True Rest Tuesday #0013 | About Turning Your Gaze Away From Yourself
It's amazing how God can bring us into prayer. When you turn your gaze away from your narcissistic self and look around, it's amazing to see that God is doing in and around you! A couple of items to praise God for this week is simply what He has done in me. I know I sound like a broken record now, but it's amazing to be freed from the anger and identity issues I've been struggling with. I feel like I can suddenly see what's going on around me because my gaze is no longer fixed at myself and is looking more outwardly towards my Heavenly Father and His image bearers.
seeing God work in my church body
Being four and half years into our church plant, we've seen a lot of families being called away to other places, and have lost a lot of core people. But in the last few weeks, as I look out on to His local body around me, our church, and I'm amazed at all the new families and individuals God has been bringing into our community. We have had people from the lower mainland, and the States feel called to join us on mission, individuals who are interested in starting a relationship with Christ and His family, and I'm starting to see hearts being transformed.
seeing God's work in our Youth
I've been co-leading our youth group with my cousin for nearly three years now. It has been a big learning curve that seems like a lot of toiling; tilling the ground with very little fruit.
There is one kid in our youth group, who by the way is an excellent thinker. I remember asking our youth one time as we're going through the Youth Alpha Film Series, whether they believed Jesus was a historical or mythological figure. This particular youth believed Jesus to be mythological and saw science as an argument against faith and religion. I'm not sure where he is at now, but that youth is now responding to some of our discussion questions with some incredibly well thought out understanding of the deity and sovereignty of God. As well, that kid is discussing God, no longer in a hypothetical, but in a "God is..." kind of way. I'm continuing to pray that Jesus would make Himself real to that kid.
seeing God's work in my ministry
There's another gal in our church who's been coming out for maybe two years now. I remember when I first met her, she seemed very shy and almost did not seem as if she wanted to talk to anybody. For whatever reason, she kept coming out to our gatherings and spent some time just hanging out with us. She's another incredibly intelligent lady who understands all kinds of deep science and mathematics, like string theory, and the "God-particle" theory. In our past conversations, she discussed how she felt science disproved a Creator and things like that, and our conversations were very stoic and were a little disjointed and awkward.
Now, I see her blossoming as well as our friendship, as well as having some giggles and great exchanges with her, which is incredible if you were to know her story. In my most recent conversation with her she now explains to me how when you move deeper past the "pop-culture" of science into thereal deep science, she tells me that all of it points to a Creator.
seeing God's work in my friendships
I have another dear friend whom I've been walking with for the last three or so years. She would say I'm her friend who disciples and encourages her; I would say she's a darling friend who mothers me. In our ups and downs, I would say that I have tried to play her functional saviour and tried to be the Holy Spirit to her, which led me to a meltdown. But at the Holy Spirit has urged me to pray for her and her family instead, I am blown away by the work of sanctification, maturing and conviction the Holy Spirit has given her. I'm astounded by the faith and wisdom she is growing in the Lord.
seeing God's invitation to fight in prayer
As I turn my selfish gaze away from myself, I'm beginning to see needs around me, and instead of tripping over myself to help, God has invited me to be a part of their healing through prayer. As I turn my gaze away from myself, I find myself more available, (but just as equally busy).
I can't tell you opportunities I have missed to celebrate in the fullness of someone's joy when God answers a prayer that you were not praying for. And then there are crazy awesome times to celebrate in the fullness of joy when God answers a prayer that you were praying for, and your affections for God are stirred.
A glimpse of the fights in the trenches
Spiritual attack is to be expected when the Kingdom of God begins to collide with the kingdom of darkness. For whatever reason, I seem to ignorant or naive to the war I am in.
This week has been a week where I felt the weight of dealing with a demonically oppressed individual, and in the light and mercy of God's truth, could only find rest and safety from it in Him. For whatever reason, that individual is in my life for a reason and God's purpose. I ask that my God would deliver them quickly, that they might be returned into the fold.
Do you sometimes struggle with narcissism? When you're free to turn your gaze away from yourself, what can you see God doing? I'd love to hear your stories.