Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). A woman should learn in quietness …(1 Timothy 2:11) – which is a polite way of saying, Be quiet. Sounds like a lot of buzzing bees around here. I had intended to write much earlier, but I was just not able to devote the time that I needed to do this. Not that I haven’t thought about it, I have. Just life, relationships, thinking and praying have been given precedence.
I am not the same person I was on November 26, 2013. Suffering changes you. An affliction causes you to re-evaluate what is most important to you and what is most important to get done on a daily basis. I was in the middle of a series that I was calling FILLED and I would like to explore that a little more. Just this week I have been learning some new things and I am pondering a lot more. What does being filled with the Spirit look like? I realized something about two weeks ago. I was not seeking joy, seeking stillness, seeking Him as much as I could. I had allowed Satan to rob me. It’s as if I had given him the key and I didn’t put up much of a fight. My enemy is only here for one thing – to rob, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Period. I know that, I even pray, pray, pray for this not to happen. And yet, I was not still. I was not filled with joy as I could have been. I was seeking to be filled with the Spirit haphazardly. It’s when I look back, I can realize that I missed a mark. Now, I am not beating myself up about it, but more a time to reflect and change. I was stressed out way too many times. I was grumpy. I let things that were said go deep into my heart when I should have let them roll of my back. Does that make sense? And if there is one thing I have learned in my affliction, is that no matter how much I am in pain, it is helpful for me to be nice. Not demanding, not grumpy. Nice. Am I able to accomplish this? Well…..I’ll let you figure that out. If you were to ask me, I would say, no. It’s hard to be nice when your pain level is a 7 for the third or fourth day in a row. Or, you get a nasty cold on top of it (for the second time in a couple of months) and you can’t have the food you used to always eat, your thumb (and most of your forearm) is killing you because of a bad case of tendonitis. Gripe, gripe, gripe. How does one seek the Spirit, when all you want to do is scream? It’s as if I had been scratched up by a cat, was full of prickles and stings and I wanted quit.
I have much to be thankful for. I have Jesus who loves me. A man who stands by me. Children who love me, but more importantly love Jesus. I have a newly remodeled, redone home (Praise God!!). I have deep relationships with family members as well as friends. I went places that were awesome – Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Yosemite. I worked on a film project with my whole entire family – with my son being the director. It was a good year. And yet…
I am teaching on the book of Acts right now. And in doing my studying I have come to the realization that I have a problem. Me. I have an “I” problem. I was not dying to myself as much as I could.
It is in dying that there is the room for the filling of the Spirit.
If I’m not dead to myself, then there’s just too much of Kerry in there. I can’t make an appointment with an eye doctor for this one. I need to seek JESUS. I need to hunker down and spend time being still in His presence. I need to read His Word, and meditate on it. Allow it to permeate every pore of my being. I have to carve the time out to just be still. And, guess what? That takes time, intentionality and patience. Oh, the dreaded word. Who likes patience, anyway? Not me!!! Being afflicted, and patience takes on a whole new meaning. I operate at about 50 percent of what I used to be. That’s a lot of me that’s not doing what I used to do. So, now others have to pick up the slack. And others do things differently than I do. Fact of life. I wish I could say that I am so graceful in that area and it’s easy-peasy. I’m not that good at lying.
So……how does one get to the other side of all this? Is there another side? I see people all around me who are suffering, and they look pretty content. How do they do it? What’s their daily routine like? What would Jesus have me do? I am reading a book by Chris Tomlin called Holy Roar. I actually got it for my son, Andrew, for Christmas. And, it was an afterthought. I was buying some things on Amazon, and this book popped up. Literally. I was not searching for it, I did not even know Chris Tomlin had written a book. It’s a brand-new book, hot off the press. So, I did what every good mother does with a book given to her son – I asked if I could read it first. Wasn’t that nice of me? Well, it has got me to thinking. I have not been praising my God as much as I should have. I need to praise Him when it’s good and I need to praise Him when it’s hard – even more so. I have got to take my eyes off me and put them squarely on Him. I have to put out my hands and WORSHIP.
He is worthy of all my praise. I have breath because of Him. I have salvation, eternal life with Him, because of Jesus. I have everything because of Him. And yes, I have this affliction because of Him. As I have written about in the past, God is Sovereign. This affliction had to pass through His hand before it came to me. He is Sovereign, that’s His character. And what He does is sovereign. It is planned out, and within that I can choose to follow Him, or I can choose to not follow Him. There are only two choices. In my situation, I can choose to embrace the suffering and seek His will in this, or I can choose to become bitter or angry. I have chosen to embrace the suffering, but let me tell you, it is a constant battle not to be grumpy. It is. Last time I checked, nobody stands in the suffering line at Disneyland. That line is completely empty, while all the other lines have a wait-time. I want to have fun. Who doesn’t? I want to laugh, giggle, joke around and take the perfect selfie. I can do that, but am I truly being real? Am I choosing to honor God in line?
One of the things I learned on our film shoot for The Blind Artist was that in the busyness I still need to
KNOW GOD AND MAKE HIM KNOWN.
The majority of the people on the set were believers, but we were also shooting this out in public, shopping for set-dec (all the props and stuff to make it look real) in and around real people with real hurts. I had to be on my game so much of that time. And there was a lot of time invested in this project. Oh, did I mention the fact that we, as a family, decided that we would completely overhaul more than half the house? We had new furniture delivered two nights before the shoot officially took off. And on the first day of the shoot, we came home to the heating and plumbing guy waiting in our drive-way so he could turn on the new gas insert – and boy were we grateful for that! Just ask Andrew, Adam, Austin and John. We had the fireplace on, hot decaf waiting for them every night after the shoot.
It was cold and rainy during the shoot, and we were outside the first two days (ugh….). It was on this shoot that my daughter called me on something. I had been praying for good weather because we were going to be outside. Lots of equipment, expensive equipment, lots of people (about 30, all told), lots of logistics. AND IT WAS POURING RAIN. On our way to Day 1, I was just asking God out loud why He was letting it rain. All of us had been praying, as well as a ton more. How could this be His will? Well, Rebekah, basically told me to be quiet. She put on our theme song for the film project (Do It Again, by Elevation Worship), and made me listen. It didn’t take long for tears of repentance and submission started to flow. When will I ever learn??? It was cold, and rainy. And we were outside. But do you know what? We had fun. Everyone made the most of it. We got creative. Doing make-up under an umbrella, having our actors change in their cars (right Josh?), and being cold, cold, cold. It was on the third of fourth day that I heard Adam, who was the Director of Photography, say – “Wow. The rain really saved us. We were able to get shots with the consistent lighting that we would not have been able to get, had it not been for the rain.” Ok. That put me in my place. The place in line where I should have been all along. In submission. Choosing to worship and praise God no matter what. I’m such a baby.
So, I guess, all this to say…..in seeking to be filled, in the stillness with God, I need to worship. Life will happen. But my posture needs to be one of worship. Because if I have that right, everything is right.