A Large Fuzzy White French Beret Hat
I can remember when I was around ten or eleven I went to a Christmas party for my gymnastic's team. During the party they planned to do a gift exchange after we ate dinner. You could bring a nice gift of whatever you wanted for under twenty dollars. I laugh now thinking back to how extremely hopeful I remember feeling. I can't recall what I gave, but I do remember considering something really great like a "best friend" locket combo necklace, or maybe some neon gel pens, or maybe some cool scrunchies.Fast forward. Numbers where drawn and I drew number one. I went first. Once a gift was selected it could be passed three times and then it locked down to an owner. I was feeling lucky. I had the pick of the litter......and boy did I choose good. Grabbed the biggest bag with the brightest tissue paper. I looked like a rainbow tossing the colored tissue paper out of the bag. I reached in and out came...............a large fuzzy white French beret hat.Ya'll. I can't even. I remember raising it up above the bag and my facial expression in extreme slow motion going from eager anticipation like all my childhood Christmas gift exchange dreams where going to come true to a sort of a "whatchu talking 'bout Willis??" look of confusion. I still don't know who brought it. No one every fessed up. I mean I know the 90's carried their weight in horrid fashion statements, but the fuzzy white French Beret hat was not something I recall EVER having seen on MTV Behind the Music. I apologize if you had a fetish for white fuzzy French Beret hats in the early 90's...and honestly the 90's apologies to you too. haha. My mama taught me well though and you know I put on my best southern ten year old happy, "Oh wow. This is special." face as it arose from the bag, but my internal dialogue was that of a ten year old Christmas party gift exchange horror and disappoint that was neither fuzzy or white. I ended up taking that fuzzy French Beret hat home. Total gift exchange bust.I think we fear our lives surrendered unto Jesus will end up like a busted gift exchange. In part, I think its an honest aspect of growth to admit and submit to Jesus the hesitation arises in our hearts...."If I surrender....will this end up being a busted gift exchange?" Because let's be honest friends, true authentic surrender looks pretty vulnerable. Exposed. Naked almost. Maybe we've even attempted full surrender of our lives to Jesus a few times, but we keep getting caught up at betrayal, or rejection, or insecurity, or self-preservation, or heartbreak...And we run the risk of needing to garner the Truth about putting the greatness of our daring in the hands of the Author and Perfecter of our Faith. And that is risky business.In my previous post I listed several ways we can Flip the Furniture of our spiritual lives in surrender.The first way I mentioned was to Raise Your Expectations. Remember the progression...Surrender-->Raised Expectations-->A Hope that purifies-->Expect Expansion and Effectiveness. The willingness to RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS means everything to the growth of victory through any surrender. The absolute ONLY way you will receive the Victory pulsing among earth's hinges to ring into your soul will ONLY burst loud to resonate through your soul to the world IF you are so willing to relentlessly RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS regardless of your surroundings.Here are a couple of easy ways we can do this together. Raise the caliber of your mind by reading The Bible.
Be consistent. No matter how much life hurts, gets busy or attempts to distract you from your need of it - cling to the Word. Read it. Speak it. Write it. Repeat. The Word is your Lifeline to the goodness of God.
Make it easy to grab, see or hear. Make the Word within reach. Quick access at all times.
Choose passages that speak uniquely to you. Begin to memorize it so that if you don't have access to the Word when you need it, you know it by heart. Raising the caliber of your mind will help raise the caliber of your expectations and the vantage point you have of Jesus.
Raise the intel to your situation through persistent prayer.
Never end the conversation with God about your circumstances. Give Him the time to show Himself faithful.
Be honest. Pray like you mean it. He already knows what's up, get comfortable and "Go there" with Him. He can shoulder it, I promise. I dish out a fair share to Him and He hasn't kicked me to the curb just yet :)
Remind yourself God likes for us to bother Him. Ask. Seek. Knock. And NEVER GIVE UP.
Pray your heart to the Father. Don't worry about fancy near as much as you concern yourself with authenticity.
Raise the conversation of your faith by speaking out the promises and miracles you see coming to life all around you.
Look for areas of Promise. I know the world, life, brokenness...it can feel too bleak. But the Promises of Heaven are everywhere. Times might be foggy and it may take some hefty effort, but call out places of promise. For our tribe there have been seasons where all we can claim is a flaming sunset roaring across the sky as a promise. We actually have done it so often the kids will see one when we are on a road trip now and without prompting holler out, "The sunset! That's a PROMISE, mom and dad!"
Listen to the conversations around you. Where does God need to dispense a miracle. Shake off the dust of the everyday and ask God to give you supernatural insight to miracles. Our tribe has been praying for the healing of two children with traumatic brain injuries. To believe for their miracles energizes the prayers for the unique miracles we are believing for. Before you know it you find yourself in a culture of miracles and community of faith.
Praise. Lift the lid on worship and praise the promises down. My car, my kitchen sink, my desk....they have all become spaces for worshippers to arise because the enemy is defeated by the praises of God's children.
Raise the atmosphere of your Hope by celebrating others and the miracles they need.
Celebrate BIG! One of my greatest pet peeves is when believers soft sell the need for liberal celebration. Life is meant to be celebrated. Find someone who feels discouraged, locate a reason to celebrate something in their life and I promise the spirit of discouragement is uprooted.
Create a culture of promise seeking, miracle watching and celebration happening wherever you go.
If you sense discouragement in someone - REACH IN AND HELP THEM RAISE UP. Don't just gossip about it. Dash gossip at all costs. Celebrate. Raise Hope. See miracles.
Hope is the goal. Today choose to surrender a small part of your life you've been holding back from Jesus, and watch Him come back with more strength, endurance or insight than you could ever think or imagine. Watch Him come back with the Promise of His Presence everyday.Surrender ---> Raise Your Expectations ---> A Hope that Purifies ---> Expect Expansion and Effectiveness!