Pissing People Off

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Sometimes God uses me to piss people off on purpose. Not joking. It’s never my favorite thing because I am by nature a people pleaser who is desperately afraid of doing something wrong or hurting people’s feelings (I’m still healing out of these areas). But I’ve watched Him use me periodically to bump up against someone’s belief system and idols in order to bring them into the light, so that He can ultimately move them into greater freedom and truth.

I can’t say that I enjoy these moments when they happen, but in retrospect I’ve admired the wisdom of God in each one and I’ve become reconciled to the part of taking someone else’s heat and reactivity in those moments.

I remember one of the first times I noticeably watched Him use me in this way was with a friend of mine. It was during an occasion in which I thought I showed up on time. But as soon as I saw my friend’s face, I realized she was upset with me. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. It turned out to have been a miscommunication of sorts; and she was irritated with me because she had missed out on another activity in lieu of waiting for me at the time when she thought I was going to arrive.

Normally in those moments, I would have defaulted into I’m sorry mode and apologized profusely because I try to be so intentional about respecting other people’s time. Usually out of my stewardship mentality. Partially out of fear.

But in this case, I felt God speak to my spirit and say, “This one’s not yours to own. You don’t need to apologize.”

It was off my grid at the time. Not apologize when she was seriously pissed off? That felt like a friend death sentence. Everything in me just wanted to say, “I’m so so so sorry.” My autopilot mode at the time was just to take the blame, be the peacemaker, and not rock any relational boats. And of course, take all that projected shame and guilt upon myself as well.

But God wouldn’t let me.

Instead, He showed me that He had intentionally covered over a piece of the information in this friend get-together so that I purposefully wouldn’t see it—in order to actually facilitate this run-in. Huh? Talk about a paradigm shift. And then He followed up that revelation by playing back my memory reel on the many times that He HAD covered my butt in the area of potential missed information. I had gotten really used to Him reminding me of specific details and prompting me to check information again so that I wouldn’t miss something.

But He didn’t do that this time.

And even as I felt the full force of her displeasure with me in that moment, God was comforting me and telling me that this had been a divine set up. His hand had purposefully veiled over a segment of the meeting information in order to cause the misunderstanding. And even though I didn’t like being the fall guy, I saw where He was moving in her life.

My friend’s reaction was pretty mean even if the situation had been my fault. I didn’t see any love or fruit of the spirit in that moment. No forgiveness. No kindness. And I saw that God was revealing what had become an idol of control and schedule in her life, revealed by the disproportionate reaction of a small grievance turned pretty large.

I remember it all feeling a bit surreal. 

Like here I was in the middle of a friend chewing me out, and yet God was telling me at the same time that this was a catalytic moment. And even though she still viewed me as the one at fault, I was able to walk through it all without taking on any shame or guilt—which wasn’t my usual response.

And I’ve come to realize over time through these situations that even though it’s much more fun when God tricks me into being life-giving to a person, it is equally as needed when He tricks me into bringing pain to a person—in order to facilitate their transformation.

Because that is what a catalyst does. 

A catalyst agitates things for the purpose of change. And because God has called me to be a catalytic person of influence, that will sometimes (or often) mean that I will push some of their buttons.

And that’s okay. 

A life coach recently shared a research study with me in which the results revealed that people would rather be right even over having money and power.

We as human beings are incredibly invested in our belief systems even if they are incorrect.

And I’ve watched God use these times of confrontation to heal my own people-pleasing tendencies, as well as sharpen my ability to address belief systems in other people’s lives that aren’t rooted in truth.

I probably would never have done so otherwise without Him putting the pressure on me. 

And God likes to change strategies up. The ways that He facilitates me bumping up against someone’s pain points or belief system varies. Recently, I’ve noticed a new trend in which He nudges me to share various stories, which end up triggering a weird reaction in them as the story bumps up against a particular contrasting belief.

I still feel awkward in these micro moments when He uses me to piss someone off or trigger pain in them.

