Life before the Breakthrough

I love breakthroughs.
Something’s been very hard for me and then – suddenly – I’ve got breakthrough! What was once such a burden or challenge is not so anymore.

We often get to hear about people’s breakthroughs:

I was chronically ill but praise God, I’m healed now!

We were unable to have children, and now we have three by the grace of God!

I was depressed and suicidal for years but finally God delivered me!

I had no money for food and bills and was about to be evicted. I cried out to God and He came through.

Hearing about other’s breakthroughs are great!
God gets the glory and we are encouraged by hearing that breakthroughs do indeed exist. When it’s happened to someone else I know it can happen to me too!

Still, I miss hearing from people before they’ve got their breakthrough.
To learn how to get breakthrough, I need to know the way there. And I need to know that there’s life before the breakthrough.
How do I go on with life before I’ve had my breakthrough?
What if it takes years before I’m there?!?

I think what happens before the breakthrough is just as important – if not more – as during and after.

It’s easy to think I’ll be a happier person when I’ve had my breakthrough. It’s easy to praise God when I realize He has healed or delivered me!

But I want to know that it’s possible to be happy despite what I’m lacking in some area of my life.
I want to know how to praise Him in the storm.

I know we all love to hear about life after the breakthrough.

I love breakthroughs and have my own personal experiences which I can share with others.

Still, there are breakthroughs I’m contending for right now, and I’m learning how to live victoriously in the process, which I dare say is a breakthrough in itself 😉

I’m telling you, there’s life before the breakthrough as well!

It can be gloriously messy and challenging, but oh, so full of life and oh, so rewarding.

Advertisements

His Love Qualifies Me

His (God’s) love qualifies me!

This is by no means some expression I came up with, but I’ve thought about it a great deal lately.

Of course, this is something I need to be reminded of and meditate upon in all seasons, but as I’ve entered a new season with new challenges, I’ve needed to make sure I live by this standard.

His love qualifies me.

Or else I’ll live by other standards such as:

Other people’s approval of me qualifies me

People’s praise of me qualifies me

When I’m succeeding at everything I do, I’m qualified.

Some days these standards will work excellently for me!
But most days they won’t. Not even close.

More often than not there will be incidents at work or in my private life screaming in my face:

You’re not good enough! You’re not meeting the standards.

The truth is:
Not everyone will approve of me and what I do

Not everyone will praise me and like what I do

Not everything I do will succeed (or seem to do so)

Trying to live by these standards is never a good idea. Even when they seem to work for me one day they will come back and slap me in the face the next.

When I’m praised by others and make that my mark of qualification I need to be praised more and more – so that I will keep knowing that I’m qualified.

When I succeed at something I would want to keep succeeding – nothing wrong with that! – but if I make this my mark of qualification – what happens when I don’t succeed??

I’m not saying no to succeeding, to be encouraged and approved by others. It’s pivotal for me and all of us to experience this at some level.

I have to admit that:
I love to feel approved and praised
I love to feel that I’ve succeeded at something

But there’s only one thing which qualifies me:
His love

Phew.

Peace in the storm

In my last posting I talked about getting back things which have been stolen or lost – in this case a bike and a journal. Even though God truly encountered me through these incidents, these items are pretty minor losses compared to many other things, be it your health or more intangible things, such as relationships or your hope and joy.

I believe God has a way of speaking to and through us even before we know it’s Him. When my parents were searching for a name for their newborn daughter they decided upon Eirin (Erin), simply because they liked the name and it was modern. They had no idea where the name originated from until I was christened and received a children’s book in which the story’s protagonist had my name.

As it turns out, my name means Peace, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. All throughout my life I’ve been told by numerous people that I carry and bring a lot of peace. I will go somewhere and shift the atmosphere, not because of something I do but because I bring myself. And I am Peaceful.

Even so, I haven’t always felt peaceful. So many times I’ve had people tell me how much peace emanates from me, and in my mind I’ve wondered what they’re talking about:

Peace?!
I don’t feel peaceful at all! My inside is in turmoil!”

For a long time I would disregard what people told me because it didn’t line up with what I was experiencing on the inside..

But eventually I decided to believe the truth I couldn’t see or feel most of the time instead of the lie that I felt exposed to all the time.

I believe God created me to be in His peace and to shift atmospheres by carrying and bringing His peace, and the enemy has worked hard to take my gift of peace away from me.
Now, this is something which is really valuable and that he wants to steal – not just from me, but from everybody.

We are, however, all meant to have the peace of God.

