Yesterday was a day where I was outward focused. I woke up with the intention of going to the prayer room at 5:00 a.m. and ended up going back to sleep. I woke up again around 5:45 a.m. and decided to get up and go to Crossfit, a workout program that someone teaches on campus. It was challenging, but I am so glad that I did it. By the time I finished working out, it was 6:45 a.m. and I ate breakfast, showered, and got ready for the day. By the time I was able to have "quiet time", it was already 7:45 a.m. and worship and class began at 8:00 a.m. I am not just throwing these times out there so you have an idea of what time I wake up and what my schedule looks like. I am informing you that this left me with only 15 minutes of designated "quiet time" with God and it made me feel anxious. I prefer elongated quiet times with God where I can read my Bible, journal, pray, and listen to worship music. God is growing me in this area and teaching me that even if I don't get a long amount of quiet time, He is still with me throughout the day and isn't displeased with me. It is so important for me to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit and not let lack of a designated quiet time or the length of my quiet time with God discourage me. After all, God is not limited to my quiet time anyways and it is a privilege to even have it. I think I ended up resting in God's presence as I prepared for the day and listened to one worship song while laying in my bed. So often I want to do something and God wants me to do nothing. :) I am learning how to be still and cease striving.
This week is corporate week in YWAM which means all the dts's meet in Ohana Court for daily worship and teaching. This week we are sitting with our outreach teams getting inspired and empowered for our journey to make God known in 2 1/2 weeks throughout Europe. I enjoyed worship but wasn't "feeling engaged" as much today. (Yup, believe it or not, that actually does happen to me. lol) I was alert and ready to hear from the speaker, though. Today he talked about Hearing the Voice of God and the Prophetic Ministry. It's amazing to me how many times I've heard lots of teaching on this subject from different people, yet I am still learning so much. We activated the teaching by praying within our teams. We did the "4 R's", which are 1. Repent of sin 2. Receive God's forgiveness 3. Rebuke the enemy 4. Respond with truth The focus of our prayers was our Identity in Christ. It was so freeing to declare who we are in Christ and believe what we were saying that God says about us. After this we prayed in pairs and asked God to give us His heart and words for our partner. We then shared any encouragement, words, and pictures God gave us for the person we prayed for. *Note: Every time we do this, we step out in faith and overcome fear. It never gets easier. It requires faith and trust in God. The words and picture God gave me for my friend resonated with her. Praise the Lord! Then she did the same thing for me and everything she said and prayed over was right on target with how I was feeling and what I needed to hear from God to encourage me.
Our speaker challenged us to do this for somebody that we didn't know. During the prayer room time from 1-3pm today, I was standing upstairs looking down on the crowd of people. I asked God to highlight someone for me and give me a word for them. I wanted to activate the gift of faith He's given me and test my faith. I looked around for a bit and one girl stood out to me. I asked God what He wanted to say to her and He simply said to tell her that He is well pleased with her. That's it. Nothing more. It sounded too simple to me, but it is all I heard God say. (Sometimes we don't step out because we don't think what God is speaking to us for that person is enough or extravagant) The prayer room was extra crowded today because another dts was in there that normally isn't and the Fire & Fragrance January Quarter had returned from Outreach. And, of course, the girl God highlighted to me, was at the very front of the room. So, I literally had to make my way to the front through a maze of people, simply to be obedient to God. *Obedience requires us to take risks. To be honest, I was tempted not to give her the word God gave me for her because of the obstacle it took in reaching her. But, I went for it, and God honored that. I told her basically what I stated above, asked her for her name and if I could pray for her and she greatly accepted the offer. Afterwards, she said thank you and affirmed to me that the words and prayers I spoke over her were accurate. She felt encouraged and that I covered everything. Basically, I took a risk of faith and it was successful. Praise God! That doesn't always happen, which is why I think we don't always choose to take a risk or be obedient to what God is asking us to do. (This is another example of how I was outward focused today) Because I invited God to speak to me on behalf of someone else, and I was willing, He blessed me by giving me His heart for her and faith to step out in obedience.
After this, I felt prompted by the Spirit to pray for one of my roommates and good friend. I found her and asked if I could pray for her. I knew that God wanted to use me to call out her identity in Christ. I did this and prayed over her as well and she expressed that she felt lighter after I prayed. Praise God! (Again, I chose to be outward focused.) And in blessing others with prayers and words from God, I was blessed in return. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Before I went to the prayer room at the designated time of 1:00 p.m. , I felt that I needed to go sooner. So, I had a quick snack bar as my lunch and headed to the prayer room. I spent time writing down my identity in Christ in my journal. Then I spent time with God, writing down what He says about me (my identity). Today I needed to go early and write down the words I had been given earlier in the morning. *You see, when we are outward focused, we still need to be sensitive to the Spirit's promptings and we also need time to "refuel" or "fill back up". Today I knew going to the prayer room before our designated time was essential for me because it was all I could think about and I felt as though I needed to process everything I had just learned. This was inward focused, but it kept me connected to the vine and brought me refreshment.
As the night went on, I was sort of restless and unsure about what to do with my time in the evening. Tuesdays are our free nights, so I was hoping to spend some time catching up on our Weekly Bible Readings and start a new book I've been wanting to read for a while. But, that wasn't what God had planned for me. I could have chosen to spend the evening with God, but I didn't. Instead, I chose to take a shower and get ready to get mud pie with my roommates. This plan failed as some of our roommates couldn't go and decided not to. So, instead three of us went to get frozen yogurt. The most expensive and largest amount of frozen yogurt I've ever had in my life. But it was fun and I laughed a lot :) Before frozen yogurt, a friend of mine asked if we could have skype date. I knew this friend was going through some difficult times and she has been there fore me countless times. It was my turn to return the favor. So, I chose to give up time with Jesus yet again and be outward focused. And, as a result, I was blessed yet again. Because God is good and He loves us so much. *The Lord knows that I value quality and quantity (let's be honest, I like a lot of Jesus time) time with Him, so He gives it to me daily. (Quality time must be my love language) Last night it was at the end of the night. I went to the prayer room from about 9-11pm and normally I am getting ready to go to bed or asleep at that time. Anyways, friends are very important to me, so I chose to be outward focused and use my time to skype and be there for a friend. I was able to listen to her, encourage her, and pray for her. And again, I felt filled because I was able to bless her.
I encourage you live a life that is outward focused. Look for opportunities to encourage and bless those around you. You won't be disappointed. You will be blessed.
But remember, it is essential to stay sensitive to God's voice and promptings so that you also remain inward focused to refuel whenever you need it. Often times I pray or read my Bible in the morning so that I am filled before the day begins with others, but this doesn't always happen as it didn't yesterday. I have to admit, at 11pm, I was very tired and felt overwhelmed that I was unable to accomplish what I wanted to do with God in the prayer room. So, I woke up early this morning and spent more time with God. This is something I'm growing in through- understanding that there is always a list of things I can be doing and they are all good things, but it is impossible to accomplish all of them in one day and it can be overwhelming when I feel as though I am not doing any of them. God is showing me His grace and that I don't need to strive or worry, but be outward focused and remain connected to the vine and He will give me the time I desire to do these things I enjoy and desire to do. *Also note: God doesn't care how much time I spend with Him. He values our time with Him and loves it, but He doesn't love us any less or more depending on how muc "quality time" we spend with Him. He is omnipresent and always with us. So, ultimately He wants to be a part of our every day lives even in the smallest things. As a believer though, in order to get to know God and become His friend as I would any other friend, it requires time. I am just learning that this time might be and look different daily. And regardless of it, God is still always with me and speaking to me. My job is to lissten and be obedient.