bondage of the familiar.

Hello and happy Sunday! Today it is raining a lot in K-town and as Sarah and I drove through the Costco parking lot, we screamed for our lives as golf-ball sized hail hit our car. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad. But it's raining and a bit gloomy outside. My back yard reminds me of the Shire from Lord of the Rings. I expect the trees to start walking around any minute now. Today Sarah and I went to the House for church. We talked about how sometimes we go to church and try and seek something out of the message and apply it to our lives. Little did we know that the sermon reflected a lot on that very topic. My thoughts below are just a reflection of what our speaker said, and a bit of an explanation on what the meaning "bondage of the familiar" is. Please have a read and I hope you find these Sunday afternoon ponderings encouraging and up-lifting.

So we go to church and we look for meaning. We sing songs and try to get that spiritual high and connect with God. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I leave church saying, "Man! I didn't like that sermon because I didn't connect with it!" We are trained and taught to expect revelation or the Holy Spirit to change us or move us through song, worship and the Word. And it does! But, there is a bigger picture that we are missing.

We talked about how the ways God moved in the past will not be the same ways in which He will move in the present and the future. He is always with us, and is trying so desperately to reveal Himself to us every single day! Sometimes we notice...like in song or worship...and sometimes we don't. Think about the beauty of the Lord that surrounds you...is that not God trying to speak to us? We simply aren't looking. We are bonded to expectations on how to receive God. We expect God to come to us while we are singing. We expect every campfire to give us warm fuzzies and every prayer session to show us something new about our Father.

A good way to explain this, I think, is when I used to attend bible camp. My sister and I both attended various bible camps throughout our child and pre-teen years. I recall the second summer I returned to my first camp and it was our final night of song and worship around the campfire. The previous year at this same moment, the Lord had entered my heart and renewed me in a way so that I was on fire for Him. That kind of "I just went to bible camp so now I love Jesus" sort of fire. Either way, it was real and I wanted that same feeling the second year. I waited...and waited. As the night progressed and our leader allowed for time of prayer and conversation, I became mad. Not mad at God by any means, but mad at myself that I had been incapable of connecting with my Father in the same manner that I had the year previous. Oh if I had only known what I learned today. Obviously my little 12-year-old self was most likely incapable of knowing that God could come to me in a variety of different formats. In those moments, I couldn't see past the typical revelation.

I'm not putting any blame on worship or prayer or song. Those things are unreal and help us connect closer with God and allow us to see Him for who He really is - a Father who loves us unconditionally. However, we just aren't looking for Him in other places. I am a number one culprit of this. I learned about this idea in my Religious Studies New Testament class this past semester in university too. As Christians we are really good at "feeling" God. It's just the way we are raised and trained. We are bonded to the familiar.

So where do we go from here? In these times of looking for God, especially through trials and change, God can tell us to let go. It is not likely we are going to want to do that. This can be said for anyone, Christ-follower or not. Change isn't easy. That being said, God calls us to this change. But, we look to Him by reliving our past experiences. Maybe, just maybe, I can connect with God like I did that night at camp. Odds are that this could happen again. But God also wants to connect with us in so many different ways. With the people He places in our lives, to the places He takes us and so on. God is trying to get our attention!

In trusting Him and moving forwards into the unknown, there will always be trial and tribulation. I have entered into so many circumstances in my life where I don't know the end result...some of which I still don't know the answer to. Some of those situations have had me giving it all to the Lord, and some have had me committing to the change because I had no other choice, with God absent from my conscious decision. In this season of change, or whatever God is presenting to you right now, there will be hardships, however there is always a storm before the sunshine. There is always a break through, and God will always complete the work He began in us!

Let go of what you think will happen. I have a lot of expectations, fears, doubts and images in my mind of how life could happen and what things I will do in my lifetime. Not to say we can't dream or set goals, but we need to release our old ways and the things we expect to be familiar. Enter into that uncomfortable zone of trusting Him. Not all of life are mountain-top moments and the valley moments are often the times when we grow the most. Each change and each trial that He brings us through refines us (wineskins ring a bell?) and purifies us! Every change is significant. Cling close to Him.

I leave you with a great song by a sweet band that I unfortunately know very little about. However, their music is wonderful and full of sweet melodies that remind us that our Lord isn't finished with us yet.

katie.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djrY_eFDOwE[/embed]