Have you ever had one of those experiences where it just hits you that life is short? Where you feel the urgency to pour out everything inside of you, knowing that God will fill you back up every time you run down to empty? I’m feeling that right now. I’m feeling the gentle nudge that there is work to be done and the deep security that I’m not doing it alone.
So what does it look like to live life well?
Hebrews 12:1-3 immediately comes to mind.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
“We are surrounded.” There are superstars in the faith who have gone before us and there are superstars in the faith who are living right beside us. All we have to do is look for them.
We are not alone.
We can find women to get in community with at church. It might mean getting out of our comfort zone to intentionally meet new people. I believe there are a lot of ladies out there struggling, needing encouragement from each other, who just have to find each other.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to serve at my church. We hosted an IF:Local women’s conference. If you’re familiar with IF:Gathering then you know how awesome that is. If you’re not familiar, you should check it out and consider attending an event. It seriously was the best spiritual and relational thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. Here’s a link.
It was a great opportunity to meet other like-minded women because I volunteered for serve teams. I actually ended up on two of them which meant I got to meet and spend time with even more women.
We can also find women online to connect with. There are so many ways to connect online. Just check out a Facebook group or listen to a podcast. I’m a huge new fan of podcasts. I have some long distance besties that I listen to on a regular basis. They are fun, loving, wise and always fill me with great inspiration and wisdom. To clarify, they don’t know we’re besties but that’s totally okay. It doesn’t change how they better my life.
We’ve been called to “run the race with perseverance.” When I hear that word, I think of running and not giving up. Staying the course.
More than just sticking with it, perseverance means to persist even when things get difficult and success looks so far away. It’s determination. Determination to love God, love people, and love ourselves no matter what. No matter how discouraged we might get because discouragement is a feeling not truth. No matter how lonely we might get because loneliness is a feeling not truth. No matter how weary we might get because weariness is a feeling not truth.
The truth is that the enemy came to “steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came so that we can have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) He overcame the enemy and through him we overcome the enemy. We overcome any and every thing the enemy uses against us. That includes discouragement, loneliness, weariness, and anything else we may struggle with. We overcome because Jesus lives within us. We get to call on His name and rely on his strength, not our own.
We’ve gotta “fix our eyes on Jesus.” He is our guide. Praying, reading the word, worshiping, being thankful. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This is how we live well. This is how we live intentionally. Jesus showed us how to do it. He snuck away to stay in personal communication with the Father. He loved those others ignored. He was patient with people who didn’t get him. He constantly gave of himself. The more we seek to understand Jesus, the more we will understand our purpose in life.
“Don’t grow weary and lose heart.” I think this encouragement is added not to make us feel guilt when those things creep in, because they will, but to remind us not to stay there. Yeah, I’ve been weary. I spent the past year not living life well. It has actually been over a year, since we moved here. But God is encouraging me that it’s time to quit focusing on me and focus my attention outward. There is a world that needs what He can do through me. God has gifted and equipped me with talents and abilities to share His goodness. And that’s not because I’m special. He has created every single one of us the same way. You, friend, have unique talents and abilities to share His love with a broken world.
Let’s take a look at Hebrews 12:1-3 again in the Message version. I love the wording and passion in this version.
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
Will you join me in believing that God has equipped us for every good work? (2 Tim 3:16-17) His word gives us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) And we can encourage each other to live this life well.
So, practically, what does that look like? For me, it looks like being in tuned to God’s leading. That might mean following the nudge to sit with a stranger who is sitting alone. Being intentional about sending out a few encouraging texts each morning. Immediately saying yes when asked to step of your comfort zone. Example: Being asked to pray on stage. Yikes! That is scary.
Let’s not lose sight of the hurting and broken who God has called us to love. And let’s join together, encouraging one another as we live out our shared goal.
Those are just a few of my examples. What are some of yours? What does it look like for you to live life well? Is there anything God is calling you to right now that is so scary that you’re hesitant to follow? Or are there simple everything things that he is asking you to do intentionally?
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