Do You Want to Be a Celebrity? …..5 Things to Consider!

jesus-christ-widescreen-wallpapers-04Are you frustrated and feel as if God isn’t using you the way you think He should be?  Is it not happening fast enough?  Do you watch other ministries and find yourself envying their positions and wish you could be them?

I always thought that because God had called me to write and teach that I needed a growing audience to validate that calling.  I was so driven to find myself a platform or audience worthy of my calling and found myself sorely frustrated that God wouldn’t bless my efforts the way I thought it was supposed to happen. 

It just wasn’t fast enough. 

It is exhausting promoting yourself. 

Where do we draw the line in losing ourselves and our energy in self promoting, and just allowing Him to get our gifts and talents out where He purposed for them to go? 

50-ways-to-meet-your-lover1-e1397103127321Here I am at the cusp of another book being birthed to the multitudes.  “50 Ways to Meet Your Lover”  is in proof stage now and in a few weeks will be ready to be presented to the world.  

This is my 2nd book and I have to say I have learned a few things along the way. 

I have given myself permission to breathe…. and trust Him to guide me to the next step.

These are some of the things I have learned in the last few years of trial and error in my writing and teaching.  This is not an exhaustive list because I am certain there are still many things He will open my eyes to!  

 But allow me to share a few points that I have learned now:

1.       Being seen as a celebrity in any sense of the word is a deceitful ploy of the enemy.  We have been brought up to admire and envy people who have celebrity status.  Many times celebrities in the church world perceive their value as a human as usually based on a need to be recognized as a person of value. 

Jesus let His disciples know that His kingdom works very differently.

2.       It is often true that those who make such big jumps into perceived celebrity often get twisted by them, and end up crushing others when their influence exceeds their personal character.  Perhaps that’s what Paul meant when he warned us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, whether we aspire to a place of influence or already have it and think it gives us a place above others.

climbing-out-of-the-box-by-dixie-r_-diamanti-300x300-e13971033881703.       Whatever we do for God must be just that.  For Him.  What He does with our works or service or gifts is up to Him.  We want our message out there, of course.  But according to His purposes, not our own perceived purposes.   When I wrote “Climbing Out of the Box”, I had to give it to Him.  I still do.  And even if my story sets one person free from a life of abuse and into freedom in Jesus then it will have been worth it.  And, to date, it has set many more than just one free.  

4.       Instead of looking for what we don’t have, Luke 14 invites us into responding to God’s working right where we are in life.

Rather than having to make something happen by our own wisdom, the path to God’s life comes by loving the people He has already put before us, applying our gifts to their needs and trusting the rest to Him.

I’m convinced that will create opportunity enough for whatever God wants to give us and what He desires us to share with them.  Yes, marketing a book is necessary so that people will see it and buy it and see their lives changed by it.  But if it isn’t in His timing and it doesn’t sell fast enough, then I have to accept that He knows what He is doing.  He will make it happen.  Not me.  I just do what He tells me to do.

5.       Most of our questions to Him center around how to make ourselves known to the world and usually focuses on our abilities, wisdom, or connections.  He works so differently than we do.

We try to find that one key to open big doors, rather than allowing ourselves to live freely in what God has already given.

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n-1It’s easy to miss His whispers when we’re more focused on our own desires for ministry. He knows how to draw us into relationship with Him and it’s not by following someone else’s steps.  We are unique and what He does for one may not be what He does for me.  

In the end, we are only asked to follow him, not to build an audience or to produce our own transformation.

Whenever you are frustrated at God for not opening better doors for you, that might be a sign that you’re focused at the wrong doors.

I am learning that growth of simple relationship with Him is more trustworthy than the substitutes of self-promotion, manipulation and begging favors from others.

So how do you find ministry, find fellowship, or live transformed as you seek Him?

Simply accept the invitation to live deeply in Jesus and love those around you the way you are coming to understand how He loves you.  Listen when He nudges your heart.  Step out in faith in what He whispers to you. 

If you live in His space you will find His power transforming you, His Spirit connecting you to others and everything He wants to do in you will be fulfilled by Him.

