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July 1, 2018
I haven’t written in awhile. Obvious statement, I know. The not so obvious is why. I keep asking myself that question. Why? What’s the hindrance? I have the stories. God continues to show me some pretty amazing things. Speaks to me in intimate ways. Puts me in situations that only the Lord could. And yet I can’t write. I feel distracted, my head feels thick, I feel a disconnect of sorts. And I realize, I'm simply going through the motions.
I woke up one morning a few months ago and said to the Lord, “What do You have for me, what do You want me to say? I don’t want to go through the motions.” And then hit play on Pandora. It's a fun activity the Lord and I do together...I ask a question and then play Pandora. And more often than not, He answers me word for word with a song. Quick side story - one morning before I was about to go on a trip that was a pretty big deal, I asked the Lord for confirmation of my role. I left the room for a second and when I came back, Pandora was playing a song that holds significant meaning to my journey - it was a song the Lord played when He first called me to this wild life of seeing and hearing, You Raise Me Up, by Josh Grogan. So I pay attention when music plays. Anyway, back on track...as I stated, I don’t want to go through the motions. And the song that began playing? The Motions by Matthew West. Seriously. These are some of the lines...I don't wanna go through the motions, I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me, I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, What if I had given everything, Instead of going through the motions? No regrets, not this time, I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind...
Well that seems pretty obvious. I don’t want to just go through the motions. God doesn’t want me to just go through the motions. But the enemy does. And so here’s my raw, honest truth…
I’m scared of getting sucked back into going through the motions. Forgetting what God can do if I allow Him to. Sucked back into living an average life. Or into being so distracted by all the stuff and busy work that I miss what God has for me. It’s something familiar to all of us I think, right? We get excited about something the Lord is doing, we have a fire lit in us, and then life hits us smack in the face and we slowly begin to get sucked back into the worldly cycle of simply going through the motions or filling it with “busy”.
I actually think it’s a way the enemy attacks. Nope, not even think, know. I know. Because it’s happening right now. The enemy is putting a fog over me. I know it, I see it, I pray through it and yet it still sits over my head. I’m disconnected, I’m busy, I’m distracted. My mind is defeating my heart instead of the other way around.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about fog lately. And not writing. Being distracted. And being really frustrated. That is, until this very moment, when sitting with the Lord...two simple words popped up on my phone screen: provide fuel.
It’s not even a question in my mind when that happens that God is trying to get my attention, so I immediately sprang into action. (Well, a slower version, because remember, I’m disconnected and distracted) I keep all of my dreams and visions in my notes on my phone, so whenever I need to search for something, I type in a key word to see what shows up. So the minute I saw those words, I pulled open my notes on my phone and typed in the word "fuel" to see what I had. The first thing that came up was a blog I had started writing months ago and had completely forgotten about. I never finished it and it was about fuel.
So guess what? I’m writing now. I'm learning how God works in my life and those two simple words and a half written blog became my directive from the Lord. Write. Fight through and write. Through it, I will break the fog. So I write. And pray. Lord, lift the fog...provide fuel.
I decided to do what I typically do - research words. It turns out I love meanings of words. I love when God gives a word, I look up the definition and it’s picture perfect to the situation. So I decided to dig in and research the word "fog". I had a strong sense that there was some connection between fog, fuel and fire, I just didn’t know what the connection was. But I knew without a doubt that God was about to show me the link. I’m in a fog after all. He wants to “provide fuel”. I hear the word fire. Believe me, somehow it’s all connected.
When I googled fog and fire, I found that fog can be used to put fire out. What?! Maybe you all knew that, I however, had no clue. I know about fire extinguishers, and I probably should know all about fog, but remember the fog that lives over my head.... Anyway, now I’m really excited and wonder what God is about to show me. One of the first things that popped up on the screen were the words “offensive attack”. Fog is used as an offensive attack?! Stick with me here - I'm going to break down a few definitions that I believe will show the bigger picture and lesson the Lord has. Offensive attack is defined as "a military operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to occupy territory, gain an objective or achieve some larger strategic, operational, or tactical goal." Another term for an offensive often used by the media is 'invasion', or the more general word 'attack'. I could probably stop there. That definition is a picture of what Satan has been doing in my life, and it’s probably safe to say in countless other lives as well. “Seeking through aggressive projection to occupy territory”. Yikes. Placing a distracted fog over someone seems to fall in that category to me...strategy to gain territory.
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) initiated a study onboard the Navy's full-scale fire test ship ex-USS Shadwell to determine the benefits of using an offensive fog attack to extinguish a steady and growing state class A fire threat within the confines of a ship. For the offensive fog-attack method, "the attack team entered the fire compartment approximately 1.2 to 1.8 m (4 to 6 ft), took a crouched position, set the vari-nozzle to the medium fog pattern (60 degrees), and discharged the stream upward at a 45-degree angle into the flaming overhead in front of them. A series of two or three short bursts, two to three seconds in duration, was generally sufficient to achieve fire knockdown."
So not only can fog hinder us in our movement, but it can also put a fire out. Fire knockdown. Pieces are starting to come together and things are starting to make sense. (Maybe it means the fog is lifting a bit?!) Because if I’m not moving forward toward the Lord, but instead going in the same circular motion, continuing down the same same path over and over, the enemy has proven successful at slowing any forward progress. Fog in place, fire knockdown. Enemy success.