But now that I know where He is going from His macro perspective of using pain for transformation, I can partner with Him in these uncomfortable situations and let Him heal the fear of rejection out of me at the same time. And even if I never get vindicated through a specific person’s eyes, even if they never catch the larger picture of what God is doing, that’s okay.

Because placating somebody’s idols or false belief structures is not in my list of delegated responsibilities from God. Nor is it loving.

Pursuing the Light,

Nova

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The Eternal Wandering Apprentice

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God took me back to a memory recently of a time during college when I asked a worship leader from my church if she’d mentor me. I wanted to learn from her specifically because I recognized something different about her. My spirit resonated so deeply with something in her own spirit and worship style. At the time, I didn’t know what it was that drew me to her. But now I do. It was her spiritual sound that drew me, and her unique ability to use that sound to draw others into a deeper encounter with God.

The sound and vibration coming out of her spirit was causing my own spirit to ring and sing—a beautiful experience of spiritual sympathetic resonance. I was hooked.

But she said no. I was super bummed. The rejection stung, especially since I had been braver than usual in going up to talk to a person who I really admired but felt shy and intimidated around.

And she wasn’t the only person who told me no or rejected my attempts at spiritual mentorship over the years.

There were multiple others from whom I sought out some sort of spiritual help or discipleship. And I became familiar with the different flavors of rejection, everything from flat-out no’s to the more subtle style of just excluding me from activities and spaces that others were invited into.

None of that was fun.

But I learned something along my journey, which is that God is even more invested in unpacking my spiritual treasures that I am. Because he placed them there to begin with. And I’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter if people tell me no in my attempts to seek out help because God will get me there through another route.

Each rejection and exclusion has hurt, yes, but I haven’t let them stop me.

Some rejections derailed me longer than others as I stayed for a while in shame and pity-party land, but eventually I got back into the game. And I learned through experience that if one door slams shut and I purposefully choose to keep my heart in a trusting and expectant disposition, God WILL eventually open another one.

I understand now that God is bigger than any no I will ever encounter and people are just SOME of the avenues God uses to help me unpack my treasures anyway.

And as I look back on that memory of the girl that was me in college, I no longer feel the sting of the rejection or the shame. Instead, I see a warrior who was so spiritually hungry that she would approach a virtual stranger to ask for help to unpack her own singing and songwriting treasures.

And I applaud her bravery.

And that desire to write songs with the heavenly sound that is within my own spirit is still intact. It has lain dormant for a long time. Decades in fact. It got buried under the rejection and shame and the doubt and minimization that I threw on top, but it never left me. And I’m just now starting to tap into this well that’s always been in my spirit even though I misunderstood it for years.

Because I recognize it’s there now.

So I’ve been slowly moving towards it. I’ve taken a song-writing class. I’ve written one song that is still awaiting a time when I can sit down with my guitar and figure out the chords to make it complete. It’s still a really new area for me. But I’m excited. And I have some song-writing friends now who I can always throw a question to if I get stuck. I think it’s pretty amazing when I look at the song-writing network that God has brought into my life.

He is just the best at redeeming all those failed opportunities if I let Him.

And I think the worship leader that I approached all those years ago back in college missed out on an opportunity to increase her gifting and authority. I think she was called not just to lead others into a heavenly encounter with God herself, but that she was actually equipped to train up the next generation with how to use their songs and heavenly sounds to bring others into that same experience.

I don’t know if she ever figured it out because she eventually moved away. I hope she did. But knowing God and having watched His ways over the years, I know He probably continued to throw new opportunities her way to help her expand and tap into that mentoring ability. No different than how He continued to pull me towards people and venues in my life that would stoke the passionate songwriting flame within me and stir my heavenly sound to come out.

Nova

BUSYNESS is Hell and TIME is a Resource

If the enemy can’t take you out by sin, then he will just try to bury you with activity and busyness so that you burn out quickly and will be less of a threat to him. This is something I heard John Eldredge teach on years ago and I never forgot it. It resonated with me so deeply, and I’ve watched that dynamic play out multiple times over the years in my own life and in others’ lives as well.

