This year, I went to my first ever women’s conference called Passionate in Wellington, New Zealand. I signed up after a lot of encouragement from my husband. To be honest, I was pretty wary of the idea at first. I wasn’t sure what to expect and it was definitely out of my comfort zone.
But as the weekend approached, I had a growing sense inside that this conference was going to change my life. God had already been establishing a new season in my life, and I knew this was all part of it.
What new thing is God stirring in your heart? What new thing is He calling you to?
I arrived at the conference not knowing what to expect but with a heart ready to receive. Ready and hungry for refreshing, encouragement, fanning of the flame of vision and excitement that was already building in my heart. I was expecting to encounter God.
Are you hungry for more of God’s presence in your life? Are you expectant that God has big things in store for you?
One of the biggest impressions I came away from the weekend with was a new sense of having value as a daughter of God. Ever since becoming a Christian in my teens, I have had a deep sense of wanting to live a life for God that is full of impact, but have often been held back by fear and insecurities. These labels were, as Lisa Bevere put in one of her messages, on my ‘backside’. What does that mean? It means we don’t walk around displaying them prominently on our face and obvious to people, but they pop up in certain situations. They’re the parts of ourselves that we wish did not exist but struggle to get rid of.
What labels are you wearing? What is holding you back from living a life of impact?
During a worship session at Passionate, God showed me a picture of myself standing at the entrance to the building holding a suitcase in each hand. He gently showed me it was time to leave the suitcases behind, to let go of the things that were actually a hindrance to coming into the life that He has for me. The suitcases held my faults and imperfections, my emotional belongings that I insisted on carrying around because I thought I needed to unpack and sort through them, when actually God was showing me that He already dealt with those issues at the Cross and I could fully leave them behind.
What suitcases are you carrying around? Do they stop you from living life fully?
I heard a relevant message at church this past weekend by an inspiring pastor, Ben Carroll. He spoke about the personal belongings that stop us from responding to God promptly. He likened it to a fire drill, where we are supposed to leave our personal belongings behind and respond immediately. Instead of doing this, we often tarry, not taking the drill seriously, and not wanting to leave our stuff behind. I am totally guilty of this; every time there was a fire drill at my old workplace, I would firstly wait for others to take action and then make sure I took my handbag with me. My co-workers and I would then casually meander to the assembly area and use it as an opportunity to chat. We didn’t take the drills seriously.
The problem is, when we meander and focus on carrying our belongings (our suitcases), we make excuses that stop us from responding to God’s call on our life. Our personal belongings include (as listed by Ps. Ben):
1. Our sin
2. Our hurt
3. Our fear
4. Our doubts – whether we’re qualified or gifted enough
5. Our discouragement
6. Our pride
7. Our cynicism
8. Our worry
9. Our guilt
10. Our apathy
Do any of these belongings resonate with you? Are you quick to respond to the promptings on your heart? Are the things you are carrying around hindering or helping you?
Another point he went on to make was that Jesus is calling us to travel light. We are not meant to be heavy-laden, or burdened down with things. God has called us to freedom.
So back to the conference and the suitcases. God showed me those suitcases were actually a hindrance to me. I couldn’t move forward properly or promptly because they were dragging me back. Imagine a runner trying to compete in a race with a full suitcase in each hand! How effective do you think she could be?
I came away from that weekend with a deepened sense of purpose and excitement to move into the calling that God has placed on my life. And a greater belief that He who calls me will equip me, so that I don’t need to feel afraid or inadequate but I can be confident that He who calls will bring it to pass.
Are there any suitcases you need to leave behind in order to run your race? Today is the day, don’t tarry or delay (did I just make up a rhyme there?!)
I’ll leave you with this scripture from Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”