Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dedicated, Depleted and Determined

I am joining the Sisterhood :) and linking this post with Jen and some others at Finding Heaven Today.  Please click the picture at the bottom of this post to visit some other pages if you have time and need the encouragement...

Yesterday at church our Youth Pastor (and friend) filled in for our Senior Pastor who is on vacation.  The words he spoke hit me like a ton of bricks.  As soon as he opened his mouth and began speaking I knew God was using him to deliver a message and I, its intended recipient.

Simply but profoundly titled "From Desire to Desperation," my personal message immediately challenged and convicted me.

Isn't it funny how sometimes you know what God is going to say before He says it?  It amazes me how He drops His word in our spirit and sets off an explosion in our heart.

To set the stage, Pastor Timothy used the example of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 starting in vs. 8.  It is hard to miss Hannah's desperation in these verses. She not only desired a son, she was utterly desperate.  She committed herself to God in this matter in such a way that she was emptied of everything.  In dedication and determination, she poured out unto God relentlessly. 

Hannah was dedicated, depleted and determined.

Point 1: TRUE DEDICATION

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." ~2 Corinthians 5:17

When we are dedicated, we are wholly committed to something, set apart, reserved and consecrated for a specific use or (sacred) purpose (source: dictionary.com).

True dedication to God means, as the scripture states, that old things have indeed passed away and all things have become new.  We are a new creation and our life should reflect the change.  The way we think, the way we speak, the way we love, the way we forgive, the way we encourage, the way we serve...everything we do and everything we are should be centered in the person of Christ.  Not that we are perfect (because we aren't), not that we will instantly gain victory in every area and over every stronghold (because we won't), but that we live intentionally and purposefully, completely submitted and dedicated to the life we now live, consecrated and set apart for a sacred purpose.

Point 2: TRUE DEPLETION

I just read  a guest post by Todd Henry on Michael Hyatt's blog the other day titled Why I Hope to Die Empty.  If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so.  It's really, really good.

TH's friend asked the question "Do you know what the most valuable land in the world is?" After numerous wrong guesses of places like diamond mines and oil rich lands, he replied, "It's the graveyard... because with all of those people are buried unfulfilled dreams, unwritten novels, masterpieces not created, businesses not started, relationships not reconciled.  That is the most valuable land in the world."

This statement brings conviction to live and the freedom to do so.  TH states "My only job—each and every day—is to empty myself, to do my daily work, and to try as much as possible to leave nothing unspoken, uncreated, unwritten."

As we fill ourselves with God's Word and become empowered to do that which He's called us to do, we should do it.   Just do it  (Sounds so simple...) .Pour ourselves out first to Him in worship, sacrifice, prayer, dedication and then to others in service, encouragement, love, forgiveness.  In the pouring out of ourselves - our needs, wants, desires, hurts, disappointments - and in the emptying of all that He has poured in -healing, provision, peace, love -, spills out ministry and the gifts He has placed within us. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20.

In our emptying, we surrender all.  Just as Hannah surrendered the very thing for which she cried out so desperately (1 Samuel 1), we too must realize the blessings that come are not so that we can hold onto them, but so that we can release them back into the hands of God.  It isn't our ministry, our book, our child, our song, our life....it's His...and it's for His glory alone.

3. TRUE DETERMINATION

How determined are we to find God?  To find His presence and dwell there?  Do we look for Him as treasure?  Do we thirst for Him?

"O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water"
Psalm 63:1.

Each of these points challenged me and caused me to look within, to evaluate my level of desperation.  Am I truly dedicated?  Am I truly depleted?  Am I truly determined?  My flesh and desire to please people or have them see me in a certain favorable light wants to proclaim "Yes!"  But in my heart of hearts, the transparent and honest answer is...no.  Yes, I love God, Yes, I have desire, but my level of desperation is not enough.  There are some things I must still surrender, some things I must lay down, some things I must let go. 

