This week, I am taking the opportunity to share something I feel like the Lord wanted me to write. I appreciate Jasmine giving me the opportunity to use her platform.

I recently found myself truly motivated to journal with intention.  Motivated by the words of a wise man, "the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory", I found myself transcribing scripture and thinking about how it relates to my life in a very intimate way. The practice felt as if I was using a looking glass to find the next step the Lord was calling me to take. Conveniently, I found myself here to share my thoughts in that process.

The current state of our country has caused me to think and to reflect on habits, my emotions, my opinions and my relationship with the lord. On one hand, I am learning more about myself as I am cooped up in my apartment due to Covid-19 precautions. On the other hand, I find my mind plagued with brutal imagery and protests as I peruse Twitter and Instagram.

I personally didn't know how to respond, I didn't know how the Lord wanted me to move or to speak and I wrestled with my own heart position in relation to where it was expected to be. I needed to step back and to listen. To hear what the lord was saying. I retreated from social media. I then created a space to put myself into a position that I could be lead and hear from the Lord. Conveniently, the lord lead me to Psalms 51:10-12, Psalms 139:1-4,23-24 and Matthew 5:44 in a prayer call throughout this week. These verses are the center point of what the Lord was calling me to use as my perspective.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus says  "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you"  [Matthew 5:44]. Why do we need to do this Jesus? Is it deeper than allowing "vengeance to be the Lords"? In an ever connected world, we forget that people are watching us even when they are not reacting or responding to our actions, posts or virtue signals. When we love those who curse, misuse or hate us, we set the standard as Christians as Jesus calls us too. If we respond with hate and someone sees it, does the hate take root in their heart? Do we ourselves harbor second-hand offense ourselves without really knowing?

Lord, before I can respond I need you to search my heart! David, a true worshiper, constantly acknowledged his humanity and the Lords sovereignty. This is the same David whose immediate reaction to trials was too fast and seek the Lord. Who was anointed to be King when he was only a shepherd boy.

The Lord searches and knows me. Intimately. The areas of pride and self doubt that I effortlessly hide in the corner. The Lords sees it. It may be easier to react in the way we feel justified because we were wronged. It was established that we were wronged, but when we forgive those who have wronged us, do those who are also offended have the chance to experience the same freedom we have in forgiving our wrong doer?

David shows me continually to seek the Lord who intimately knows me.

   2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

       you discern my thoughts from far away.

   3 You search out my path and my lying down,

       and are acquainted with all my ways.

   4 Even before a word is on my tongue,

       O Lord, you know it completely.

Lord, what is in the contents of my heart? Am I able to handle the hurt and pain that I hide from myself?

Jesus, you are the only answer to the pain that I try to carry. I wanted to carry your light burden with your easy yoke, but how can I help a lost and dying world if I am afraid to acknowledge the contents of my own heart?

   23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

       test me and know my thoughts.

   24 See if there is any wicked way in me,

       and lead me in the way everlasting.

I need to confront myself with the Lords standard before I claim to represent him. More of "Lord, what does your standard say about my heart?" and less of my own way. After this process, I find myself realizing more than ever that I sit in a position of opportunity. Not because I can "seize a moment", but because the Lord has created an opportunity for his Kingdom to come in my life. For his Kingdom, working through me, to be the change I want to see in my community. I need to be in a position of submission Lord, I need you to "create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me." I desire David's prayer, his cry, to become my cry daily.  Lord I desire those around me to be changed, but I need to partner with you. Only then can I see the steps that you have for me. The solutions you are calling me to present.

As Jasmine always so causally says, I will leave us with this prayer.

Lord I know that you watch after your word to preform it. I pray Lord that as you search my heart, you would find any and every wicked place. That you would call every thing in me that is not of you into the submission of your word and your blood. Jesus cause me to better reflect you. Jesus help me to submit myself to your way of loving as shown in Matthew 5:44. I want to do better. I want to desire you more. I no longer want to remain the same, take me deeper.

I pray this in Jesus' name.