Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: all in

Snorkel diver

Go Deeper

Diver
Dig deeper is typed into the margins of my rough draft. I’m blessed to have incredible editors. They push me to draw emotions out of my characters, forcing me to place myself within the character’s head, see what they see, and feel what they feel. If they’re angry, then it’s my teeth that grind, my fingernails that dig into the seat of my chair, and the low rumble of a growl that builds within my chest. If they’re falling in love, then my stomach needs to flutter like migrating monarch butterflies, and it’s my blood that needs to zing as if newly carbonated.

If I’m lazy, I slip into telling: she felt, she hoped, she realized. Lazy writing creates distance between the heroine and the reader. The reader no longer resides within the heroine’s head. They’re now a fly on the wall observing the plot from a distance. The emotions fall flat no matter what flowery words or similes are used.

Even worse is being lazy with my faith. It’s easy to go through the motions, like praying because it’s expected or because we’re sitting down to dinner. It’s simple to say rote prayers where the words spill out without consideration of what they mean. Lazy faith keeps God as an observer from a distance instead of inviting him into our hearts and daily lives to experience true intimacy.

So how do we not let our faith become stale? Isaiah 37:31 says, “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.” When we dig deep and take root, i.e. through reading scripture, praying for revelation, and seeking the Holy Spirit, we’ll draw closer to God, and in turn, God will draw closer to us. When we lean into God, He solidifies our faith. When we press in, our convictions strengthen. Our roots anchor us into the fullness of God, and we feel Him on an intimate level.
Tree with large roots
Isaiah 37 tells us to take root below and we will bear fruit above. The more rooted we are in God, the more we reap the benefits of the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Bearing fruit like all relationships takes work. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. God is passionate about His children and desires to spend time with us. Jeremiah 29:12-13 states, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Sometimes we have to push past our complacency and go deep to experience the richness of God.

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Man diving into lake

Dive in

Boy swinging on rope swing into lake.

Rope swings aren’t something you can do halfway. You either swing out over the water, let go, and go all in. Or, you swing back and crash into the trunk of a tree. Somebody tied a rope to a tree near the reservoir not far from my house. It’s been taken down now, but we used to hear the whoops and see the splashes as they plunged into the lake. I know it’s only time before the boys try to make one of their own.

Peter was a rope-swing kind of disciple. He jumped into things with both feet. He was notorious for getting out of the boat to walk to Jesus on water and sinking a few seconds later when he got distracted (Matthew 14:28-30). He spoke before he thought and often put his foot in his mouth. One minute, Peter was having divine revelations about his Lord, and the next, he was being reprimanded, “get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:13-23). He told Jesus, even if the others fall away, he would not. Even if he died, he would not deny Him. And then, before dawn that next day the rooster crowed (Matthew 26:33-34).

Man diving in lake

But despite all Peter’s mess-ups, God loved him and had a great plan for his life. He chose Peter to be the rock upon which He built His church. When Jesus returned from the dead, he stood on the shore calling out to Peter and his fishing crew. As Peter recognized his old buddy Jesus, he couldn’t wait a second longer to see him. He dove into the sea and swam into shore. The rest of the men were left to reel in the nets and row in the boat (John 21: 4-9).

God favors the excitable. He blesses those who step out in faith. He desires us to be all-in.

He wants our fervor.

But how do we do that? Part of it is letting go and letting God (like I mentioned in my last blog), but here are some suggestions of ways I’ve dialed things up a notch when I feel like I’ve plateaued or started to coast in my faith:

  • Crank up worship music and dance around the room. Not a dancer? Lift your hands, and see where it goes.
  • Sing along until your voice won’t let you.
  • Not a singer? Chant scripture like it’s your war cry. Repeat it like a mantra. Let it sink into your entire being.
  • Give something away, whether it be a free meal or just a smile. Feel the love of God flow through you into others.
  • Lay prone on the floor and pour your heart out in prayer for someone.
  • Watch a sunset, or go for a hike, or sit under the stars, and praise God for his creation and the great work of his hands.
  • Support a new endeavor upon which your church or pastor is embarking. Join the vision to make it happen, serve, and be blessed by how God moves.
  • Join a church group or lead a church group. Nothing strengthens your faith like being accountable to and for others.

Don’t worry about messing up or appearing silly. Peter sure didn’t, and God is good at covering faults.

So go ahead. Dive all-in. 

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