Because if the enemy can’t stop me from pursuing my destiny or calling or solving the problems that God has called me to solve, He will just try to get me to solve a bunch of smaller problems that have a way lesser return on investment (ROI). So that I do LESS damage to darkness and am LESS effective for the Kingdom of God.

“The danger of a good but untrained heart is to be taken out by opportunity”—another John Eldredge-ism.

And I’ve watched myself time and again start to get some serious spiritual traction in varying areas, only to have the enemy partner with people in throwing me different opportunities to be life-giving that are good but that aren’t the best use of my time. And weeks pass by before I realized I’ve whittled my time away on piddly things, while leaving my passionate areas of design and calling on my back burner.

It’s so true that “Good is the eternal enemy of the best.”

When I was younger and less mature in my spiritual walk, I thought every opportunity to be life-giving to another individual or community was God. So I’d over-commit myself to a bunch of people, places, volunteering, and activities. I’d usually burn out. Juggling so many different plates all at the same time basically meant I wasn’t much effective at any of them.

And there came a time when I had to let all those plates crash down, so that I could reassess my life and re-prioritize what I wanted to pick back up.

Because I don’t want to get to Heaven one day, expecting the Father to be proud of me that I influenced—let’s say 5,000 people, and instead have Him tell me—“Nova, you were actually created to influence 5 million. You settled for a lesser number because you weren’t strategic with your time and stewardship.”

Talk about an anti-climactic sucker-punch to the gut.

And I’ve made some hard decisions even within this previous year, to disengage from certain communities and people that I’ve loved because I’ve had to get more strategic with my time. My spirit resonates so strongly to the frequency of needing to be wise and make the most of my time on this earth.

Plus I’ve also learned that prior to the birthing of each new season—an old season has to die.

So I’ve learned to prune my life with each new season. BecauseI only have a limited amount of hours in each day. And I can’t keep adding new things to my life, while still holding onto everything from past years—relationships included.

And when God has told me to step down from a community or a particular relationship because my season with it is over, I’ve learned to do it. Not that it is ever easy or that I haven’t dragged my feet sometimes. ButI’ve learned to trust His timing and His sequences for my life. I’ve watched the ways that He’s contracted me out to different communities, relationships, or streams of the faith for times of learning and growth. And then He pulls me out and puts me somewhere else.

And I’ve discovered that I’m always in a season of learning something new about God or His ways. I’m always in training in some area of my life. And if I’m ALL IN for God’s plan for my life, if I’m submitted to His agenda, I need to be okay with that.

Because I literally can’t be all things to all people. It’s not physically possible. To think that I can is either the place of a savior mentality or severe denial. I’ve visited both of these towns in the past. But I can’t be life-giving everywhere there’s an opportunity. I can’t say yes to each person or place that wants my time.

I have to be strategic.

Lately, I’ve really meditated on and become passionate about the God of Time. The Timekeeper. And I’ve begun to walk with a greater awareness that time is a resource that I need to steward well and with great intention. Because if I AM called to influence 5 million, I want to steward my time and resources in accordance with that.

I heard a statistic once that even the most shy person influences about 4,000 people in their lifetime. It got me thinking…

And so I’ll bump the questions onto you:

What’s YOUR  number of spiritual influence? Have you ever really thought about it? How big did God design you to be? What has He called you to steward well?

Definitely something to think about.

The God of Time. The Timekeeper.

Every one of our days was written in His book before one of them came to be. The question is: Will we steward them well?

Nova

“…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

PREMATURE Revelation

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Premature ejaculation doesn’t go anywhere or result in any fruit. It doesn’t implant the needed seed to birth a baby. The same is true with revelation. Even if there is life within my message, God-given revelation or knowing in my spirit’s perspective; if I release it too soon, it goes nowhere and dies. It doesn’t accomplish the purpose for which God gave it to me.

I’ve tried releasing premature revelation a bunch of times myself and come out learning how NOT to do it. But I don’t know anyone whose growth curve wasn’t painful, so I’m not still beating myself up about my more immature spiritual snafus.

