I dare you

I get myself into a lot of trouble when the momentum is going.  Friday’s are particularly bad for such things, and the whole weekend presents plenty of risk (except Sunday nights, usually, when I’m lamenting the onslaught of Monday) and occasionally another random day of the week will catch me in a mood willing to make a commitment and get me into trouble.

I wonder if Isaiah had one of those “uh-oh”, second-thought moments after that big to do he had with seeing the Lord in Isaiah chapter 6.  You remember that one, right?

God’s looking to and fro for someone he can send in to carry his message and save the world.  Isaiah is standing there in front of him like a little kid trying to make himself visible while his father looks for someone with whom he can play a game of catch.

Even more suspicious is the way God sets him up, having just wowed poor old Isaiah with all of that heavenly glory stuff and angels singing songs that would make Superman’s steel melt like butter.  Then God drives home the hook:  “Hmmmm, whom shall I send?  [God’s looking around like Isaiah’s invisible]  Who will go?”

There’s good ol’ Isaiah jumping up and down and about to pee his pants with his eyes all bugged out and worried to death that God won’t see him or that God will think he’s not worthy to go.  Of course, God fixes that worthiness thing real quick.

Here’s where the danger comes in – it’s when that volunteer commitment thing happens:  “Oooh, ooooh,  ooooh!  Here!  Me!  Oh, please, me!  Send me!  Send me?  Please?”

Can’t you just imagine Isaiah the next morning when the alarm went off and his brain was overflowing with crazy God messages?

Have you ever done that before?  No, not the crazy part.  The volunteering part.

I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve been awakened by an ungodly (it seems at the time) alarm before God is even up (it seems) because I’ve made some ridiculous commitment, and I’m saying, “AAAuuuuuggggghhhhhh!  Why did I say I would do this?  I don’t want to do this!  This is crazy!  I’ve slept for like 5 minutes and I’ve got 47 hours of activity to squeeze into the next 12 and I’m in over my head and . . . This is crazy!”

It’s too late, though.  I’m committed.

This is where, in hindsight, I find the wisdom that makes me love the power of commitment.  In this case, though, I’m thinking of a bit of a different angle on commitment.  I’m not talking about the power of keeping a commitment, which is a big deal in and of itself, and the other side of this gold coin.

Here, I’m thinking of the power of making a commitment, and especially the power of making a commitment that puts me in way over my head in the middle of something into which I’ve no rational business being at all.

Most everything that’s ever really been good for me and empowering for me and an everlasting testimony of the power and wonders of God and inspiring and meaningful has occurred on one of those days when I’m soft in the head from some encounter with God, especially in some sneaking subtle inspirational moment.

That’s when I’m jumping up and down going, “Oooohhh, me!  Send me!  Here I am!  I’ll do it!  I’ll get up at the ugliest crack of dawn and be out until the cows have gone home and slept for hours, and I’ll scale the highest mountain and swim across the ocean because MY GOD is the GREATEST!”

I’m committed before I realize what I’ve done.  Thank God.  Good things happen there.  Before second thoughts and ungodly alarms can talk us out of doing things we should be doing.  God sneaks up on us, flexes some glory muscles, and then looks around for someone to send.  Then he reels us in, and before we know it, he’s gutting us and squeezing the goodness from us in some circumstance we never would have gotten ourselves into with foreknowledge.

I love that.  I hope he does that every day of my life.  If I could, I would talk myself out of everything good in this world.  Making a commitment in a moment of inspiration keeps me from wasting my days.

Go ahead.  Make a commitment.  You’ll hate me for it.  Then, you’ll love me.  I dare you.

6 thoughts on “I dare you”

  1. It was 5:30 this morning when I read Isaiah 6 1:-7 (at the time I had no idea you wrote this post.) For some reason I stopped there. Didn’t get to the “send me” part. So here I am all worked up about holiness (or my lack of…) Well, it seems I have some more to think about this morning.

  2. I really liked the part about “lamenting the onslaught of Monday”. That was good. As for the rest, it is too early in the morning and I got too little sleep for me to have any feelings about it. I think that it was really good, and really challenging, though I will be honest and say that I really don’t want to be challenged right now. So…yeah.

  3. You should have written all this first- when the whole penury thing started up. This- This I get. And so concise too. Bada bing bang boom.

  4. I’m all for commitments, for what would we ever get done without them? And there is nothing like the gratification of helping someone and being used by God.

    But I also have a thought:

    Do we take time for rest? Am I keeping Gods commandment to rest?

    1. Rachel, thanks for the comment and the thoughts. Two things I think of:

      1. Absolutely. Rest, of course is essential. How we rest and our expectations of rest can be an issue, though. We have to have time and space to clear our minds, rest our bodies, find space to reduce the noise. However, spiritual rest, and even emotional rest doesn’t come just from time off and space for relaxation, although when we can get that, we should take it. Spiritual rest, or emotional rest, like the relief from worry and anxiety, an inner peace, or clarity of thinking, can be found in the midst of the worst and busiest circumstances through intimacy with God even in the midst of those moments. In other words, God is with me, and the ultimate rest and refreshment for my soul is found in him. So, the comfort of his presence can do more for inner peace than a thousand Sunday afternoon naps in the hammock, so to speak. A few moments of thoughtful prayer and intimacy with Christ in the midst of anything can provide a Sabbath rest beyond compare.

      2. I also think we get our expectations for rest set incorrectly by an instinct of self-preservation on one hand and wrong priorities on the other. What I mean is that we can determine the way we spend our time incorreclty. For one, we invest our time in unnecessary activities. For two, we set expectations for rest that aren’t flexible or necessary. If I’m running all week long with activities that God has not directed me to do, but I’m obligated by other influences, and then I demand Sunday off to lay in front of the TV and watch football, or refuse to schedule anything on Thursday night because it’s my bottle of wine night or my favorite TV show night, then I think I’m missing the point.

      In contrast, if I’m consulting God to set my priorities and determine the way I spend my busy time and availability, and maybe that includes Sunday afternoon conversations about life things with friends at the park, and Thursday night sharing my rest time with friends in difficult circumstances on my patio, then I really and truly believe that God will lead us to times of rest, according to his expectations with superior knowledge of our needs.

      Our rest should be in him, and from him, and our sometimes false expectations of what busy should look like and what rest should look like may need to be changed. Making a commitment, as this post challenges, in a moment of inspiration from God, then, should never be in conflict with the rest that he commands and directs for us.

      Blah, blah, blah . . .

      Thanks!

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