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Exploring the Unknown

The Invitation in Our Questions (things I asked God in 2016)

Let’s be people who remember our travels with Jesus, and choose to take note of all the beauty beheld, moments savored, and stories told through the years. Let’s be explorers who see life as a place of exciting explorations and delightful discoveries waiting to be made. Let’s come alive to our own adventure with Him!

Your adventure with Jesus is sacred. The pages of your everyday life are like a map pointing you to His presence, heaven on earth.

My travel journal from 2016 was full of curious and difficult questions. I didn’t drop into January with clarity or answers, but an assurance of His presence with me even in those mysterious places. As the New Year begins I’m not taking giant leaps or setting gregarious goals, but in the words of Shauna Niequist, I’m starting where I’m stuck.  

And so today, I’m sharing nine questions I seemed to continually ask myself in 2016. They are questions that I wrestled with and made me feel stuck and sometimes insecure. But I believe within our questions we will find Jesus, a God who is present with us even when we don’t understand. Our genuine questions are actually an invitation for Him to come and reveal Himself to us in surprising ways.

nine-questions


  1. DO I HAVE TO STAY IN MY SEASON GOD?

Last year I competed with my current season of life. With three kids under four years old and limited time (and energy!) to do more of what I enjoy, I found myself wanting to run away, escape into someone else’s life.

Words that stuck with me: 

We are “doing people. We always want to be doing something. Once in a while someone will say, “Don’t just stand there, do something.”

I think God is crying out and shouting to us, “Don’t just do something. Stand there! Enter into a love relationship with Me. Get to know Me. Adjust your life to me…A time will come when the doing will be called for, but we cannot skip the relationship. Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby

 Learn to sing the song of your season without giving into hopelessness and despair. Melissa Helser

  1. HOW CAN I EXPLORE GOD WITH A CURIOUS HEART?

God is constantly wooing and pursuing me. The problem I found is this: I don’t always respond to Him. Last year I noticed how far I have to go, how deep I have yet to swim, and how fearful I am to let go of my map and plans and wander down the trails of His heart. What would He say, or reveal, or invite me into? I’d sometimes rather ignore His invitations to, “Come and trust.”

Words that stuck with me:

Salvation is an invitation to live fascinated…Mike Bickle

What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus. AW Tozer

I’ve decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I would not only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in Spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one. Brennan Manning

Your beauty and love chase after me everyday of my life. Psalm 23

  1. WHAT ARE THE SECRETS HIDDEN IN QUIETNESS AND REST?

When I feel the nudge to pull away, slow down, or sit in silence I am beginning to translate that as God wants to speak, surprise me, and encourage my soul in ways I cannot begin to fathom. There is no need to apologize for stopping and waiting. There is nothing to fear if I want to walk to a different pace or rhythm than the rest of culture. The only fear I want to have is missing out on what God wants to share with me.

Words that stuck with me:

We become open to new discoveries as possibility as we rest in his quiet place. Jenneth Graser

 It’s frankly harder to live a wildly alive life in God, in private, than it is to get attention, to get followers and applause or than it is to get lost in other people’s online stories. Sara Hagerty

And Sara’s talk here on “tucking away with Jesus.”

The whole book, Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge

And Emily Freeman’s 7 Days of Still Moments

Psalm 131,

I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
    I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
    my soul is a baby content.

 Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope.
    Hope now; hope always!

And this, “The ability to rest and be quiet rather than struggling for what we want, is a sign of maturity as well as humility.” Commentary on Psalm 131, Sonic Light

  1. HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS, GOD?

I’ll get really honest here…my tiny Art of Adventure Blog + Shop is no where near as successful as I had dreamed or planned. On many days, I feel like quitting- never writing another page, creating another painting, or designing another journal. Success for me was always found in the numbers, the responses, the sales, the comments and compliments. But when I allow Him to define success I keep going with joyful expectation and new freedom to be who He’s made me to be.  Success is never found in the results or the raving reviews, but in resting in my identity as His child.

