‘Offer’ – my ‘one-word’ for 2012
offer |ˈôfər, ˈäfər|
verb: to present (something) for (someone)
noun: an expression of readiness to do or give something
Although I have made numerous attempts this past month to ‘offer’ meaningful words of encouragement to this, my on-line community,
I must confess…
I have allowed my writing life to take a back burner to ‘other’ matters.
My writing neglect had much to do with:
- First – an honest admission of my lack of writing discipline
- Second – my big-loud-crazy family of 8 adult kids + who still vie for my time and attention
- And last, my ever-changing identity concerning my life-roles and career-shifts as I explore various educational and employment opportunities.
It may not seem like a big deal to some reading this – but for me, the writing-life has become a sacred, intimate activity that helps me stay closely connected to God.
I also view the writing life as an act of obedience to what I believe, in part, is God’s plan for my life.
And, although I have always had a love for writing, my writing focus began to change about six years ago when
I began to write honestly about what I was living!
And what I was living was a life of transition – on multiple fronts!
A painfully-beautiful word; is it not?
Painful…in process; yet, beautiful…in outcome.
Perhaps the following illustration is overused, but a more applicable one is hard to find.
Consider the hidden life of a larva…
its vulnerable, yet
Shedding the old
And embracing the new.
How glorious its presence
How uninhibited its flight
to everlasting joy.
I know for certain that I would not be who I am today apart from my various life-transitions.
And although at times I was afraid to welcome new realities into my life [resisting some and embracing others], I eventually learned the value of ‘offering’ my life-changing circumstances, to God.
My definition of a ‘Life in Transition’ in simple terms, means
We once were ‘this’ – but we are not yet ‘that.’
To ‘Offer’ is similar to the word ‘Commit’:
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.” (Ps. 37:5)
If you were to examine the word ‘commit’ – you would discover that it literally means ‘to roll’. As in… “to roll (offer, commit) yourself onto the Lord.”
The imagery given is that of a camel after a very long journey through the desert heat, that slowly bends toward the earth and then rolls over on its side to ‘commit or offer’ the weight of his heavy load to the ground. At which point the load is transferred to the earth and removed by the tending caretaker, who then offers drink and food to the load-bearing beast.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
This word picture helped me greatly several years back when I encountered a major change that took place in my career life that ultimately led to my leaving a position that I felt completely called to – by God; an exhilarating journey which lasted six years.
At the time, I was not able to see the bigger picture of what God was doing in my life (circumstantially) nor was I able to perceive the process of change that was about to take place WITHIN me (spiritually) as I then began to navigate my way through various types of physical, intellectual, emotional, relational, and personal role changes that were also taking place in my life.
Transition on multiple levels is a understatement.
For a season that spanned almost five years, my Heavenly Caretaker ‘made me lie down’ so that he could ‘restore my soul’ (Ps. 23). And in the process, I encountered the most precious gift of transition…
God is indeed very Gracious in his Dealings with his beloved.
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deut 8:2,3
My long journey of transition with God ultimately helped me acquire
- a change of heart (in areas of pride and unforgiveness)
- a change of focus (re: my skewed and limited perspective of God’s sovereign hand at work in my life)
- and a change of direction (re: my vocation)
Suffice to say,
Personal transitions have much to ‘offer’ in the way of making us more like Jesus!
And I believe that God wants me – and he wants you – to know that he is worthy to be trusted through all seasons of change.
- He knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows what is best for us.
- He knows where we are weak, and where we need to be strengthened;
- He knows what we fear and how to help us replace our fear with faith;
- He knows the parts of our character that needs to be refined to reflect more of Jesus.
- He knows areas of unconfessed sin that needs his forgiveness.
You could say it this way:
In times of major life-transition,
God knows the secret places of our life that need his healing, his grace, his correction, and his love.
When left to our limited (and often skewed) perspectives we will fail to understand that the plan of God often exceeds our ability to understand it.
But when we trust in God’s unfailing love and his sovereign plan over our lives, we begin to understand – that in his economy, no experience goes to waste – because our God is a redeeming God who makes all things new.
This is why writing has become such an integral part of my life.
- …that place where I can ‘offer’ my raw, honest self to God and others.
- …that place where I am given the sacred privilege of speaking to ‘the within’ life of fellow transition-ers
- …that still, secret, quiet, place within the human heart that seems to divide ‘soul and marrow’ in order to bring about the miraculous transforming work of God.
As for my writing excuses…
I am making them a launch-pad of prayer:
- Father, help me to be a better steward of the time you have given me and help me to become a more disciplined, skilled writer and communicator.
- Jesus, thank you for the wonderful family you have given me. Please give me a good balance of wisdom, flexibility, and boundaries that I might know when to step in and help and when to refrain from helping.
- Holy Spirit, I am trusting you to lead my life. I know you will give me wisdom regarding the plans you have for me in this new chapter of my life.
You’ll be hearing me talk a lot more about transition in the weeks ahead. So consider this post my “Transition Post’ where the bulk of my focus will be about the way God uses transition to make us more like Jesus.
So if you, or someone you know is going through a major life-transition, please invite them to join us here at ‘The Journey Within’.
What about you?
I’d love to hear about your transition.
Are you a ‘resister’ or an ‘embracer’ of your transition?
Do you have a transition story? And would you be willing to ‘offer’ your transitional journey with the rest of this community? I am looking for stories of transition that demonstrate the transforming work of God. Please let me know if you are willing to participate. I’d love to learn from you.
Until next time,
May you lean more and more into God’s grace and love for you –