Saturday, October 15, 2011

Unstuck

A little of my heart
By Jennie Allen
Women are hurting. A lot of us feel stuck. This is not a novel perception – this is human. We are stuck trying to be perfect. Stuck in sadness. Stuck feeling numb. Stuck pursuing more stuff to make us happy. Stuck in something we can’t even name. And most of our stuck places are invisible to the world, which keeps us from dealing with them.

When I wrote Stuck, I dreamt of creating things that took women to deep places – real places. I think we might have learned so much about God that we missed actually knowing Him.

I want us to live truth, not just memorize it. And this takes encountering a supernatural God. I pray this study will push you up face-to-face with Jesus, and in the process you will grow closer to the women around you as you go to war with stuck places. The trenches are a good birthplace for the deepest of friendships.

I don’t know that the goal is getting unstuck. Our stuck places are the very places that make us ache for God, leading us to Him and His freedom. God’s never been one to tie up our problems with little pretty bows and send us on our way. We wrestle, and as we wrestle on this journey we depend entirely on Him. We are inadequate to fix our lives.... and we have a relationship-building God who likes to move in and settle in those holes within us that hurt.

I want us to band together as women and grow and live and experience God.

But let’s not neglect that, as women who know Jesus, we have something priceless to give away in the process. I believe God wants to do more with our stuck places.


Hear more here:




Compel Project from Jennie Allen on Vimeo.

Find out more here: CompelProject.com

Jennie Allen is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. Raised in a Christian home, Jennie heard about God her entire life but not until high school did she see her need for Him. Since that time she has been teaching groups of girls and young women about her God. Her first Bible study, Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free is now available wherever books and Bibles are sold. To sample Stuck, visit www.StuckDVDStudy.com. For more on Jennie, visit www.jennieallen.com.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Loving the Difficult People in Your Life

Dear Friends,
   Can you imagine a world with no difficult people in it? Go on, try! The dictionary defines the word “difficult” as a person who is “hard to be pleased or satisfied, disagreeable, quarreling, contentious, unyielding, not compliant, unaccommodating, rigid, not easily managed or persuaded, troublesome.” Of course, none of us have such people in our lives!

   If you belong to a church, you may be tempted to think the compiler of this part of the English dictionary camped out in the fellowship hall! The way to cope is to start the day by looking in the mirror. What do you see? Or rather, who do you see? That’s right ─ a person that at some time in his or her life fits the above description in part or in whole. We are all difficult people. This is because we are all fallen creatures living in a fallen environment in a period of time called “life after the fall.” That’s why some of us have a hard time living with ourselves and others have a harder time living with us! We are just plain difficult.

   The good news is that we have been redeemed. This is the start of a whole new day. Once we are born of the Spirit, God gets to work changing us. Often, after coming to know Christ, people say things like, “My family has become a whole lot more bearable since I came to Christ.” Actually, it’s you who has become a whole lot more bearable, not them.

   One of our problems is that we are so little redeemed. Nietzsche, a German philosopher and antagonist of all things Christian (his writings inspired Stalin and Hitler), said, “Christians will have to look more redeemed before I will believe in their Redeemer.” Do we look so little redeemed to the world? Many times I’m afraid we do and never as much as when we fight and quarrel and fall out with other believers.

   Recently I put pen to paper on this:

So little redeemed,

So little like Him,

So little I’ve changed from what I have been,

So little like Jesus so people can see,

His power and His glory

Living in me.

So little redeemed,

So my friends cannot see,

The risen Lord Jesus,

Living in me.

Why should they listen

When I tell them of Him?

When I’m so little changed,

From what I have been.

So little redeemed,

I’m ashamed of myself,

I need transformation,

And spiritual wealth.

So, I’m going to surrender,

So people can see,

The risen Lord Jesus

Living in me!

   Coping with difficult people begins as I start with myself. Change and transformation are not doctrines we only teach others about in seminars. First they must be borne out in our own lives. If we moment by moment and day by day allow the Redeemer to finish His changing work in us, it will be amazing how many other people will start to change before our eyes!

   And even those who are still difficult will be easier to love into His likeness. Let us attend to our own sanctification, allowing the Spirit to work in us as 1 Cor. 13:4-6 challenges us to and just see what the Nietzsches of this world will say. They may even be heard to mutter to themselves in wonder, “Behold how these Christians love one another!”



Blessings,

Jill Briscoe

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sad

The Discipline of Joy

By Jennie Allen

I was hurt. Not the kind of hurt I can talk about here – it involves people I love and things that are not mine to share – but my heart was flat broken. I woke up with puffy eyes after four hours of sleep to hear the funniest little whisper from God… a verse I hadn’t read or thought of in years.

… She can laugh at the days to come – Proverbs 31:25

This woman in Proverbs had her allotted share of suffering just like the rest of us, but she could laugh at the future, whatever it held.

It kept ringing in my mind as my command. My choice. After involuntarily crying for most of the day before, to think that joy was mine for the taking… laughter was what He wanted from me. He actually made me laugh (and then start crying again).

As I searched for more of this call growing in me, I got into James 1 where God calls us to “… count it all joy when you fall into various trials (NKJV)” because all this suffering is building something, doing something in us and for God. And then He reminds us later in that chapter that it is all leading to a crown of life… it is all leading to heaven. If my days are few on this planet – and I believe they are – to suffer, to hurt, to cry, to ache is a very, very doable thing.

In fact, if hurting makes me ache for heaven, makes me need God, makes me strong for my few days here, makes me love and empathize with others, makes me less selfish, makes me humble like I should be, then I want to suffer.

And that makes me laugh because I am asking for trouble. I am longing for my few days here to be more than happy and more than easy. So yesterday I laughed. I laughed that I had cried so much. I laughed because God told me to laugh. I laughed that God is not always easy and comfy.

I laughed when I thought about my coming days, about some of the trials we are facing, a lot of them – a consequence of obeying God. Following God is costly. I missed that in Sunday School, but Jesus taught me that it just is. There is certain to be much more hurt. But I could laugh because I can do anything for a few days when heaven stretches out in front of me forever.

Jennie Allen is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. Raised in a Christian home, Jennie heard about God her entire life but not until high school did she see her need for Him. Since that time she has been teaching groups of girls and young women about her God. Her first Bible study, Stuck: The Places We Get Stuck and the God Who Sets Us Free, will release in October 2011. To sample Stuck, visit www.StuckDVDStudy.com. For more on Jennie, visit www.jennieallen.com.