Anyone smell smoke?

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You care about something. I know you do. Something more than what you had for breakfast, or the car you drove to work. Even more than a job that pays the bills, or the people you pass in the halls each day. There’s something, something else, something deeper inside that is calling.

 

Late at night, when you can’t sleep, when the walls become a blank canvas, what picture do you see? Or better yet, what one do you paint? When there are no boundaries, no fences, no limits, what do you do? When you’re lying there awake in the black recesses of night…

 

What do you dream?

 

I know it’s bigger. It is. Bigger than bills, and braces, and car repairs and old couches, it’s bigger. It’s more. More than that summer vacation you’re planning, or the Cheerios on your kitchen floor. There is something, something bigger inside of you, inside your heart. It’s there.

 

Oh, you can pretend you don’t hear me. Or it. You can continue on your merry little way whistling your little tune. No one will stop you. Nothing will happen. No major catastrophes will occur if you ignore that something. Maybe. Or maybe not. I don’t know what that something is for you, so I really can’t say.

 

All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

 

There is plenty of nothing to be done. PLENTY. And without a doubt, plenty of people to do it. Plenty doing it right now, and plenty to keep on doing it. Plenty to keep on spending and wasting, keeping up with the Jones. Plenty to keep plastering materialism over a hole that can’t be filled. Plenty—literally billions—of people who will ignore that something, that ONE THING, that still small voice whispering to their soul.

 

Will you?

 

Because here’s the deal: you can. No one will fault you. If you just keep plugging away, being good, taking care of your own, no one would blame you. After all, you have a mortgage to pay, mouths to feed, a house to decorate (better head to Target!) Those are decent things, respectable pursuits. But are they enough? Are they enough to squelch the voice? The voice of your soul crying out for that something, that better thing, that…more. Only you can say.

 

I don’t know what your one thing is. And, if you don’t find out, the world may never know. That still small voice may, eventually, be quieted. You might be able, one day, to shove enough stuff over it, around it, under it, through it, and in it, to make it stop. I’m sure it happens all the time. That vast hole in our hearts is pretty large though, and it’s there for a reason.

 

Don’t you ever wonder what that is…?

 

In case you do, I’ll tell you. It’s no secret. And the fact that I know is no indicator of genius in me.

 

It’s purpose. YOUR purpose. MY purpose. That’s the sound. That thing that keeps you awake. The itch, that nagging ache, that thing that won’t go away no matter how hard you try; it’s purpose. And I can tell you one thing, if you stop ignoring it, it will get bigger. That’s right, it will grow. All it takes is a tiny kindling. Fan it just a tad, just a hair, and it will blaze. Pretty soon, before you know, it will set your heart to flame!

 

And when that blaze is good and fueled, it will spread…like wildfire.

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Because that’s why we were made. That’s why you’re here. Yep. Despite what you’ve been told, or whats been so subliminally weaved into your psyche, you are not here to acquire more crap. That’s not it. God did not set you on this planet, in this season, with your gifts and talents and desire, with your past and present and people, with all the things that so uniquely make you YOU, He did not randomly do that so you could waste it all. There is a plan. He has a plan. And guess what, you are part of it.

 

I know, I know. That’s a lot of pressure. It is. I feel it too. But here’s the deal, once you start listening to that voice—the voice in your soul—and stop listening to the world, the blaring, blasting, poisonous, penetrating scream of the world, when you stop listening to that, you’ll hear something else. Something better. Something real. You’ll hear…

the truth.

 

And the truth is this; You are art. ART! You were created with a destiny and purpose all your own. There is no one–NO ONE–like you. And your destiny is unique, planned by God, painted by Him, purposed for a bigger truth, an eternal truth. And time is short. So you need to move.

 

NOW.

 

The clock is ticking, the calendar is fading. And you are aging. How many more birthdays have to pass before you get this? You only get so many on this side of the grave. And that’s the truth. No one is promised any set amount of days, purpose or no. And the Spirit? He is a gentleman. He will not force you, or beg you, or coerce you. He simply calls. He built you into this house; walls that won’t be shaken, foundation for you to stand on, a covering over your head. What more do you want???

 

Stop being afraid! There is no time for fear. Oh, you can feel that fear, that’s human. But you can’t let it control you. It can’t stop you. It can’t douse this fire that’s started, this flame about to take over the world. You’ve got to light the match and throw on more logs, many more logs.

 

Burn baby, burn.

Set the world on fire.

Now, while you still can.

I’m waking up to my purpose. And some of it looks like this:

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And I can’t wait to tell you more.

 

What are you doing…on purpose?

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When God speaks

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God is not some harsh task master. Instead, He often invites us quietly to

 

Come dream with me~

 

 

He calls us with purpose and kindles the fire in our hearts to move into the plans He has for us.

Often, this voice has come to me softly, gently. But other times it’s been sudden, immediate, and fierce. When God speaks to your heart, He has a reason. Maybe it’s because you are the person to accomplish something in His will. Or maybe, you need to pray for someone else, or lead them, or give them a word from Him. The ways God can move are limitless and never fail to astound me.

In my own life, I have found that the more I listen for–and respond to–Gods voice and nudging in my spirit, the more He moves. He speaks louder, and more clearly, the more I listen and obey. And sometimes it’s just been little things; say a kind word, apologize, forgive. Other times, it’s been in big things; surrender, give…go to Africa.