In my earlier years of spiritual immaturity and lack of understanding of the process, when God would give me revelation about a person or institution—I thought that I just HAD to pass it onto them. Over time, I learned through trial and error that that isn’t actually the case. And I’ve since learned to sit on any God-given revelation for a while until my excitement about the information doesn’t feel impetuous, so that I can hear from God about what He wants me to do with it.

Presumption and assumption are not spiritual gifts.

Years ago, God began trusting me with specific revelation through dreams about certain churches I was acquainted with. Some of these churches had been my church home for years and they held an endearing place in my heart. Others were ones that I was less familiar with. Some of the revelation I was shown was not positive—it was about things that were going on beneath the surface that the leadership might not even have known about. I didn’t know what to do with the dreams at the time.

And in my newness on the dream scene and because of not having had any actual dream interpretation classes back then, I responded more impetuously. I actually emailed two of my previous pastors with the specific detail-by-detailed dreams.

Not my best move. I’m pretty sure I didn’t establish any dream credibility from either of those experiences. But I gained some painful wisdom through them and I’ve payed that wisdom forward in walking out future dream revelation more strategically.

I’ve since learned that because dreams are so symbolically nuanced, they can often be confusing and may even seem nonsensical. Giving people the actual dreams themselves is usually counterproductive to receiving the revelatory message and it’s not something I would do in the present.

Nowadays, when God leads me to share dream revelation with someone, I am more likely to just give the person the interpretation of the dream rather than the dream specifics themselves. Because unless someone is familiar with the nuances of dreams and the interpretive process, the details will just confuse them.

At the time, I was just so new on the revelation draw that I thought I was obligated to do something every time God shared something with me. But it turns out those earlier church dreams were intercession dreams only, meaning that they were meant to be prayed out to bless the church and help them—but no more.

I realize now that God was building trust with me as well as files of experience, so that I’d know what to do with these types of dreams in the future. God was investing in me. I was in a huge growth curve at the time of understanding the spiritually-symbolic world, so God had been turning up the volume for me on parables, metaphors, night riddles, and all things symbolic.

But earlier on in the revelatory learning process, it was tough to get revelation and just pray it through. It was tough to just sit on it. It was tough to do nothing or to wait. And it was especially tricky for me as I was desperate for the legitimacy and affirmation that I thought would come if I did share it.

Oh to be seen as valuable for something I brought to the table—I’m not the first one to be duped by this, nor the last.

I was no different than most revelatory learners. And God had to take me through my own process of learning, making mistakes, and getting healed of my false sources of legitimacy and affirmation, before I could move onto partnering with His given revelation in the ways that He designed for me.

I learned over time that God often gives revelation to me just because we are friends. I’ve also seen Him dispense revelation incrementally both to myself and to others because He is building trust in the relationship and in the stewardship of revelation.

But there does come a time when He wants us to take that revelation more seriously, when the revelation itself becomes weightier, when He has assignments for us in that realm of revelation and we need to walk with a greater awareness of the responsibility that we carry.

He builds us up to that weightier place through many smaller times of revelatory practice, so that when we finally arrive, we will steward it well and succeed.

I recently reached one of those milestones myself with a dream interpretation assignment that He brought to me. I felt the weightiness of this particular person’s dream and I wanted to steward it well. It was actually a time when God took me full circle back to one of my spiritual starting places and I knew it.

And because I had been through such a long previous process of revelatory stewardship, where I had been learning how to partner with God in the timing, release, withholding, or particular assignment of each revelation, I was able to partner with Him in that weightier revelatory experience.

And I walked with a very healthy dose of the reverence / fear of God through it.

But if I hadn’t learned through all of my failed revelatory experiences, if I hadn’t learned to just sit on revelation and do nothing, if I hadn’t learned to synchronize with the Father and ask Him what He wanted me to do with each micro or macro revelation that He brought to me, I might not have been ready for this bigger trust assignment from Heaven.

I do only what I see my Father doing—the key to partnering with God in any area of life, including revelation.

Nova

“So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19).

