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“Reading this book probably won’t be easy. No matter what religious tradition you come from, you likely carry baggage and harbor sterotypes when it comes to the Holy Spirit. It’s going to require laying aside your baggage and stereotypes so you can be open to what God wants to teach you. Are you willing to do that?

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If you are anything like me, those words made you completely stop and re-read them. It’s a bold statement. And challenging question.

Frances Chan, in his book Forgotten God:Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, has definitely been challenging me. And opening my eyes. And setting me straight.

He says, “Some of you hear the term Holy Spirit and automatically worry that I am going to get wildly charismatic on you. Others think of extreme conservatives who never acknowledge the Holy Spirit in word or deed……Some of you would like it it I said we were going to find a healthy balance between unhealthy extremes….When we are referring to God, balance is a huge mistake. God is not just one thing we add to the mix called life……Is it possible to get enough or even too much God?”

As I said in my earlier post, I was one who used to fear the “wildly charismatic” part. I was ignorant (no snickering please), therefore afraid of what I didn’t know about or understand.  (That being-afraid-of-what-we-don’t-understand – and either running from or attacking ‘said-feared’ thought or situation – seems to be a recurring phrase that has come to me over the past few months. Even one I’ve been repeating to others. Must make a note to myself…future blog topic!) Now, back to this topic.

What was I afraid of? I’ve mentioned that I’ve had some incredible experiences that I truly believe came from God. From the Holy Spirit.  Dreams (some of which I’ll  share because I believe I’m supposed to). God Coincidences (what I call GCs) that I talk about. SOOOOOO many. Glimpses of Spiritual Gifts. I’ll talk about this later, too. The one thing I’ll say here is that I didn’t know how to handle the little bit I saw & freaked out a little. Now my heart is broken that I grieved the Spirit. He could see that I wasn’t ready so I pray that it’s not too late to receive the gifts He wanted to give me.

So I repeat. What was I afraid of? Although I can come up with several things, several excuses, I feel deep down that a main thing was my need for approval in the eyes of others. My desire to not look foolish or be different.  And I am ashamed. I am sad.

Why is it so hard to not worry about how I look in order to sing for an Audience of One? To dance as King David did, undignified to his wife, but as joyful & sweet praise to the Almighty? To worship with abandon to only please the One who is EVERYTHING? To speak Words of Truth and Life to those who need to hear them? To step out of my comfort zone into the God Zone? To completely and fully trust in the goodness of God’s plan for my life?

“I can’t say exactly what will happen when you admit that you can never fully know or experience enough of the Holy Spirit yet choose to seek Him regardless. I know only that when you surrender fully to the Spirit, Christ will be magnified, not you (John 16:14). When I read Scripture, I see the truth and necessity of a life wholly surrendered to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit.”

I’m praying that I can lay aside my baggage and be open to what God wants to teach me. I am willing to learn. Still scared. Scared of what will happen. Will God really shake things up in my life? Like when people say “be careful what you pray for. Praying for patience? Then be ready to have situations in your life that will REQUIRE patience” etc.  Scared of being so vulnerable. Scared of that wholly surrendering thing. Scared about total trust. Honestly, as I write this, my heart is pounding out of my chest. It’s a really hard thing to say….But I want to be willing. Because I don’t want this life to have been all about me. Wasted. I want it to have made a difference. I am willing. How about you?

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