If the disciples had set out to change the world outside of waiting on Him, don’t you think they would have failed miserably and become lost in their own reasoning and ideas to accomplish so large a task?

“We are intimately linked in this harvest work.  Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you.  Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me.  Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger.  Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help.  This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it.  It’s best to start small.  Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance.  The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.  You won’t lose out on a thing.”  -Matthew 10:41-42 (The Message)

Jesus knew the most amazing things could begin with a cup of cold water.

 

Do We Really Understand Grace?

 

The-soup-nazi-no-soup-for-you-seinfeldDid you ever watch the Seinfeld episode of the soup Nazi?  It was very funny.  Seinfeld and his buddies would go to lunch at a restaurant that specialized in soup.  If they said one negative thing or complained about the soup in any way, the soup Nazi (the owner) would grab the soup back and tell them in a gruff and rigid voice to get out of his restaurant and then he would say, “ONE YEAR, NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!”  

I always think of that episode when I meet rigid, religious people, who have these set of rules that their friends should live by when it comes to serving God, and would treat them badly if they didn’t toe the line. 

It is like I can hear them saying, “ONE YEAR, NO GRACE FOR YOU!!!! 

Have you met one of these people? 

I call them the Devotional Nazis.  They live by a set of rules and regulations and meetings and laws that they tend to impose on you as a means to draw closer to God.  They look at outward appearances and proclaim the sins of others without looking on their own lives and realize that we all fall short of living up to Pharasitical standards of acceptance.  It saddens me when I see these kinds of people for they struggle and work and presume judgment of others to achieve greatness in the Kingdom of God, when all along Jesus already paid the price for their freedom from those very laws.  They failed to see those rules only were there in the first place to show us we needed a Savior.  We could never measure up without Him. And it saddens me even more how many people their judgments injure and hinder in their growth because they just never measure up. Pharisee

But it is too hard to change for many and too hard to let go of the control and the superiority of being the judge of others in the Body for then they might have to look inward.  The sin in our lives is often just the surface symptom of a deeper level of the heart that the Lord is working on.  So, how can we look on the outward ‘sin’ of others and presume we can judge their condition when God is the only one who can see the heart and the only one who knows how to heal that heart. 309148_275390375904036_1522969089_n

Do we really understand Grace?  

I think grace is an ongoing revelation to our souls as long as we are on this earth with our limited knowledge.   Everything seems conditional in our lives. 

If you love me, then I will love you. 

If you serve me, then I will serve you. 

If we can find the right set of conditions to meet and we do it, our happiness is secured.    What happens though, if we can’t meet our end of the bargain?  Because for every promise of reward there is a promise of punishment in the world we live in.  This is where anger, fear, and insecurity begin to encompass us.

11_06_13_web We are on a merry go round. 

The message is that accomplishment precedes acceptance, and achievement precedes approval.

And around and around we go.

Are you ready to get off the Merry Go Round?

Have you ever met someone who has lived their whole life trying to live up to someone’s conditions for approval and love that was set into motion by a demanding parent?   And they may be 50 years old and still caught in the pattern of spinning their wheels trying to measure up to someone’s expectations.  They have great potential but are never satisfied so they never accomplish a thing, when, unknowingly to them, God had a plan for their life all along.

Merry_go_round We get caught up in perfectionism and we have all sorts of ways to try to justify our actions, but none of those justifications can change the fact that instead of feeling accomplished, we allow impossible burdens to be put on ourselves that ultimately produces exhaustion, bitterness , shame and a general feeling of failure.   It may be all we know and we may even impose our conditions of acceptance on others.  Maybe even our children.

So, in our Christian life many of us see that it was Gods’ plan to send Jesus in our place, so that we are now “in” and on our way to Heaven.  But then we fall back into that way of trying to achieve His acceptance and think it is our blood, sweat and tears that keep us “IN”.  We think that in order for God to love us, we have to change, and be good.  We think that if we want His love we have to earn it.

