It is Saturday morning….4:30 am to be exact. And while I have no idea why I am up at such an odd time, I would like to share about what’s been going on in life, as I have been a little reserved from blogging lately. These past couple weeks, I’ve been reading a very challenging book entitled Set Apart Femininity, written by Leslie Ludy. This book is a calling to my generation to step up and be the women of God that He has called us to be. Through reading, I have realized just how wimpy and lazy American Christianity has become. Instead of relying solely on Christ for happiness and fulfillment, we do “the Jesus thing” plus whatever else we feel will make us happy. We live in a constant state of mediocre, riding on the fence. Lukewarm, in complete honesty. Ludy reminds me, “We cannot love both Him and the things that charm and ravish the world. We cannot be dazzled by the images of pop culture and captivated by the King of all kings.” It’s one or the other. We are always wanting more from the world and our fleshly desires, instead of trusting Christ to do the very thing He promises to do for us- be our Everything, our Sustainer.
We are supposed to look different, we are supposed to be radical, but the majority of us aren’t. Non-Christians in the world look at us, many times, and see the very same characteristics they are harboring themselves. Why would they want to become a Christian, if they can just do their own thing instead of trying to juggle two things at once that still end up with the same result? I think a good point that she makes in this book is that God doesn’t call just a select few to live a set-apart life for Him. He calls each and every one of us to lay down our own desires, shoulder the cross, and follow Him to the ends of the Earth.
As I’ve contemplated over the many challenging statements and the general message of this book, Satan began working. He saw my potential and immediately began using my mind as a playground to toy with me and stir up doubt. I was so excited when first reading the book and wanted to immediately put the ideas into practice daily. Then came the questions: Isn’t that a lot to give up? Is it really that important? Leslie Ludy is a little too radical with this whole idea…you are doing just fine in your faith. Look at everyone else- why not have a little fun your own way and live a “Christian” life? That is exactly what Satan wants from me- a settlement. A state of mediocre, lukewarm- that will cause my Savior to “spit me” out of His mouth. While Christ calls us to lives of excellence, Satan is hoping we give into the easy way.
Honestly, I’ve been scared these past couple weeks. I’ve been scared that if I step out on faith and live radically…what will others think? Will it be worth it? A few times I’ve actually caught myself regretting that I read this book in the first place, like if I had never picked it up, it wouldn’t be so heavy on my conscience. And through this all, I’ve realized that I normally care much more about what others think instead of what God thinks. That’s just silly…I mean really, think about that. I’m saying that God, the eternal, everlasting God who created EVERYTHING in this entire universe and beyond- even the humans I’m trying to please- His approval isn’t as important as the people’s approval around me. Seriously?
“Don’t expect a round of human applause when you choose the set-apart life. But remember that in its place you will gain something far better- a standing ovation from Jesus Christ.” Wow. My Savior, standing up, applauding me? Pleased with how I’ve chosen to live? Why in the world would I sacrifice that for the approval of people around me? Fear. Fear that was planted in my mind by the Devil. He tried to scare me out of surrender- a word that has haunted me for the past few weeks. But yesterday, I realized that God isn’t a God of fear. In fact, He offers quite the opposite- complete peace. He doesn’t want me to live a set apart life for no reason- He wants me to do so because He knows me intimately, and He knows that that is the only way I will ever be fulfilled and happy, by keeping Him first. That’s how I was designed- that’s why I was formed: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Jesus loves me, this I know. Instead of running from Him at the sound of surrender, I should run to Him. For I know if I surrender my everything to Him, He will work in ways I never thought possible. The ordinary life is not for me.
“Trust me, my child,” He says. “Trust me with a fuller abandon than you ever have before. Trust me, as minute succeeds minute, every day of your life, for as long as you live. And if you become conscious of anything hindering our relationship, do not hurt Me by turning away from Me. Draw all the closer to Me, come, run to Me. Allow Me to hide you, to protect you, even from yourself. Tell Me your deepest cares, your every trouble. Trust Me to keep My hand upon you. I will never leave you. I will shape you, mold you, and perfect you. Do not fear, O child of My love, do not fear. I love you.” (Amy Carmichael)