpt taken from Jeff Goins' blog post, "My Latest Experiment: Launching a Conference - Why I'm Scared & Doing It." www.goinswriter.com

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