Spiders and Sharks

Something powerful happens when God heals a fear—or when we purposefully chose to partner with him in letting him heal a fear out of us. Redemption. Dominion. The place of torment becomes not just a place of the lack of torment but a place of actual sweet dominion. Such was the case with me and spiders. I used to hate them. I remember one time calling my husband at work and asking him to come home to kill a spider—true story. His work was only a block away at the time. But still. And I remember the day when my oldest daughter first encountered a spider with curiosity. She was babbling incoherently at the spider and pointing at it and I responded with a fearful retort to the effect of: “No! Stay away!

I’ve come a long way. Somewhere along the journey, I realized God actually made spiders and that He had a specific purpose for them in the ecosystem that did not include them tormenting his favorite of all creation: human beings. I also came to the place where the truth that God created us to walk in loving dominion over the animals and over all of creation began to resonate so deeply within me that I wanted to actually experience it.

So when the pest exterminator came to my door the other day, pointed out one spiderweb on the eaves of my house, and gave me his super-boring spiel and long-legitimacy list of why his company would be the best at killing every little critter on the property (including crickets and grasshoppers)—I was horrified. I wanted to laugh and tell him: “You are totally talking to the wrong person, Dude. I’m the person who now scoops up spiders out of her house and puts them back outside. I’m the one who talks to them and says, ‘You don’t bother me. I don’t bother you. But please stay outside of my home.’”  Sometimes I just tell the spiders I find in my house, “Good luck, little guy. I’ll throw you away in a few days when I find you curled up along one of my walls.”

Obviously, the exterminator salesman did NOT make a sale that day at my door. And I happily ruffled his feathers a bit by interrupting his vehement rhetoric, asking clarifying questions, and not being impressed by his big, fluffy words.

I’ve come a long way.

But God made spiders on purpose and I look at things now from the perspective of God’s original design, rather than how something has been stigmatized in our culture or even come to be feared. I’m over it.

A good friend and I were sharing strategies yesterday of our latest and greatest challenges. Mine wasn’t animal-related but hers was. She had noticed over time how many shark encounters she had had over the years—with both big and small sharks in an Alabaman Beach. I smiled through her whole story because I saw where it was going. She told me of how her journey with sharks started out with curiosity, and then progressed to fear because of the encounters, and then transitioned to healing and onto a change of perspective, followed by many more encounters with sharks.

She told me how she recently experienced a 6-foot shark encounter with some friends at the beach, and how in the midst of that, she was able to calm an already PTSD-beach traumatized Vet down and avoid further trauma from the new shark experience. I marveled that even in the midst of what could have been a terrifying environment, her blessing of presence was so strong that she not only calmed the Vet down, but she was able to help direct the others on the beach with a strategy of how to give the shark time and space to get back to deeper waters.

At the time, she didn’t think about talking to the 6-foot-long shark that was stuck in the underwater pit to help coach him out of shallow waters. She didn’t think about the fact that she probably had authority to speak to all the sharks in the area when she first arrived at the beach and tell them where they could and could not go. She didn’t think about how she had authority to actually bless the sharks in their design and ecosystem, while still keeping swimmers and surfers safe.

But now she does. 😀

And when she returns to that Alabaman Beach the next time, those sharks are going to get acquainted with her in a different way. Because she’s going to be a spiritual beach guardian, stewarding her blessing of presence and authority in God’s original mandate to take care of creation. And she’s got what it takes to both protect the people at the beach and steward those sharks in the way they were meant to be stewarded: with loving direction.

Spiders and sharks.

Both of us have journeyed through the cultural stigmas of creation, to our own experiences and resultant fear, and circled back around to land at the place of curiosity and God’s original design.

Not just a lack of fear. Dominion.

If that isn’t redemption, I don’t know what is…

Nova

Prayer of Release and Recalibration

Sometimes we just need a spiritual cleanup and reboot. 💙

PRAYER OF RELEASE AND RECALIBRATION:

God, I release everyone and everything to you. I surrender all of my concerns, everything painful, everything needing closure, all things past, things present, and future things to come—to you. I break up with and come out of agreement with fear, anxiety, worry, panic, and anything else in that flavor that is in contradiction to my full birthright and inheritance of peace that you bought for me.

