Left Turns and Posture Repositions
A few years back, while out on my morning run, I sensed the Father inviting me to turn left. I was training for a half marathon and my run was only meant to be a five miler. Nearing the end of my 4th mile, I began to feel the nudge of Holy Spirit. In my head I reasoned with Him becuase turning left didn't make sense. It wasn't part of my plan. Turning left required me to readjust my pace and redirect my thoughts mentally about when and how I would finish. I was forced to let go of my expectations and embrace the unknown of the uphill climb. It was a posture reposition to get to the top of that left turn hill.
I had no idea how my left turn on that morning run would soon become a foundational piece in my future formation. But here I am now, years later, still learning and growing from my experience from turning left and following Jesus off the beaten path.
You see, what I did physically on my run that morning, the Father asked me to do spiritually with my life about a year later. Walking away from my job was a left turn I never saw coming. Spending two years in ministry on a side street in East Hamilton with the homeless and the broken, hurting people of the inner city wasn't even on my radar. Unpaid, untitled, unequipped, these were not the ministry circumstances I was accustomed to working with.
Still East Avenue provided me with a new understand of my Father and how much He longs to partner with me in love and life. From this place I have been able to reposture my heart to better meet His presence and recentwr myself in His perfect love. Centered the world around me looks and feels very different than it ever has before.
On my side street I learned three valuable paradigms...
1. God is always present and always working
God is not only God of the mountain tops. He is God over all things, in all things and available for all things. He doesn't need me continually striving for the moutaintop, because He also dwells in the mundane. Neither is more important and both are invaluable to the Kingdom.
As I've readjusted my posture to be a posture expecting God everyehwere, I've become a noticer. Discovering where He is already working gives me the opportunity to join Him in what He is already doing. I don't have to create things to find Him, I simply get to find Him through what He has already created.
During my time on the streets in a forgotten, hopeless part of town, I found the presence of God at work in ways I never knew possible. It wasn't loud or flashy, but it was still pure and perfect. Joining with Him made the mundane feel like the mountains.
2. God actually likes me
The second valuable paradigm I embraced is the truth that my Father is not showing up to the table with a checklist ready to negotiate what I deserve from His Kingdom. He doesn't need me to do better, try harder or figure more things out. He simply longs for me to be present. He's prepared a table for me and it's not based at all upon anything I already am or need to become. He likes me. The God of heaven likes me and He wants to be with me. Right now, exactly how I am.
Now the cool part is, as I come and spend time around the table with Him, I will change, take shape, and grow, becuase the natural by product of spending time with Jesus is that we begin to refelct Jesus. But I am not changing because He needs me to change. I'm changing because He's inspired me to change.
My goodness does not lead to His kindness. His kindness leads to my goodness. Always. And my posture in this place is a posture allowing myself to be loved, completely, right now, reguardless of how I feel and what I've done.
3. God is committed to meeting me in reality
The final paradigm I learned on those side streets in East Hamilton was how committed God was to meeting me in my reality. I didn't want to be where I was. At this point I didn't ask to turn left, it wasn't even on my radar. It felt harsh and unnecessary. I felt left out, lonely and rejected. But God stood in my place of rejection and He patiently waited for me to be real with my disappointment. We cannot deal with our disappointments and live in denial of them at the same time. Dealing with them will involve getting our hands dirty. And a little dirt doesn’t scare Him.
He is not the God of 'once I get here, ' or 'when I finally do that.' He is the God of right now. And right there in my unwanted reality He met me, opened my eyes to the truth of His grace of His voice and the proclamations of His promises. I know Him differently because I met Him in my realtiy instead of searching for Him in my fantisies.
My posture in this placed turned from a posture of pushing forward to a posture of being present. There are things to do and places to see, but before all of that there is a person I'm called to be and from the place of being I will truly learn how to live freely and lightly.
I don't know if God has a left turn prepared for you anytime in the near future, but I do know if He does, you are going to want to take it. We don't look back after a mighty move of God and wish we hadn't been a part of it. He doesn't work deeply within us only to leave us with barren trees. The fruit produced by turning left and following Jesus off the beaten path is life changing and life sustationing. Turning left is the way to abundance.
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