Yeah. I know, right? Scary stuff when God speaks like that.

Yet, going to Africa was the single biggest act of faith I’ve experienced. And mainly, because after that, everything else felt small. I learned who I was, and who I’m not, in Africa. Now, when God speaks, I know, and believe, what He says–He means. I trust Him.

I want to partner with Him. I don’t just want God riding shotgun, I want Him driving.

And I don’t even have to see the road anymore. As long as He is taking me, I want to go.

So, this morning, during my devotional time, He gave me one of those sudden insights of purpose. It kind of knocked me off-guard at first. I was all like “Who?” and “What?” And “Are you kidding me?? How am I supposed to do THAT!?”

But it isn’t about me. He let me know that right away. It’s not about what I can (or can’t) do. It’s about what He has already done. My only responsibility is to use my words, and to walk the path He has already made for me to walk.

When the time comes, I will share what that means. But, for now, I need your prayers. I need prayers for clarity, favor, and vision. I’d love miraculous guidance. And really that depends on my listening for His voice so I can respond quickly and accurately.

How can I pray for you and the purpose God has planned for your life?

Puny Gods and the end of my American Dream.

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What do you worship? Because, really, we all worship something. Whether it is the God of the universe, or the puny gods of our own creating, we all bow down in one way or another and declare something righteous. You may not know exactly what, or who your gods are, but it isn’t difficult to locate them. Take a look at your day to day choices and you might see a pattern emerge, one that points directly to what is truly important to you, to what and whom you give honor.

For me, I spend as much time as possible in denial. It’s only when I’m forced that I see beyond my immediate needs and decisions to the impact and ripples they create in my life and the lives of those closest to me. We all make choices and those choices have repercussions, not only for us, but for those in our world. We might want to pretend that our decisions only affect ourselves, but that’s rarely the truth.

I spent some time in Dallas last week. It’s a beautiful town, but a tad over-dressed and opulent for me. I am a hopelessly middle-class girl. I wasn’t born into wealth and quite frankly, I’m okay with that. In fact, at times, I even want to shun my middle class life. You see, I found out something a few years ago; middle-class is broken—it’s a lie. The truth is, it doesn’t even exist.

To begin with, the entire premise is misleading. By very definition, middle implies something midway–in the center of—located equally between two poles. But that’s the first problem, because we here in America think we hold both the poles. We don’t. There’s this whole big world out there beyond our borders and guess what? They matter. Although, by the way we live and breathe and perceive our existence you wouldn’t know it.

See, we are the Target generation. And as a so-called middle class girl, Target is like crack to me. No, really. I think I might actually salivate like Pavlov’s dog just thinking about it. My heart races, I get all kinds of weak. You know, there’s just so much to see, so much to buy! Their selection changes so rapidly and when they do clearance? Baby, they do clearance!

Target, is the Wal-mart of the middle class. Its everyday prices are like Anthropologies best sales. If you want to mimic Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, or Architectural Digest even—on a modest salary—Target can hook you up.

But, is that really middle class? And in the middle of what, exactly? Because if I can buy a swanky throw pillow for $24.99, and yet that same amount would feed a family of four in Kenya for a few months, I think middle is a bit off the mark…

So who shops at Target, and how close to the middle of anything are they really living? Is it those who make $50K a year—the U.S. median income? Because, according to a 2013 Gallup poll, per-capita incomes in the top 10 wealthiest populations are more than 50 times those in the 10 poorest populations. And yes, the U.S. is in the top ten wealthiest populations in the world, even if we refuse to acknowledge our place as such. While we pretend we are barely getting by, the rest of the world lives with a totally different perception, and reality. We look on, refusing to see both our wealth, and our power to live responsibly. (Pass me my Marc Jacobs bag so I can find my Visa card–there’s a sale on shoe’s at Nordstroms…)

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”                   Luke 12:48

I’m not blaming anyone here. I’m blaming everyone, including myself. And to be honest, I never gave it a real thought until I went to Africa in the summer of 2012. That trip changed me. It wrecked me for normal life, forever. There’s just something about seeing a child scavenge in a mound of trash that changes your perception of wealth, of life…of everything. Now, I know I can never go back to the sweet Target salvation I used to know.

I can’t, because it doesn’t exist for me any longer.

See, what I realized in Africa is that I need less—not more—to feel content; less stuff, less power; less acclaim. My heart needs more of something else to come alive. Starbucks does not fix everything. A fancy house does not a home make. In fact, a home—home in the true sense—where your heart is free and open and bare before God—is readily accessible even with no house. Even in the bush, on the red dirt of Africa, you can find home, true home, in hearts and community with no walls or roof, because our home is with God, in God, in service and communion with his people.

So for me, there is no middle class. The American dream is dead. And if the bulls-eye we’re shooting for is pointed at acquiring more useless stuff to pad our already over cushioned lives, we need better aim. I need better aim.

Let’s see if we can find find it together, maybe over a Grande Americano…

What’s your poison? What keep’s you stuck in your safe, normal, American Dream? How can I help you get out of your box and see the real world? Share with me in the comments–let’s do community here!