This past weekend I experienced a physical sensation of Scripture. Here’s what happened … I had the amazing privilege of speaking for a group of wonderful women in Wisconsin. We’ve been planning this event for several months and God led me to write a new message for the weekend. I have literally prayed and fasted for this event for months. To top it off, I took along three of my closest friends to serve as the worship team and they were extraordinary! I expected to be soaring. Seriously!
However, just before my morning message I was sitting in the pew and I physically felt like all my energy was dripping out my fingers and toes and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I would have freaked out, but at that moment, I was too overcoming with exhaustion to freak. I simply prayed.
The morning talk went extremely well and the women were excited … so was I. On stage, I exhibited all the enthusiasm I could have imagined and then some. The women laughed, cried, and bobbed their heads … a lot!
We enjoyed singing, soups, and more singing before it was my turn to speak again. As I sat in the pew before the women came in the sanctuary to join me, I was thanking God for the morning and asking for His presence in the afternoon session, when … again … I felt all my energy drain out of me. I seriously contemplated laying down on the pew, but thought better of it. As the sensation overtook me, I remember saying, “Lord, I don’t think I can do this. Do you suppose they’d be satisfied with one talk? I have nothing in me and I’m supposed to be teaching about holy enthusiasm! This is going to have to be all You!”
Are you laughing about now? Yep, slow learner on this end. Of course, that’s what God was doing. He was causing me to do a little kenosis (Greek)(pouring out or self-emptying). Ah, where there is less of me, there is more of Him. When I’m not tempted to be self-sufficient, He can be all-sufficient.
Eugene Peterson wrote, “Jesus Christ was the complete man in whom God completely dwelled. If any man has ever been tempted to be self-sufficient, it was Jesus. If any man has ever been tempted to be proud, it was Jesus. If any man has ever been tempted to use this powers for his own self-interest, it was Jesus. How did he safeguard himself against these temptations?
“He poured himself out. He emptied himself. Even though he could have held on to his high position of equality with God, which meant superiority overall of humankind, he didn’t do it. Instead, he gave it all up. He could have ruled overall, but instead, he became a servant of all.
“Our Lord poured himself out in obedience and suffering and death. Paul poured himself out in sacrifice and service. timothy poured himself out in compassionate help. Epaphroditus poured himself out in Christian ministry. the Philippians poured themselves out in praise and giving.
“And we are to pour ourselves out, too.”
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:6-7
This past weekend I believe God let me physically experience what it feels like to be poured out. In what way have you done that? How have you set aside the privileges of your own life and instead lived a life dedicated to humbly serving others … humbly serving Him?
It’s interesting how sometimes we are filled up and sometimes we are poured out, but always we can praise God for it. It was a privilege to serve alongside you last weekend. Thanks for the invitation.
I remember a similar experience will singing the worship chorus “I Give You My Heart” from Hillsongs. This overwhelming awareness and understanding that in giving my heart to the Lord, I may be hurt by others that He brings into my life. Keeping in my mind that my life is His to use as He sees fit had a broader perspective.
It wasn’t long after that revelation that the Lord took me through a season in a relationship, that while God-ordained, required much of me and gave little in return.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Thanks, Vicki, for the reminder that God’s promise is: “I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” (2 Cor. 12:9, L.B.) His grace is sufficient! (hmmm….sounds like a retreat I once went to…)
Like Debbie in the previous post, I am in a season of several relationships that require much of me with seemingly little in return–and yet, I don’t sense that I’ve been given permission to bow out. I am tired, weary to the core, and discouraged. I needed this reminder to lean into His grace and tap into His power which is always available for me–rather than trying to somehow be the hero and think that I can do the work that only He can do. (“How’s that working for ya?”)
I’m so glad I decided to check in on your blog today- the Lord knew this was exactly what I needed to hear as I have been lamenting to him over my first out of state speaking engagement– whether or not they will be blessed by what I have to share with them etc– constantly focusing on HIM and not on Me- this is the key to continuing forward!
I’m so glad God led you back here. How was your speaking event?