Just have a look at Philippians 4:7:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

If you find your sense of joy, peace or hope missing in your life, I bet you someone’s stealing from you – stealing from you the joy and peace that is rightfully yours:

for the kingdom of God is (not eating and drinking, but) righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
If your joy and peace have been taken away from you – it’s time you claim your joy and peace back!

I want my joy back!”
“I want my peace back!”

No one’s called to live a life filled with depression, fear and unrest.
– including you!
You will probably experience several hardships in life – but even in them you can have the peace and joy of God!

I know..
unless you’ve experienced this for yourself it sounds impossible that one can have peace in any situation.

I haven’t been in every storm there is – but I’ve been in enough storms to know that it is possible to have peace that my logic cannot comprehend.

The same goes for joy. I have been in numerous situations where I know that I “should” feel depressed, stressed and even fearful. And still, I’ve felt overwhelming peace and joy.

I release an increase of God’s joy and peace over your life – right now!

The ability to rejoice in the midst of adversity
And dismantle the enemy’s schemes with your laughter
To sleep soundly through any storm
And still the storms in the lives of others.

I Want My Bike Back!

Don’t you hate it when you lose something?

You’ve looked everywhere and tried everything but it’s gone. And of course it’s some item you really loved or needed.. Always! Sometimes, even years later you remember that which was lost and wish you could get it back.

Some years back I bought a new bike and just a few weeks later a friend and I took a ride down to one of the local coffee shops one evening to study together. Halfway there we realized we had forgotten to bring our bike locks, but since we were already on our way we decided to chance it. Outside the shop we found an old bike lock and put it around our bikes to make them appear locked. Then we went inside. A couple of hours later it was time to go home, but one bike was gone – mine – the new one, of course. After asking around if anyone had seen anything we decided we just had to head home as it was already past 10 pm. But first my friend suggested we go back to where the bikes had been parked and declare the bike back!
And so we did.

I want my bike back!” I say
Tonight!” my friend says
And let the thief be convicted and return the bike himself” she adds

Then off we go.
We came to a junction and were about to go left just as we had done before. This time I suggested we’d keep going straight. A minute later a guy crosses the street we’re on. His bike looks very cute and purple.

I look at my friend and say:
That’s my bike!”
Then we both look at each other and say:
Now what are we gonna do?

We know it’s my bike right in front of us but we’re in a deserted, dark street at 10.30 at night. We can’t see the guy clearly and he can easily get away from us.

Well, we never had to do anything. We look at the guy. He looks at us. After crossing the street and coming to a gravel lot on our right, he simply parks the bike and walks off hurriedly. As lame as it sounds all I could think of shouting out to him was
Thank you!

So I got my bike back. It was totally undeserved of course. In this case, it was partly my own fault that this even happened!
Even so, God gave me my bike back!

And this story marks the beginning for me in claiming back that which has been lost or stolen in my life or in the lives of others.

We often think of lost or stolen things being physical objects, such as a bike, car or money, but it may as well be things such as:

Confidence
Innocence
Our voice
Health
Relationships
Joy
Peace
Reputation
Trust

Etc.

Either way, it is clear that it is not God’s will for us to have these things stolen or lost from us.

In John 10:10 Jesus says:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The devil is a thief and tries to take whatever he can from us. But typically, a thief will try to get his hands on the things that are deemed most valuable. Whatever has been lost or stolen from you, do not dismiss it as a small, unimportant thing! If it’s worth stealing it has value.

If you feel grief over something, for instance feeling as if your childhood was taken from you or a relationship with someone, you can claim it back!

“It’s too late now” you might say,
But I say God is a God of miracles and He can redeem anything!
If it seems a lost case just imagine how much greater the redemption will have to be!

Another story:
Last year I brought a journal with me to a church service, but before the night was over I knew that it was missing. So I looked all over the place. Then the following week I looked through the church’s Lost and Found. And if you ever need a Bible (or Five different translations), you should go there and ask…
But my journal was not there. I kept hoping that someone would call me and say they had it, since I always put my name and phone number on the cover page. Not so. Then I searched through my things at home even though I knew deep down that I had left it at church.
After a few weeks I realized that by now the journal was probably in the trash somewhere as it should have shown up by now. No one would have any interest in taking my personal journal.

But as I had lost several things during that season and was pretty fed up with it, I wrote down a list of the things I needed redeemed or turned back to me. It was a quite long list.

One line said:
“I want my journal back!”

I was not ok anymore with losing things or having things stolen from me. NOT OK!