I give you all of my control issues and savior mentalities, and I surrender them to you. I take myself off the altar that I have built of self-sufficiency. I turn away from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil as the way to solve my problems and I turn instead towards your holy spirit and your tree of life which sustains me, nurtures me, leads me, and guides me. It is the spirit that gives me life, NOT knowledge, NOT logic, NOT my man-made solutions.

I declare that you are GOOD and that your heart’s intentions towards me are SO amazing that you already have all of the details worked out and strategized for every issue, big or small, that concerns me. I come out of agreement with anything that is an orphan mindset, that tells me anything contradictory to the fact that I am loved, cherished, protected, provided for, and safe in you.

I give you my time-traveling tendencies to worry and dread about future things to come and all my ruminating tendencies that are spent in my past where I can’t change anything. I give you all of my revolving doors and I invite you in. And I position myself instead in a mindset of trust and redemption, knowing that only you can weave together my past and present and future into a beautiful redemptive masterpiece.

I AM a masterpiece in the middle of a redemptive story and you are the author and finisher of that story. Thank you that every one of my days was written in your book before one of them came to me. Thank you for preserving my entire being and holding me together. You are life. You are everything I need in this day. You have every solution to all of my problems and enough love to fill every empty gap in my life and heart.

I turn my face away from my supposed limitations and I turn instead to gaze on your bigness and your ability to execute with flawlessness and beauty. I remember that you do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that I can ask or think or imagine. I purposely savor and remember who you are because I know that this is the key to everything I will need in this life.

I remember that you are true to your word and that all your promises are yes and amen. I remember that you have promised a future and a hope for me. I remember that you have seated me in high places with Christ. I remember that you have given me everything that I need for life and godliness. I remember that you have blessed me with every spiritual blessing.

I come out of agreement with lies and back into alignment with truth. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. I ask that you expose any lies that I have been believing and reveal to me your truth, so that I can discard the limiting beliefs and come up higher to your perspective.

I ask you to recalibrate me back to my rightful spiritual equilibrium. I ask that you disconnect me from any person, place, atmosphere, situation, or conflict that I have been recently exposed to and cleanse me from every ungodly residue or spiritual dynamic that I have encountered. Please break and rinse me off from all soul ties with any sticky people that I came in contact with.

And I ask you to reset my spirit, soul, body, heart, mind, will, emotions, and brain back into agreement with truth and peace and all things Kingdom. Renew my mind. Flood me with your love and your presence. Quiet the busyness in my soul. Strengthen my spirit to be big and brave and up front. Quiet me with your love. Sing over me. Let me enter into your rest.

I consecrate my spirit, soul, and body to you. I invite you into my past, present, and future. I give you full access and permission to hack the firewalls of my heart, and bring your redemption to the parts of my being and life that need more of you.

I give you my family, friends, all social circles, my passions, skills, desires, callings, anointings, words, emotions, empathy, thoughts, actions, beliefs. I give you everything that makes me, me. And I invite you into these spaces. Help me to synchronize with you, rather than expecting you to synchronize with me. Help me to partner with where you are already moving, healing and building in my life. I am yours and you are mine. What a sweet place to be. Amen.

Nova

Bad Decisions, Simplistic Thinking

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Some of the WORST decisions in my life have exploded because I’ve allowed someone else’s pressure, reasons, or simplistic picture to trump my own wisdom and dictate what I decide.

In contrast, some of my BEST decisions in life have come through examining the multiple angles within a situation before I decide which route to take.

Wisdom has carved out her seven pillars comes to mind…

I’m a visionary by DNA who usually thinks long-term as opposed to short. But this part of my design has seriously pissed off people in my recent past. It has become sandpaper to some of those around me who are upset that I no longer can be pushed around or emotionally manipulated to comply with their wishes as I used to in the past.

Just because a person’s picture makes sense to them of why I should do “the thing”; that in no way necessitates that I have to line up with their paradigm. I’m allowed to have my own varied perspective, values, and goals. God has given me that right as a human being. And I have authority over my own life and that of my family.

