I’m reminding you to revive God’s gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled. 2 Timothy 1:6
A few nights ago, we had the most lovely evening visiting with lifelong friends. Though we don’t see one another often, when we do it’s sort of like slipping into a warm robe on the first cold morning after summer–warm, secure, a perfect fit. While our kids played together, we sat outside in the mugginess of a July evening and talked for hours.
One of the things I most admire about my friend is that she and her husband knew the kind of life they wanted to live and have spent the past 15 or so years creating that. From the way they raise their kids to the way they eat, everything has been carefully crafted around the ideals that they hold most dear. This shouldn’t surprise me, really. I mean, this was the girl who always ordered a cheeseburger at any restaurant we ever ate at until she was a teenager! When you know what you want, you go for it.
My approach to life has tended to be more buffet style–try a little of this, then a bit of that and top it with a warm roll. It’s not that I lack the ambition to pursue my dreams, it’s more the drive. And the lack of drive tends to stem from my own lack of self-confidence. That nagging very un-Jiminy Cricket like voice that says things like:
- You’re not smart enough.
- You’re not talented enough.
- You’re not trendy enough.
- You’re going to fail.
The conclusion I am coming to after almost 38 years, however, is this: you’ve got to stake a life claim.
As Paul so astutely told young Timothy, God did not give us a spirit of fear!! Fear is the Enemy’s twisted gift, designed to keep us from living out the abundant life God has called us to. Fear looks at our God-given dreams and aspirations and says, You can’t. But God responds, Get moving. In the great parade of life, we aren’t called to be mere spectators, waving as the floats go by. Oh no. We are called to participate fully in this extravaganza: to march in the band, to pull the floats, to throw the candy and yes, to clean up the horse poop. It’s time for all of us scaredy-cats to stake a claim in living the life God has called us to live.
It doesn’t have to be big. I bought a bag of garbanzo bean flour. I’ve been wanting to experiment with different types of high fiber and high protein grains in order to find a way to eat healthy naturally rather than depending on meal replacement bars. It’s a small thing, but it’s a claim that has been staked.
I have also called a photographer to make an appointment to take some professional pictures for some women’s ministry publications and outlined a devotional book. Those are crazy claims!!
The truth is, God has placed something (or several things) on each of our hearts, endowing us with gifts and talents to bring these things to fruition. But so often, we don’t follow through. We don’t stake a claim.
Paul goes on in his exhortation to Timothy with the following:
So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about the Lord or of me, his prisoner. Instead, share the suffering for the good news, depending on God’s power. God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began. Now his grace is revealed through the appearance of our savior, Christ Jesus. He destroyed death and brought life and immortality into clear focus through the good news. 2 Timothy 1:7-10
The powerful Spirit God has imbued us with is for the express purpose of proclaiming the Gospel. And we proclaim that Gospel not by shouting on street corners or the roofs of parking garages, but in creating and living out lives that show God’s love, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness and God’s mercy to others. We stake a claim. Live a life that shares the good news of God’s grace.
- Volunteer for VBS
- Sign up for that mission trip
- Sponsor the child you’ve been seeing in your mind’s eye for several years
- Make the call about becoming a foster parent
- Start that blog you’ve been thinking about
- Write “Chapter One” on a blank sheet of paper
- Plant a garden and share the harvest
- Call that new mother and offer to come sit with the baby while she sleeps
- Make some meals for others
- Deliver some meals to others
- Join a local co-op
- Pay for a kid to go to church camp
- Create a community garden for kids
- Donate surplus items to local charities
- Downsize your house and give the proceeds to others
- Practice healthy habits
- Send some cards of encouragement
- Reach out to a single mom: bring her some meals, do her laundry, take the kids to a movie, invite her to a girl’s night out and provide childcare
The list could go on and on. The point is: stake a claim. Live the good news! And do so with a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control.
Blessings and Peace,
P.S. I would love to hear how you’re staking a claim! Leave me a comment or shoot me an email. Let’s march in this parade together! 🙂