Fire has actually been a topic of conversation a lot these days and I’m realizing God has purpose behind it. (And by fire, I'm referring to what the Holy Spirit gives us - an uncontainable passion and drive to have a relationship with our Lord). Suddenly He took me back to a lesson He taught me about six months ago...Our team had a conference in Florida that we had been invited to for a few days. Since I live in Georgia, I decided to make the drive - about six hours. No problem, we do trips double that size all the time. And if I drove, it would allow me to drive home quickly to Georgia on Friday night for my son’s football game and then back to Florida on Saturday. I think maybe I lost my mind momentarily on that one, six hours isn’t a “quickly” kind of trip. But that's another story. Whatever the case, it put me on the road, six hours one way, four different times in a four day period. And let’s just say it allowed a lot of time for the Lord to speak to me and give me some much needed lessons.
On one of the treks back to Florida after the big game, I was at a gas station pumping gas, about two hours outside of Orlando. I had just been listening to a speaker on the radio about fire falling and paused it for a minute to hop out and reload my gas tank for the rest of the drive. As I was finishing, the pump hose suddenly fell off of the pump. Like the whole hose, in it’s entirety, came off the tank and spun around like a wild animal caught by the tail. Needless to say I ended up with gas all over me. Significant amounts running down my legs. I grabbed some paper towels they keep in the window washing bins in an attempt to wipe t off. I'm not sure if you have ever gotten gasoline on your skin. I got the liquid taken care of. The smell? Not going anywhere. So I got back in the car and it promptly reeked of gas. Really, really strong. I wasn’t sure what gas pump flying off protocol was, and there's a chance I might have panicked a bit. I bolted back out onto the highway, taking with me a whole new very strong odor. And a little bit of guilt for not knowing what to do about the pump.
I don’t know why, but I suddenly started crying. I actually think I was pretty emotionally squared up in that season, so I couldn’t figure out where it came from. Anyway, it felt weird to cry about spilt gas. Milk, maybe. But gas? So I began asking the Lord what it meant. Why did I have fuel all over me after listening to a podcast about fire. And why on earth was it making me cry? I was pretty confident it wasn’t the fumes initiating the tears. God help me with what this means. And then just like that, in an instant, the Lord gave it to me. He was giving me the fuel to light the fire. And my first instinct? To wipe it off. Scrub really hard actually. It was uncomfortable after all. It burned a bit. It really stunk. But He wanted me to have it. I heard that loud and clear. I’m giving you he fuel. You have everything you need. I felt sick and kind of wrecked, it's kind of hard to explain. I think it's because I knew I had failed. (Not in my literal act of wiping the gas from my skin, but knowing I had not been utilizing the fuel God has been giving me in my spirit.)
But as God always does, He gave me another chance. Two months later, different city, different gas station, similar story. I spilled gas on myself. Again. This time the little metal piece that keeps the gas pumping, so you don't have to hold the handle, wouldn’t release. So it kept coming. And coming. I'm not super knowledgable in gas pumping it turns out so, again, I panicked and had no clue what to do with the stuck nozzle and an already full tank. As I'm trying to disengage the little hook thing, gas is flowing and at this point I'm flinging, causing gas to sprinkle like rain on my legs and feet. It was probably a pretty funny sight. Funny enough that no one wanted it to stop as badly as I did, so no one offered to help. It felt like forever. In reality, it was probably less than 30 seconds. But it was long enough that when I got in my car...it was a replay of the last gas episode. The difference this time...I didn't scrub the gas off. I remembered the words from the Lord from last time. I’m giving you the fuel. You have everything you need. Lesson learned.
How many times do we try to wipe the uncomfortable off? How often do we not even realize we're walking in distraction or a “fog” that the enemy has stirred up around us? Or forget to realize that we actually have everything we need? For me, more often than I’d like to admit. We have everything we need to light an amazing fire within us. That's it. The Lord has provided the fuel. It's just up to us to recognize when there is an attack and then do something about it. Get into an offensive attack position. And seek the Lord to refuel, a lot. Just think, what if we removed the fog and were all fueled up? Totally lit up in our spirit, our passion, for the Lord. One fire here, one fire there...until soon, all the fires meet up in one great massive bonfire that spreads across our house, our town, our state, our country, our world. That would be something. World changing I would imagine. God knows it, the enemy is certainly aware. I'm beginning to think it's our turn.
So here’s something crazy, but a little fun. Actually a whole lot of fun. (Well, maybe not for the business people who had to take care of it.) While we were in a city recently, under serious spiritual warfare and what was later described as the enemy putting a fog over many of our team, my credit card was compromised. It didn’t surprise me because of all the attacks we were up against. But what did surprise me was what was fraudulently charged to my card...75 fire extinguishers! I laughed out loud, really hard. Seventy-five fire extinguishers. Guess Satan knew what he was up against and wondered if the fog wasn't enough? Well played. Dumb, though. Obvious and a little overconfident, certainly overplaying his hand. I'd say tripping up a bit, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this journey, the enemy isn’t creative. If we can learn his tricks and ways, when he does try to put a fog over us, we can attack with confidence and strength from the Lord and win. Satan loses. Every time. No more going through the motions, no more average living. Instead, seeking the Lord for our fuel, trusting that He's providing it and then lighting the fire within us. I just realized - it's July 1st! I love how God times things out...finishing this blog up on the day that begins a month that represents freedom, independence and fireworks. Free from the fog...lighting things up! Time for fireworks in the sky.
By the way, as I wrote this story out, “You Raise me Up” started playing on Pandora. And a tiny little blue butterfly flew out from underneath my foot. For me personally, it’s confirmation that the Lord is in this. Heart defeating mind. Another Whisper from God.
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! - Luke 12:49