Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's Your Nineveh?

Strange title for a blog post, I know.  But it is what God has put on my heart.  Actually, there have been several messages God has put on my heart lately that I felt led to write here on my blog and for whatever reason I was not obedient.  That lack of obedience has eaten away at me, nagged me, sat in the dark corners of my mind and yelled "Boo" every chance it's gotten.  It's not smart to ignore God, just plain ole not smart.  I kept telling myself, "I'll get to it.  I will write those blog posts."  They were beautiful and enlightening ideas, spiritual awakenings.  And you know what happened?  I did not obey and they were gone.  I can not for the life of me recall what the topics were or even the general thought processes. They are simply gone because I couldn't even be bothered to pick up a pen and notepad and jot down a blog post title to keep the idea fresh in my mind.

That is why I am here talking about Nineveh today and the prophet Jonah.  This is what the story of Jonah is all about, obedience.  Jonah was a very well liked and well to do prophet in his time.  He enjoyed a relatively good life as a prophet.  Most prophets were met with hardship, resistance and were basically viewed as the "nut cases" of their day.  But Jonah's time as a prophet went well and he lived comfortably, so when God called him to go to Nineveh and deliver a message to the Ninevites to change their ways or face the wrath of the Lord, Jonah did NOT want to leave his comfort zone, especially for the Ninevites.  You see, the people of Israel had been abused for many years by the people of Nineveh.  Jonah would have done anything but go to Nineveh.

I could relate to Jonah in some respects.   There are some things in life we just don't want to do.  We either find the task detestable or we don't feel capable of completing the job or maybe we just feel indifferent altogether.  But whatever the reason, we all have our Nineveh, that one thing that we tell God, "Lord, I'll do whatever you ask of me, but this one thing I just can't/won't do."  For me, my Nineveh is teaching in my church.  My journey in my current church started in June of 2012.  I was faithfully attending with my husband and son for about a year when the yearning to serve started pulling me.  But given my lack of Biblical knowledge I didn't feel qualified to teach and as I was raised Catholic and newly converted to Baptist, well I really didn't feel qualified to do anything.  So I prayed and prayed for God to show me how I could serve in my church and ultimately serve Him.  And the prayer went something like this, "Lord, I want to serve you so much, please Father show me how I can give back to my church that has given so much to me.  Here is my set of skills, the things I feel like I'm good at.  Can you work with that?  Can you find me something to do with that set of skills?  But, God, I can't teach.  I don't have the patience, knowledge or wisdom.  They will ask me questions I can't answer.  I don't want to look stupid.  So God, I'll do anything but teach."  As If I needed to tell God what my skill set was and what I was good at, Ha!  He created every part of me and blessed me with every skill I possess. As I look back now I can see that the idea that I needed to remind Him of that and give Him parameters for my ministry is quite comical.

Slowly things started coming to light that I could do to give service to my church that no one else really had the time or skill sets to deal with, like editing and posting church videos to YouTube.  I had lots of experience in that.  I'm still quite shy about telling people around me about my YouTube channels and  unknown to the people in my church, I had been running two YouTube channels for quite some time.  So I was well suited to that ministry.  Before long that grew into me handling the management of the church's website, Facebook page, YouTube Channel and running the Sunday morning media for Worship service.  But something was still missing.  I kept praying for God to show me what I missing.  As good as Worship service was and as much as I was getting out of the sermons and as much as I was getting out of my own Bible Studies and out of Sunday School I was still walking away feeling like I was treading through spiritual quicksand.  And I just didn't feel like I was connecting in relationship with God and my Savior the way I once had.

After months of prayer, reflection, and I can't even begin to tell you how many signs from the Almighty, I finally figured out what the problem was - Obedience.  God had been calling me to go to Nineveh and I had been dodging the phone call at every turn.  I have stayed away from deep water because believe me, I think a big fish was coming next!  The messages, other than the obvious one to take over a Sunday School class in which a  teaching position had become available, went something like - "You can only keep what you have by giving it away", "He who wants to keep his life must give it away", "Jeannine, it's not always about you and what you want or need, sometimes it's about what I want you to do for others", "You can only get out of something what you put in to it", "I don't always call the qualified but qualify the called", "In order to be fed, you must feed others first."  And so on, the messages kept coming, all along this thought process.

The way out of my spiritual desert was through Nineveh a.k.a OBEDIENCE.  You see, life is so much easier, the path so much smoother and the way so much straighter if we walk it in obedience.  I have felt such peace since coming to this place called Nineveh.  Don't get me wrong, the father of lies has done his level best to derail the process, sent his nay sayers to discourage me and sent the minions of self-doubt and fear to plague me.  About the time I talk myself out of the course that God has set me on, He reminds me that I am His and I am fearfully and wonderfully made and He is holding me in the palm of His almighty hand.  All I have to do is trust Him and His purpose for my life.  He has called me to this purpose and He will give me the tools I need to complete the task.  When in doubt I simply need to lean into the truth of His words, walk boldly toward Nineveh and know that the war has already been won, I simply need to show up for the battle.

So, what is your Nineveh?  What is it God is calling you to that you are resisting with all your might?  When I leaned into God's will and let Him have all of my will I have lived in such peace with a sense of purpose and fulfillment again.  I am no longer thirsty in the dessert but swimming in pools of the refreshing waters of obedience.  What's holding you back?  God would never lead you to something that would harm you.  It might not be easy, but it will be GOOD!  You will NEVER regret going to Nineveh.  The best part is you don't have to go to Nineveh alone.  Not only is God with you, but He sent others ahead of you to pave the way.  Those who have "been there, done that" to help you navigate the way.  What are you waiting for?  Get going!! Don't wait until the moment passes, the ideas are gone, the wells have run dry and it is just too late.  Trust me, Nineveh is not a bad place at all, come on in, the water's fine!