Jen is a passionate woman that constantly inspires my relationship with God to go to the next level of intimacy!!!! The stories that I hear from her and the insight that I read all the time is amazing. So to have her write again for the blog is so exciting.
Jen thank you for being such an encouragment to me. You have inspired me in so many areas of my life and helped at many moments to refocus on what is right. Thank you thank you thank you. Blessings as you continue to live out an extravagent life of worship!!!
Why Am I Hanging On So Tightly To Stuff?
By Jen Choong
I love how God speaks to us through normal happenings in life. It’s a relief that we don’t have to have an extraordinary set of circumstances in our life for God to speak to us in profound ways. I love how Holy Spirit is always dialoging with us, teaching us, mentoring us, growing us as we bumper-car our way through life. Here’s an example of how He spoke to me recently.
Probably back in March I wore a jacket/shirt to church that I hadn’t worn in a while. Likely it had been a couple of years since I’d worn it. I really loved it when I bought it. To me it symbolized being able to dress funky after having my first baby. I used to love fashion and dressed with a pretty artistic flair, but after having my 10 pound 10 ounce baby girl (and then my almost 10 pound boy 5 years later), things were never the same in my mid-riff. So I sort of pined away at the loss of my freedom to dress the way I felt I wanted to, not having an abdominal area that matched the rest of my size elsewhere. Anyway, even though I didn’t wear this particular jacket much anymore, I still really loved it. The jacket seemed to mean something to me on some level that I didn’t understand. (Yes, I know that sounds a bit like – GET THERAPY JEN!)
So back in March I decided to wear this jacket. It was really beautiful. It was a one of a kind thing – honestly, I never wore it without people commenting on it. I didn’t wear it for the comments, I just really enjoyed the artistic nature of the design. So my friend that was sitting beside me said, “Wow, Jen, do I ever love your jacket!” And without thinking I answered, “Would you like it? Why don’t you try it on and if it fits, you can keep it.”
Immediately I knew where this was going. I knew I would have to give it away. I am a woman of my word, and my friend, being a very generous giver and receiver would probably try it on, it would fit her better than it fit me, and she would keep it. Of course. Because I had honestly offered it to her. During the whole service I thought over the possibilities. She might forget to try it on. It might not fit. She might not like it once she tried it on. Maybe the colour wouldn’t look right on her, and she’d say, thanks, but no thanks.
I really began to examine my motives of how it could be so difficult for me to give away a jacket. I asked the Lord what it was in me that clung to things so tightly. He was pretty free with gently telling me that He was cleansing me of letting things define me, and that after growing up in a family that fell apart in my mid teens, there were still some wounds that needed healing. Issues of loss were still needing some attention – and He was wooing me into knowing that He is my provision and definition. I don’t need things to do that – He is all of that to me.
Well, yes, the jacket. She tried it on after the service, and it wasn’t the right fit, so she said thanks, but no thanks. Phew. I sighed my relief, and smiled and said, “Oh, that’s too bad.” I felt that I should confess my thoughts to my friend, but she needed to head off right away. So I told myself I would confess my heart to her later (and I did).
I had the sense that the Lord wasn’t done with the jacket yet. Which meant I wasn’t done with it either! So skip ahead to June, to the annual Women’s Conference at our church, Divine Women. The speaker challenged each of us to commit to going home and choosing something that we could be generous with, something significant that we had at home that we would give away the next day. Not junk that we didn’t want, but something sacrificial. We were exploring the theme of “Live Generously”, and we were going to practice living generously, by giving away something that we liked from our own personal possessions. IMMEDIATELY I thought of this jacket, and I thought, “Oh no Lord, I don’t think you’re really asking me to give this thing away, I think back in March it was just a test, to see if I would be generous and give away something that was dear.” I felt I had passed the test back in March, because I had been “willing” to give it away.
The Lord reminded me of how much of a struggle it was to give it away, and that there was still unfinished business. Right. He examines the motives of our hearts, and knows us better than we know ourselves right?
So as I wrestled with it the next morning while I was getting ready for the day, I told my husband the whole deal. We talked about March, we talked about the give-away session that I was trying to figure out. He said, “If you think God is asking you to give it away then you should.” Pretty simple right? Guy advice all the way. Cut and dried.
So I asked the Lord, “I don’t really want to give it away. Why would you ask me to give something away that means so much to me.”
I totally felt a weighty pause in my conversation with God. Then He said to me, “Do you really think I wanted to give my Son away? I did it because I love you. It cost Me something to give Him up. And I was willing to do it.”
I felt the reality of His comment. How foolish of me to place so much value on a jacket. If the Lord was asking me to give something away that I liked, wasn’t it worth it, because He is trustworthy? Everything He asks me to do is for my good and His glory.
But then then I asked Him sheepishly, “But Lord, if I give it to someone who goes to our church, I’ll have to see them wear this jacket that I gave up. It’ll remind me of what I gave up.”
I felt the same weighty pause, and He said to me, “What do you think I see when I look at you? I see My Son. You are wearing My Son’s righteousness and it cost Me something. I had to turn My face away when He died, because it was painful for me. Giving this jacket away is good for you. It will free you from your attachment to things and you will understand My heart. Abandon yourself to giving how I give – and you will be free to live generously in all ways.”
Well, I can tell you, I was undone. I bawled about how ridiculously self-centred I can be, and how deeply God loves me, in spite of myself. I saw beyond myself and into God’s heart. I felt Him birth His heart within me on a new level. Not much comparison really between giving away a jacket that you like, and offering up your Son as a Ransom for many.
I packaged the jacket up in a beautiful gift bag, and I couldn’t wait to give it away. It was a prophetic action that has freed me to let go of things and go deeper into God’s heart. God is not satisfied to leave us comfortable but still wounded. He desires to lead us into healing and perfect shalom, where we are made complete and live richly in His presence. My deepest heart cry is that Father would expose within me anything that hinders me from walking deeply in His presence, and I desire that He would pull me close and conform me into the perfect image of Christ.
Blessings to you today as you read this post, that the fullness of the heart of God would be made known to you. May you journey deep into His presence and find that He is your Completor and Restorer – in every way!
“28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:28-32 NIV 1984