Sarah Francis Martin is a wife, mother, friend, mentor, author and wanna be artist. Shehas a passion to encourage women to make Jesus famous in every part of life. She is the author of Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous (Thomas Nelson 2012). Sarah's relevant and conversational style will invigorate readers to live rise up off the couch of complacency live with faith-filled purpose for the renown of Jesus . When Sarah is not typing away at her laptop you can usually find her getting her hands messy with craft paint. Check out more at www.liveitoutblog.com.
I'm a little late to the game in discussing new year's themes, planning and resolutions. Fact: I don't do much planning as it gives me a touch of high blood pressure and heart burn. Sounds funny coming from a TYPE A person who loves planning but the idea of new year planning seems so daunting to me. Kuddos to YOU if you can take on the task with out whirling into a frenzy of anxiety like I do in the attempt. As I mentioned yesterday in my Epiphany celebration, my new year's theme is...
Sit Still at the Feet of Jesus and fill up on more Him and less of myself...I will only go when He says, GO!
I stayed quiet the last couple of weeks and espeically over the New Year's day celebrations. There are so many useful resources out there, hear me say that. Lots of great ways to prepare for 2014. Part of me wanted to jump in and give my two cents, but I stayed quiet and just pondered my own need to live by my 2014 theme of sit still. God has just recently told me, GO! and DO! on some upcoming projects that He's laid in my lap and I can't wait to share. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share something I posted on Facebook that lead me to consider sharing with you a small excerpt from my upcoming book Just RISE UP!: A Call To Make Jesus Famous. Thoughts from the LIVE IT OUT! Facebook page:
Deep breath in...deep breath out... I've been sitting quiet not doing much writing nor planning over the last week as a way to soak in Advent and #AweandWonder I'm not much of a goal maker. God has me sitting still at His feet and filling up on more of Him and less of myself this year. Now...it's the calm before the storm. Great stuff and ideas beginning to pile up. Sifting through and allowing God to insert HIS purpose for me instead of planning my own agenda thus...sitting still at His feet and filling up is ever so important. Hmmm...Counting on God's dreams and purposes instead of my own fancies and plans.
My idea in sharing the following excerpt from Just RISE UP! is that I frankly don't want to reinvent the wheel and rewrite something I so passionately poured into over the summer as I wrote my manuscript. Might as well just share it, right? I think it is something to consider in our new year plans and preparations.
I KNOW I will catch some flak for the following excerpt. My heart is beating just a bit but I feel it needs to be said...so...here goes...
Can I take a moment to vent a bit with you? I get frustrated with some of the images posted on social media. I’m talking about images with pretty fonts and motivational phrases that contain flat statements such as Dream Big!, IMAGINE! or Just Believe!. Visually they are interesting and maybe a bit motivating. Please know that I’ve done my fair share of Pinterest pinning and reposting of graphics that inspire and point to God’s truth as they contain Bible verses and neat images. In fact, I make alot of them myself to share with my friends. It is fun to read these inspirational images online and view them in greeting cards or wall plaques. As we RISE UP! I encourage you to rise beyond flat motivational statements as you navigate and pray through where God is taking you in life––as you allow Him to do big things in your life.
When we cling to the dream big or just imagine motivational phrases we just might be clinging to an emotion that those phrases conjure up instead of clinging to the ever big God that has ever big things to do in our life when we follow Him and His plan for us and even more importantly for His Kingdom. This flat thought process of dream big often leads to that adrenaline rush of excitement that might steer us toward our own journey in life instead of the most meaningful journey we should take, the one God lays out for us.
The following verse is one that I’ve read in passing before and probably even doodled on a note to my friend as means of encouragement to her. God reminds us of His Word at just the right times for encouragement. I’ve got this heavy-ness on my heart in my own journey to RISE UP! as I want to be used by God. He has planted dreams in my heart but doors have yet to open to fully walk through and live this out. I hide ideas and plans in my heart often checking to make sure they came from the Lord and not of my own fancies. If you don’t quite identify with this, know that it is ok. If the idea of joining God in His Kingdom work and making Him famous gets your heart pumping, that means the Lord is working in you and through you.
I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. (Philippians 1:6 THE VOICE)
This great work God is doing in our life starts with the work God does inside our heart and mind. The word work is appropriate in my opinion as I imagine Jesus using His gardening tools while digging up roots of pride and jealousy in my heart, patting down fresh soil of trust and peace, watering my God-given talents. And, if we believe Scripture, He will continue to toil, root out, plant afresh and grow beautiful blooms in my life and yours. Blooms that will RISE UP! and flourish. Even a novice gardener like myself knows that before a plant comes to full bloom time, care, pruning, watering and sunlight are in order. This is the inner work God is doing in our life and right in line with personal evaluation of our sin leading to heart of repentance as we talked about in chapter 3.What if this great work in which God is doing in our generation, in each of our lives as individuals starts with a major work in the depths of our soul? What if instead of sending us out to do great things in His name, He first sent us inward to the places in our heart that might preclude us from the bold life choices that comes with rising up? What if this movement of making Jesus famous is spurred on by things like personal...
walls broken down
How much more would the world recognize the great name of Jesus which we strive to make famous if we lived revived in the Holy Spirit and His power over our own. How much more would we thrive in our God-given talents if we allowed Him to restore us back to the beauty He originally created in us before we had our own way in our lives. If walls lie unbroken around our hearts and we are unwilling to allow God to do His work to crush them, we won’t be emotionally available to reach out to others in love.
So, here's why I don't dream big:
Left up to my own devices I will lean more toward my own fancies and agenda. Unless these fancies and dreams are first paired up with an undivided heart for Jesus' fame, I will take the dreams toward making my own name known...not HIS. This is too dangerous for me. So, instead I ponder and worship a BIG GOD and His greatness...His greatness that He does with in me.
Whew! That's a lot to take in...are you freaked out? Thanks for reading!
Thoughts? Leave a comment, let's chat.