I thought that for years.    I was very legalistic and thought that the more I worked for the Kingdom, at the expense of my time with my children, the higher I would become with God and the more accepted I would be by Him.  I managed for years to climb that ladder, (I thought) but as most stuffed down emotions always do it all comes to the surface and sort of implodes our lives into disillusionment and confusion and destruction.

joseph-in-the-pitHave you noticed that the people in the bible that we call heroes are not really heroes?  They were mostly all losers at first, before God got a hold of them. Prostitutes, liars, adulterers, thieves, doubters, scornful, etc. etc.    They fall and fail, they make huge mistakes.  They get afraid.  They are selfish, deceptive, egotistical and unreliable.  Actually the bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue, our sin, with His grace, His salvation. They all became great men and women of God but not until they surrendered to God. Just like us!!

The focus of the bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer!!  It is not about us.  It is about Him.  He came just so we can be free of the demands of the law.

support_groups Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. 

Grace is love coming to you that has nothing to do with you. 

It is being loved and accepted when you are unlovable.

Grace has nothing to do with the loved, but everything to do with the Lover. 

You are the beloved. 

Grace doesn’t make demands it just gives.

Seriously, when you think about it doesn’t it look like Jesus is always giving of Himself, and did you notice, according to today’s church standards, He hung out with the wrong people? 

553486_415888875110718_1880467937_nThere were the prostitutes, the adulterers, the tax collectors and the like.  The worst sinners of Jesus’ day received his most joyful, compassionate welcome and love—because He knew that once they hung out with Him they would change from the inside out.

By nature we resist promises that seem too good to be true.  So we feel so much better and SO MUCH MORE IN CONTROL, when we work for His acceptance and then we can feel like it is about us and how much we earned His favor. 

Then we can give ourselves a pat on the back.

The balance for our lives has been settled already folks.  Jesus has already done it all and we are covered and loved and accepted into His beloved fold. 

All we have to do is receive it…take the gift of Grace into our lives and walk in it.

 But we are uncomfortable because grace turns the tables on us, relieving us of our precious sense of control. 

Jesus came to liberate us from the weight of having to make it on our own, from the demand to measure up, and the obligation to fix ourselves. 

Transparent ChainsBecause He came to set the captives free life does not have to be an exhaustive effort to justify ourselves and validate ourselves. 

Only He can fix us!!  Not our husbands.  Not our children.  Not our friends.  Not even ourselves. 

His Grace reaches out and pulls us to His chest and cradles us in His strong arms of forgiveness and love.

We are already accepted.  It is not about us.  It is about Him.

So, when I recently heard a dear teacher proclaim that the only way to spend quality time with Jesus is getting up at 5 am and spending an hour in the bible, and an hour in prayer,  and then they would develop a better relationship with God, and that it was the only way to achieve relationship with him, I flinched.   sadThat is how I used to be.  I would keep myself to strict standards of rules and points to gain entrance into the higher echelon of spiritual people.   It took many years and humongous trials of loss before I finally gave up the fight for control and just let go. And yes, reading His word is part of it as well as talking to Him in length.  But I love my walks with Jesus and chatting with Him in the car, and enjoying His presence in so many other ways.

When I finally let go of all control it felt like I had lost my faith because I wasn’t doing anything to earn it. 

I had given up.  

It was in that time of distress and loss that Jesus came to me and delivered me of some very real attacks in my life.  I cried out to Him and asked why He had helped me because I had done nothing for Him at all.  I wasn’t going to church, or reading the bible, or ministering at all.  And He whispered to me—

“I love you, Dixie.”  

He taught me that He loved me just as much in my losses and depression as when I was reaching out to others.   It didn’t matter if I ever did another thing for my Lord, He would love me just as much as he did in my destitution and rebellion.

Don’t let people put heavy burdens on you.  Walk in your own integrity and know there is not a set of rules to live by to be accepted into the lap of Jesus.  Your service for Him is born out of Him being your Lover and when you get that close to Him you naturally want to tell others about Him.   Otherwise it is a heavy burden and a constant merry go round of trying to get in his good graces.

Let Him love you regardless of your struggle with wanting to earn that love.  Breathe in His peace!!  freedom