Words that stuck with me:

Success isn’t an external achievement, it’s an internal assurance that you’re doing exactly what you were made to do for the one who made you to do it. Michele Cushatt

We live in a culture that evaluates its priorities based on immediate results. The voices of the world are demanding that we produce- NOW. Bob Sorge

Words from my own post, “The Secret of A Seed”

When you and I choose to plant instead of produce, aim for resting in obscurity instead of obtaining quick results, and settle into smallness instead of reaching out for the spotlight. We feel like we are dying, invisible, and insignificant at times. But we are more alive than we’ve ever been.

  1. WHY CAN’T I JUST BE MYSELF AND LOVE IT?

I believe I will never grow out of this question. The world is constantly trying to make us into people we are not. We are told we need more this, less that, and we won’t be satisfied until we get there. I’m okay with being vulnerable to attacks in this area because it means all day everyday I have the delight of declaring over myself who I am in Jesus Christ. Otherwise I know I will forget. Many times last year I had amnesia and the outcome was only confusion and discouragement.

Words that stuck with me:

We need to ask God for a more radiant picture of Him and a more brilliant picture of ourselves. Graham Cooke

Stasi Eldredge’s book, Becoming Myself

To become our true selves will require not only that we trust God more deeply but also that we are willing to take enormous risks…risk believing what God says is true…speaking truth, in love, even to ourselves. Stasi Eldredge

The words of Erin Loechner in Chasing Slow,

Social media has caused us to crop out the contradictions in ourselves. It has caused us to airbrush the parts of our lives we don’t love about ourselves…

  1. HOW CAN I LIVE WITH LESS WORDS AND MORE WONDER?

Last year I become intrigued with the practice of wonder, standing in awe of God in my home, in creation, in life, in people. Wonder quiets and humbles my soul, creates in me a new appreciation for the beauty around me, and awakens my senses to the presence of God. Surprisingly, it’s been my two and four year old that have been my teachers in wonder.

Words that stuck with me:

Children aren’t afraid of experiencing excitement, joy, curioiusity, and wonder to the fullest extent. They approach life without preconceptions, they are open to possibilities. And so they must be if they want to know God.
Sally Clarkson

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller

These Psalms: 77:11-12, 40:5, 46:8, 65:4-8, 104:24, 105:1-6, 145:5-6, 71:18

  1. HOW CAN I WALK WITH JOY EVEN IN TRIALS?

I’m a pessimist, by husband is an optimist. I can complain without even noticing, he notices every time. Joy. It isn’t something that I would say I have every day. But I want it! And to think we serve a consistently joyful and happy God?!

Words that stuck with me:

James 1:2-4

Psalm 126

Romans 5:3-5

And the book, Happiness, is one I keep open on my kitchen counter everyday!

  1. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO ABIDE WITH JESUS WHEN MY KIDS ARE SCREAMING?

For the longest time I thought abiding with Jesus was reading my bible and praying silently. I’m thankful that is so much more than those sacred activities. Abiding with Jesus is far more mysterious than I’ve made it out to be. I’m starting to think abiding looks a lot like being married, doing life together with Jesus, noticing Him and talking with Him throughout my entire day because He’s already there!

Words that stuck with me:

In Hebrew the word for abide is Yashab. It means to abide, dwell, sit, remain, marry, inhabit…beautiful word, right? Especially in terms of our relationship with Jesus!

I also created the 40 Days of Love Letters journal as a response to what I was learning about abiding with Jesus- learning to listen to his love letters being spoken to me all day even in the chaos of crazy children.

  1. WHAT IS FEAR STEALING FROM ME?

I have so many fears that eat at me late at night when I all is quiet. Fears that tell me God cannot be trusted, He isn’t really good, He will not provide, He will not protect. It’s a wild thing to get perspective on your life and see how much you are driven by fear instead of God’s goodness. I never want to remain in the dark about fear and how it’s trying to keep me in bondage. Instead I want my fears to be a sign that it’s time to step out into adventure!

Words that stuck with me:

The one things we owe absolutely to god is never to be afraid of anything. Charles deFoucauld

We lay down our comfort zones because they are death traps. Ann Voskamp

 

I pray we will find His presence all the more real even when we  lack clarity. I pray we will seek out counsel and insight this year through His Word and wise people. I pray we will keep asking the hard questions and discovering a God who is not scared of our asking heart. I pray that we will continue to walk forward in faith, knowing that the best place to start is where we feel stuck.

I’d love to hear what questions you’ve been asking God that sometimes make you feel stuck…

 

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