I Do What I Want

I do what I want www.stevieswift.com

Years ago, I took a last minute trip to Iraq. It was two weeks away from my two year-old and it was traveling to a country perceived as dangerous, which made the trip selfish in the eyes of some.

In hindsight, it is easy to see God’s hand in the entire process, but in the middle, as I prepared to leave, I worried whether I was doing the right thing and acting with the right motives. 

I wanted to go.  I wanted it badly. 

I wanted to travel back to the country I last saw as a soldier. I wanted to be a part of something positive there.  I wanted to meet the people under different circumstances. I also wanted adventure.  I wanted to get on an airplane and do something exciting. I wanted to do this thing – go to this place.

I told a friend what I was feeling, how I was scared this was a selfish act, a selfish decision. He responded, “How many people do you know who ‘want’ to do this?”  

And something clicked for me.  A big something.

A life-giving, freedom-giving something.

Wanting to do a thing, wanting to be a thing, wanting to go to a place – these do not poison an action.  They are a part of every poisonous action, which is why I was confused, but wanting is not the poison.

If I am walking with God, abiding in Him, listening to the Holy Spirit – if I am ready and willing to stop when He says to stop, to go when He says to go, to stay when He says to stay – I don’t need to be afraid of my own desires.

If I am seeing Him for who He is, if I am daily giving my life to Him, I don’t need to stress, to strive, to stumble over every decision.  

For six years, I have been doing more and more of what I want to do. Mostly, I avoid doing things because I think I should. Mostly, I avoid doing things because other people think I should.  

I do what makes sense based on my circumstances, my strengths, my weaknesses. I walk closely with my God, so that my desires align with Him and I do the things I want to do.  

I am a servant, but I am a servant to a freedom-giving God. I’m not a slave to my own expectations, nor a slave to the expectations of others. I’m not a slave to God’s expectations either – I could never meet them, they’ve already been met for me, and there is new grace and mercy for me every single day. 

And for you, too.

You are free. Are you living free?

You Can Do Nothing

IMG_3426.JPG

Faith without works is dead.

But be wary the difference between works gathered, crafted, sought out and those works which bud as a result of our abiding in him.

The latter works result from faith.  The former are a distraction. 

When we are consumed by works of our own initiative we impede the Holy Spirit from his work in us, and the good works we might have produced are never afforded the opportunity to flower.  

We call our works "fruit" but the fruit is only good and an indication of our spiritual life when it is hanging off of a branch grafted into and abiding in our savior.  Otherwise, you have gathered - you have not produced.

Those ugly wretches we talked about in the "Be You" series - Comparison, Competition, Cowering - they will get us here.  They will snag us, snare us, draw us in and away from our place of abiding.

(COMPARE) That branch is producing "x" and I'm producing "y."  I better go gather some "x."

(COMPETE)  That branch is producing more "x" than I am.  I better go gather some more "x."

(COWER) I should be producing "z," but no one else is - I'll go gather some "x" instead.

You have your own works, your own fruit, your own path and purpose to which you were called.  Zoom out and and out and out until you can see your works set against eternity - until it becomes clear how small and insignificant they are without the context of God's story, God's plan, God's purposes.  

Zoom out and then lean in - because you do have work to do.  Work with meaning, work which fits into a bigger picture, a bigger story, and you can't hope to know what it is or do it His way if you are not leaning in.  

Zoom out.  Lean in.  Abide.