I wanted to share one of my favorite songs, which has been very powerful in my life. Ulysses by Josh Garrels. For the times when we feel lost, overwhelmed, or just unsure of our next move, we always know the sun will rise in the morning and the true love of God will always carry us on. To me, this is what this song means: (italics are my thoughts added)
I’m holding on to the hope that one day this could be made right.
I’ve been shipwrecked, and left for dead, and I have seen the darkest sights.
We go through trials, some of them terribly hard, some just insecurities, some indecision, some that are storms we just never thought would ever come and we are not at all prepared for. And sometimes we feel completely alone in these storms.
But do you ever just get a little tug at your heart?
Everyone I’ve loved seems like a stranger in the night
But Oh my heart still burns, tells me to return, and search the fading light.
What is that fading light? Even when we’re running, God is gently chasing our hearts and pouring out his love into our wounds.
I’m sailing home to you I wont be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Until, I find, my love
His love is a journey. It is an epic one at that. We get to take out our sword and fight the battles and know that no matter what, we are protected by his armor. The waters are rough and the trials are nothing to play around with. They are real and they hurt and the darkness seem to go on for miles. But the one flame is lit and we can see it 100 miles ahead, so we keep pressing on. The heat is warm in our souls and we can’t explain the feeling but we know it’s real. It is more real than anything we have ever felt. So we keep seeking…
Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones
Sometimes we are deceived by things that promise us hope, love and protection but later find out that they lied to us. Even our own hearts can lie to us. Only when we know God’s truth, do we truly find the peace we are longing for. He can break through the hardest of hearts.
But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the, memories of the, beauty I have known
If you have experienced God once, no matter how far away you may have run, you will recognize his voice. There is no escaping his beauty and love. God is the life-giver of the universe. I truly did not know life until I knew him. He is the lover of my soul and the giver of beauty and knowing that, I cannot be taken down. No matter how much we doubt sometimes, he is constantly reminding us that we are his and that trusting him is all we have to do.
I’m sailing home to you I wont be long
By the light of moon I will press on
The destination is probably not one that we can see. We hope and dream and we press towards those dreams, sometimes in complete darkness. But having that light ahead that we can’t even make out, but knowing it is good, keeps us going. We are unshakable.
So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home
Before I lose the one I love, before my chance is gone
I want to hold, her in, my arms
Are you ready for the ride of your life? For the most epic adventure of all time? How bout living it everyday for the rest of forever! Just look up, feel the warmth of the sun on your face and let the lover of your soul wash over you like the waves of the ocean. Powerful, yet peaceful. You’ll know his voice because it is sweet and it is true.
Be confident in who who were made to be and don’t hide the light you’ve been given! “You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” – Matthew 5:14-16 (emphasis given by me)
We were all made as unique human beings and those of us who have made the decision to follow Christ now have the privilege to use what we have been given to bring glory to God. As someone growing up in middle-class America, I have counted myself as pretty blessed compared to many others in the world. (Though there are differing opinions as to what “blessed” really is.) Sometimes I wonder why I was dealt the cards I was vs. the hard situations many people have to go through. I think God equips us for many different purposes, each different based on the experiences we are given. But no matter what, I think we are meant to bring God the glory and thanks through what we have been given vs. bringing glory to ourselves. I always think of the verse, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48 So the question I ask everyday is, how can I use every blessing I have been given and give it back to help someone else? The blessings of knowledge, gentleness, kindness, respect, creativity.. Because if I only bless myself, not only will I be empty, but many others will never experience the love that every human being should.
How do you process? This is the biggest difference between introverts and extroverts. Do you process things internally or verbally? Yes, we all do a little of both but most people usually lean to one of the two sides.
I know that I am more of an introvert and it’s just recently that I have come to understand all that that means. So many times, introverts can be misunderstood and labeled as quiet, shy, slow or even out of touch with reality. Sometimes even our own families can misread us. This can be a frustrating thing and it may take a long time before we fully understand that the way that we were made is not odd or weird. It seems that we live in such an extroverted society. Is it just me, or does it seem to be becoming more that way? Even with jobs. I have read a lot of job descriptions lately that really cater to the extroverted personality. I have worked many jobs in my life so far and have recently realized that all of them have been jobs made for extroverts. I’m not saying that as an introvert we cannot do these jobs, I am just saying that we need to be prepared for the rapid energy depletion that may occur while working them. It all comes down to learning about ourselves and the balance that we need in our own lives. What energizes us? What drains us? How can we maintain that balance so that we can be the best that we can be?
I am a very adventurous person and I love people and I very much enjoy leading them and helping them grow. But I do this in my own way. I have found myself in jobs such as coaching, teaching, sales and a list of others where some of my main requirements were to be “outgoing, facilitative, enthusiastic and easily able to handle large groups of people”. What was I thinking?? Don’t get me wrong, though. These jobs definitely stretched me, taught me a lot and I am glad to have worked them for the time that I did. There is always room to grow and just because we know we are introverts does not give us an excuse to avoid situations that we can grow in. Like I was saying, we just need to know how to balance. In all of these situations, I found my role. I handled every situation in a way that worked for me. Like many introverts, I am most comfortable in one on one or small group situations where I can really get to know and care for people. I may not be the one up on stage being loud and crazy and getting everyone hyped, but if there is a person who needs to talk and needs someone to listen, who do you think they’d come to? I will be the one hanging out with the individuals and building the deep needed connections. That’s how I minister to people. Can you relate? Imagine a world without introverts? Whoa..
For a long time I was bitter with extroverts and just wondered, “can they ever just sit still and have a meaningful conversation?” But I have grown to love my extroverted friends and have a whole new understanding of the way that they do life. They process very differently and I definitely value the gifts that they offer in their personalities as well. Learning to understand ourselves more and embrace the differences in the people around us opens up so many amazing doors in our lives.
A good friend of mine, who is also an introvert, gave me a book that she said changed her whole perspective on introverts and extroverts. It is called “Introverts in the Church”. This book really changed my life and helped me define my role in many situations, understand more of my personality and where I fit in the church. The author, Adam McHugh is an introverted Pastor and he talks about the difficulties that he first went through and how he balances his time and energy. He also gives examples of introverts in the Bible and how they handled certain situations.
In the next few posts, I am going to be exploring the introverted ways of thinking and processing, balancing our time and energy, how we are best fit as leaders in our church and what we have to offer as part of the body of Christ.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13 (NLT)
I love the book of Galatians. I am reading through it again right now for the 3rd or 4th time. Every time I read it, God gives me new insights about life and his character. Paul starts out by talking about faith, freedom and now our lives living by the Spirit.
He writes, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” – Galatians 5:16
What kinds of things are part of our sinful nature?
He explains this as well, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, envy, drunkenness, wild parties and other sins like these.” – Galatians 5:19-21
Jesus wants us to stay away from these areas to protect us. To protect our hearts. He knows that these are only temporary pleasures that can lead to big hurts and ultimately not the fulfillment we desire.
By following the Holy Spirit, we will start to take on more characteristics of Jesus. And “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” – Galatians 5:22-23
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” – Galatians 5:24-25
We must pray everyday for the Holy Spirit to guide us on the right path. We’re gonna mess up, that is certain, but we don’t have to feel bad about it. We are human. Jesus already paid the price for our sins so all we have to do is humbly ask for forgiveness and it is ours.