And even though I take other people’s perspectives into account, I have had to reconcile over time with the fact that sometimes I just have to agree to disagree with someone I care about. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m disrespecting or dishonoring the person. I try to be honoring even in my no’s.

But I am actually accountable to God for everything that He’s put under my stewardship.

And I walk with a very weighty awareness of whether or not I’m stewarding his precious cargo well.

So even though I am an accommodating person by nature that hates to hurt anyone’s feelings or ruffle feathers, I have had to learn to put my foot down when someone else’s one-angled perspective bumps up against my multiple-angled goals.

Simplistic pictures and thinking has become my hot button as of late. I find that I keep bumping up against this dynamic.

It’s been a painful learning process. But it’s something I’ve needed to learn and grow into if God is going to trust me with more: More people. More opportunities. More stewardship.

The “more” is hindering on whether I lean into the boundaries and decisions that are congruent with my life values and Kingdom goals. And my “no’s” are even more important than my “yes’s”; because it is my “no’s” that actually support my bigger “yes’s”.

So my people-pleasing tendencies have had to die over and over again as I’ve walked this out.

Because I’ve seriously regretted making decisions out of simplistic pictures, one-angled perspectives, or pressured spaces (though I realize life doesn’t usually afford me ALL the processing space that I wish).

I’ve watched things disastrously explode, time and again, when I’ve allowed someone else’s paradigm or lenses to trump my own value system and viewpoint. 

Yet here’s the GOLD: When I look at each decision of my life as something that either adds to or detracts from my life values and goals, I usually make FANTASTIC decisions. That innate, long-term visionary planning pays off.

But I’ve had to walk through a lot of situations where I didn’t have the support that I needed other than my internal “knowing”, in order to come to the place where I actually trusted myself and my own decision-making ability. I wasn’t born with that. I wasn’t taught that growing up. That was never an area of free money for me.

I got to that place through some serious intentional growth and pushing back against the simplistic pictures that I would encounter.

And I’ve realized just recently how much of a HOT button it is for me now when people either make judgments about my life or pressure me to make decisions based on their simplistic perspective that involves only one angle, detail, or principle of a matter.

I’m done with simplistic pictures because I’m no longer stuck in one.

I’ve come to realize over time that LIFE isn’t a simplistic picture. GOD isn’t a simplistic picture (He’s beautiful complex and multifaceted). I am not a simplistic picture (though I often experience being viewed through one lens). And there’s usually more to the story than what is glaringly obvious…

And the amount of times that God has triggered this simplistic-pictures HOT button for me lately is humorous. I’ve been put in repeated, laboriously-painful situations recently where I wanted to scream. Some of these situations were despairingly dull in perspective. Others were infuriatingly naive.

But I see the humor in it. Now.

I’m starting to see growth even in these frustrating times. Because I see how I’ve been able to walk through the repeated encountering of limited perspectives and simplistic thinking and STILL maintain my internal knowing of life’s complexity. Still keep the fires of my complex, puzzle-solving brain in play. Still consider things through multiple dimensions.

Even though the person right next to me may be stuck in a one-dimensional view.

A friend once told me I had a “puzzle brain”, because I look at all the pieces of something and see how they all fit together. But my challenge now in this next season of growth is to discover how to take what I know or see inside and use that in a transformational way—to help shift the atmosphere or environment in whatever direction or way God wants me to.

And my longtime painful experiences of having to bare down and hold my boundary ground in perspective and decision-making, together with my recent discontent and frustration in encountering other’s simplistic or limited perspectives have merely been CLUES as to what God was up to in my life. The new direction he has been trying to get me to see so that I could lean into it.

I hate simplistic thinking. I hate simplistic pictures. Partly because I used to be stuck in that same place. Mostly because I want others to experience the glory of complexity.

At least now I’ve got a lead on where God is going with this—the not-knowing was driving me crazy.

Now I feel like a bloodhound that has just caught the scent of a redemptive trail…

Nova