Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I have decided

My junior year of college, my New Year's resolution was to talk about others less. That same semester I began interning for US Weekly magazine, a publication based entirely upon celebrity gossip.

Whether that was an example of irony, a test of faith, or both, I don't know. But I do know that making and keeping New Year's resolutions can be really, really hard.

Which is why this year, I spent a few extra days thinking about the kind of commitment I wanted to make. My first thought was this:

I will be more selfless. 

That sounded great—noble, actually—until I realized that even the word "selfless" does not omit "self." So I revised my resolution:

I will be less.

But then I realized that my resolution to "be less" still began with me. "I" will do this. "I" will be that. So finally, I landed on this:

He will become greater.

The fact that it took three attempts to seat the Lord before myself is proof that "He will become greater" is a necessary and vital resolution. You see, I am tired of thinking this life is about me.

I am tired of accumulating experiences, of treasuring affirmation, of consuming compliments.

I am tired of forgetting to be overwhelmingly grateful for the food on my table, the warmth of my bed, the love of my family.

I am tired of thinking constantly about how to elevate myself, gain exposure, showcase my talents.

I am tired of meeting someone new and forgetting their name because I was too focused on saying my own.

I am tired of seeking comfort, tired of wondering how far His provision will extend, tired of looking back and wondering, tired of looking ahead and fearing.

I am tired of watching as we, the church, fail to identify sin as sin under the pretense of "accepting others."

I am tired of watching the enemy siphon away joy, and hope, and life from believers and non-believers alike. 

I'm tired of sitting in church and seeking a feeling, tired of closing my eyes to the fact the Lord called all believers, even me, even us, to leave everything to follow Him.

I am tired of censoring myself, wondering if I'll lose or offend friends, or readers, or fans, or whatever, by "talking about Jesus too much."

I am tired of measuring success by the standards of the world.

I am tired of comparing my walk, my spirituality, my experience with God against the walk, spirituality, and experience of other believers.

I am tired of I.

After all, I cannot fix, manage, or carry the weight of any of these things. But He can. So I have decided to follow Jesus. Not for this day, not for this year. Forever.

. . .

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders / Let me walk upon the waters / Wherever You would call me — "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong

I love to sing the words to this song. They stir me up. They make me feel alive. These words are what I long for.

At this moment, however, I'd say that my trust extends about as far from my body as a hula hoop. Yet I celebrate, because for me that is huge, astounding growth from where I've been in the past.

In March of last year, I quit my full-time job as a society columnist and staff writer for People Newspapers, which is owned by D Magazine. That job was hard, but let me tell you, it sounded really glamorous when I told people about it. People were impressed by the places I was going and the people I was meeting. And to be honest, I loved that.

When I quit, people wanted to know why. Most times I said, "Because I'm getting married and I need time to plan, plus we might be moving to North Carolina."

I don't know why I settled for saying that. I mean it was true, but it wasn't the whole story. The rest of the story was that God had called me to leave that job. On a plane back from North Carolina, He lovingly, gently asked me to use my words and my writing and my time to say things that matter. To talk about Him. To bring life. To proclaim the freedom I've found in Him. To say goodbye to fluff, to status, to position, and to wholeheartedly seek to bring Him glory.

I have not done this perfectly. Not even close. I have not been spared from moments of pain, or doubt, or human weakness. But I have witnessed His constant flow of provision, and as He has become greater in my life, my hula hoop of trust has finally started to expand.

Here is a testimony: Since quitting my full-time job, I have never been without a freelance project. Never. I have not sought these projects out—the Lord has provided them, and He has done so more abundantly than I could have asked or imagined. Not because I am special or talented. Because that is who He is.

Because that's who He is, I know that one day my trust will be the size of a field, allowing me to lie down in the Lord's promised green pastures without fearing I'll be attacked while resting. One day my trust will be the size of a country, allowing me to move and go and see and find that I am "home," no matter what state I'm in. One day my trust will be the size of the world, equipping me to love as He has loved me without wondering what I'll get in return, or who will notice or praise my efforts. One day, when both the pain and the pleasure of this life have ended; when feelings of sadness and joy have faded away; when the exhilaration of adventure and the light and momentary struggles of this world are behind me; when I'm standing at the feet of Jesus, my trust will finally, finally be without borders. Limitless and infinite in the presence of my Limitless and Infinite Savior.
 

Until then,

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back. 
S. Sundar Singh 

. . .

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:15

4 comments:

  1. I love coming to read your blog Karley! God has gifted you to speak and teach others and He is using you to bless those who encounter your writings. Thank you for being obedient to His calling on your life! God bless you!

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    1. So blessed by your encouragement, as I always am. And for the record, I am inspired by the way you have dedicated your talent and the work of your hands to Him, too! Thank you for reading :)

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  2. Terrific "resolution", Karley. You are an amazing young woman, I wonder who your parents are ..... actually your daddy was best friends with our son, Justin Wilson, so I was just kidding about who your parents are :)

    BLESSINGS on you and your husband in 2014 and all the years to come!
    Iris Wilson

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    1. Thank you so very much! I am beyond blessed to have amazing parents who have taught me and loved me and pointed me to Jesus my whole life. :)

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