A whole year went by and no journal. Then I received an e-mail from the security team at church:
We have your journal. How can we help get it back to you?”

To this day I don’t know where that journal was for an entire year, but I do know that God redeemed it for me.

Know that whatever your list looks like, God can and will redeem everything! It might not turn out the way you expected though. It could be better!

We have it all right here

I want to address something I’ve seen time and time again which bothers me. Since I’m not sure exactly what to call this phenomenon I’ll simply give some examples. I’m pretty sure you will recognize this kind of situation – unfortunately..

From time to time any given church community is  likely to have guests – perhaps an itinerary speaker or a team of people coming by to teach, encourage and bless the church and surrounding community. This is great! I’ve been on the receiving end many times and have been thoroughly blessed by this.

I’ve been a part of numerous ministry teams and have been perhaps even more blessed by that!

I love the exchange taking place between different churches, cities and nations. I am super excited every time we ( the church(es)) have guests or whenever I get to go and bless another church.

Speakers and ministry teams have a lot to offer the church and surrounding community. No doubt about it!

What bothers me is what usually happens when the guest(s) are leaving.

“Now what will we do until they come back?!” Sigh.

“We need to make sure they come back as soon as possible!”

“They had such an amazing gifting -what a blessing!”

“Oh, if only we had someone like them here..”

I’m serious – I’ve encountered this and more both at home and other places I’ve been. And it bothers me greatly. There’s this mentality of

“There’s not enough to go around, and what exists does not reside here..!”

I’m telling you, there is enough of all we need – ’cause God is here and we are here! God is the same everywhere. And God has the same power in you as in me. It may LOOK different, but whatever YOU need in YOUR life and to impact and love YOUR community, God knows about it and can give you according to YOUR needs.

Our churches and communities are filled with resources and blessings but too often we fail to recognize just how much we have. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.

As much as I love guest speakers and teams and what they bring with them, I believe the ultimate purpose of this must be that the local church becomes so activated and equipped that they won’t need speakers or teams to come every now and then anymore. Instead, they’ll keep themselves activated and equipped and will send out teams themselves in order to bless and activate others!

“What will we do until they get back?!”

Practice what we’ve been taught!

Then, next time a team comes around, they can give God praise for what has come of their teaching and then teach on a deeper level instead of repeating the same thing.

“We need to make sure they come back as soon as possible!”

I love having guests so I personally can’t wait to have them back. But if the reason we need them back is that we can’t get anything done on our  own, or we need them to get any kind of breakthrough, something’s off.

Instead, believe that you and your church have everything it takes and believe for breakthroughs in all seasons. Be excited for the testimonies you will have to share next time the team come around!

“They had such an amazing gifting – what a blessing!”

Yes, they do, but so do we! If there’s something we need that we’re missing in our local church, I believe it’s there; we just haven’t realized it yet  ..!

The difference between a ministry team and us is not the gifting or the lack thereof. If anything,  it is that they’re stepping out and therefore are growing in their gifting. So can we.

“Oh, if only we had someone like them here..”

Well, we do – it’s all of us! We may think speakers and ministry teams are of a different kind than us and carry a special anointing. It sure does feel as if they have something we don’t. Well, I’m telling you, I’ve been on both sides and we are all pretty much the same.

We can all minister greatly to each other – we all have that potential.

So far, I’ve talked about how we can find just as much resources and blessings in our local church community as anywhere else, if only we bother to search for it.

There is however one thing that I find is unique to the church in which we’re a part of and that any speaker or team cannot give us:

Community.

The guests will eventually leave and although  memories and teachings will be remembered and maybe even letters will be exchanged, they cannot stay around and provide us this one thing.

Fortunately, we can.

 

 

 

 

 

Promotion

Recently I found myself at work cleaning toilets, which is not an unfamiliar task for me at all. In fact, I’ve done it so much growing up, getting paid to do it has been a huge upgrade!

While cleaning I was thinking somewhere along the lines of:
I feel ready to move on from this to something else” (i.e. get promoted)

And I felt God saying to me right away:
You already got promoted!

And I felt so blessed.
Cleaning toilets is an honor.
Feeling God’s pleasure while at it is bliss.

Promotions in the Kingdom look different from what we usually think of. They may look lowly to others. Even nasty. And they’re costly.

And whether I move on to something “nicer” doesn’t really matter. I know I have been promoted already. There’s no reason to strive.

I am “in” the promotion!
And if I end up cleaning toilets all my life, I will do it, confident that God is pleased with me and has given me a great honor.