As God is preparing each of us for His purposes, I pray that we become desperate.  Desperate for Him and desperate enough to empty ourselves so that He can live through us.  Whether in writing, speaking, praying, singing or to whatever ministry He has called us, I pray that we are able to lay aside those things keeping us from moving forward.

We can be truly dedicated, depleted and determined. 

We must live purposefully and intentionally.  We are created for a sacred purpose.

In seventeen short days I will board a plane for North Carolina to attend the She Speaks Conference.  I am nervous and feel very inadequate but I know God is going to speak to me there.  In addition to gathering a plethora of knowledge, I am praying to receive divine direction.  I am laying down some things in order to attend, setting some things aside, and letting some things go.  I feel my desperation increasing. I know He is leading.

Won't you pray for me and allow me to pray for you, sweet friends?

Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation ~Psalm 62:1.





13 friends had this to say:

Lexie Lane said...

Thank you for this. What a beautiful piece. Really helps to remind us about what truly IS important. I know I've gotten lost so many times, but God has never let me down for all the reasons you describe.

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Shanda said...

I loved this, and I loved the quote, TH states "My only job—each and every day—is to empty myself, to do my daily work, and to try as much as possible to leave nothing unspoken, uncreated, unwritten."

I pray that I will become desperate enough for God, that I do empty myself.
I am glad I found your blog and will be back.

Amy Sullivan said...

Shelly,
Glad you linked up!

I love it when we hear something that moves us in such a big way, and I like the idea of emptying ourselves each day for Him. I'm going to click over and check out Todd's post now.

PS I'm going to She Speaks too!

Julia said...

Thank you for your words--how desperate am I for God. That hit me!

For me, it seems that when things are difficult, I'm on my knees more often---desperate for reprieve.

What I love about that is the paradox that: "So long as we imagine it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about--He is looking for us." ~Simon Tugwell

Blessings to you as you prepare to go to She Speaks!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated. Swimming against the flow of what others deem necessary or important in our lives and those things they require of us is not easy. May the desire of His heart strengthen in your life and mine as we walk together in the center of His will and purposes for our lives. Praying you hear His voice clearly even before you attend the conference, get ready my friend.
Brenda

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Welcome to the Sisterhood. I am happy to pray for you as you prepare for She Speaks. I can't wait to hear from you and Jen and others that are going . . . when you return.

Fondly,
Glenda

Jean Wise said...

wow - powerful message here. Lot to think about. I love your sentence: "It amazes me how He drops His word in our spirit and sets off an explosion in our heart." yes yes that is so true. I also read Michael Hyatt's powerful post the other day - one that lingered with me.

Blessings on God's explosion in your heart!!!

Gaby said...

Shelley, it sounds like a wonderful sermon. I know what you mean with knowing that God is going to speak to you before you actually hear the words. And then you can choose to mentally escape or to tune in and be changed.

You should link with Michelle at Graceful. She has a "Hear it on Sunday, use it on Monday" group where posts like this one would fit wonderfully.

My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Shelly. Its amazing - I was going through some of the blogs, came across yours and thought 'I must come back here later'. Life gets busy and now - I check my blog and you're following mine. Its meant to be. So I'm following you back! Having said all that, this post is awesome, especially the part where it says 'my only job, each day, is to empty myself' Wow, do I fall short.
This is a huge encouragement and admonition.
God bless, looking forward to your next post and adding you to my prayer list.
Tracy

Jen said...

I'm so glad you linked up, my new friend! You have given me a new way to view the thought of being depleted -- but in such as positive sense. I'm taking thoughts from this post for my quiet time in the morning!

Kristin Bridgman said...

I loved this post, and yes, I will pray for you!
I'm visiting from Jen's place. So glad I came by:)
God bless you!

emily wierenga said...

i love your beautiful heart. so glad to have met you friend.

Recovering Church Lady said...

This is beautiful. I am convinced that you will hear from God at the event you are attending because He totally loves a desperate heart!