"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him" Philippians 1:29
"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" Mark 8:34
More than once in recent weeks I've been having dreams where I'm suddenly filled with boldness. I've had dreams where I walk up to complete strangers and start praying and shouting and speaking all kinds of scripture verses and then they get healed or released of some kind of oppression. I've had dreams where I boldly walk up to someone who is walking in sin and I start spouting off scriptures that I didn't even know I knew and eventually that person ends up saying the sinners prayer and accepting Jesus as their Savior.
Boldness. I certainly have been seeing it creep up more and more in my everyday where I didn't know it was before. Sometimes I'll say the oddest things to people, and I know it's something I never would have said before. Which leads me to believe that all these dreams I've been having have been important. Because as I'm practicing all these Bible verses in my sleep, and saying all these prayers and speaking with complete boldness, my spirit is learning from it. It's almost like a practice session, for when it occurs in real life. More than once I've woken from a dream certain that what just happened really happened. I think that God works in mysterious ways, and in my case, He's working on giving me boldness through the use of dreams.
While I can feel the shift and the change inside of me that's been going on for several months, I keep checking myself when I read these verses above because it makes me more than a little nervous. Verses about taking up my cross and following Jesus, and suffering for Him. Sometimes I read these and I feel a fluttering in my stomach, and for a while there I would read these and have second thoughts. Because I am a mom. I have two beautiful children, and if I think about it and worry on it, I can say that following the path of Christ may not be worth it in the end, because what is it going to cost me? Us? Are we going to have major problems with our kids- are we going to have to watch and pray as they make bad decisions in life? Is that going to be worth taking up our cross and following Him?
Except that is not today. Nor is it tomorrow. It's the future, which has not yet been written. Jesus gave us a whole section in Matthew chapter 6 about worrying.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34
The devil very much wants me to worry about my children. He wants that worry to consume me, so that I think about it often and that I stop purposing to follow God's Will, just in case my kids will end up messed up in the end. And while that thought does cross my mind from time to time, more than that, I change my mindset and tell those thoughts of worry to be gone. All it takes is one glimpse of my kids worshiping God and all thoughts of worry are gone, because they both love Jesus, and as a result, they love others around them as well. There is nothing like watching my daughter walk around the sanctuary, gathering up all the kids who are there to dance and worship together. There is nothing like watching my son skip for joy as he hands out high fives to everyone he can when he's caught up in a spirit of worship.
See, if I stop, if I pull back on the reins and say okay to the worry, then not only am I halting my forward progress, but I'm halting the forward progress of my children. Boldness, and the desire to suffer for Christ, keeps reminding me of that when the worry tries to press in. Worry has no place in my heart, which is full of the boldness of Christ, and gets fuller each and every day it seems.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:25:33
When we seek first God, He not only provides our physical needs, but he provides our spiritual needs. You know, it could very well be that as my kids grow, they wander off on their own for a while. It could happen, but worrying about it today won't prevent it for a second. That is a decision that they will have to make for themselves someday. So in the meantime, I can do everything I can to lay a good foundation for when that time comes. So that they can choose wisely. And while I'm laying that foundation for them, I'm also laying a foundation for myself, for if that time comes, then I will know how and when to pray for their return, and I will have hope, faith and assurance that they will not wander for long. My spiritual needs will be met if and when the time comes.
Just as I boldly trust in God to meet our physical needs, and just as we're trusting in him to provide a physical home for our family, we're also trusting Him with our spiritual needs. We want Him to have our way with us, because only He knows the trials that we will face in the future. He knows how to arm us and prepare us, and for me, right now, that seems to be boldness which is being laid on thickly. Boldness and opportunities to love. While I may not understand it now a this time, I trust nonetheless. I will seek first His Kingdom, and as I seek, I will find.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13