Do you ever experience the reality of something to the point that it smacks you in the face and awakens you to something you haven’t seen before? I’m talking about those moments when you see in your mind’s eye what you’ve thought or done wrong, clearly. It’s those moments that require you to put on your big boy (or girl) pants and face reality, that maybe you’ve ignored.
This has happened to me a few times in my journey and recently happened again. This also happened to Isaiah in the opening of Chapter 6. I think this is why this is my “life verse” if I ever were to say I had one. If you look at verse 5, Isaiah responding to being in the presence of the Most High God cries out at his own unworthiness. He says (in KJV splendor) “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
The first time this happened to me I sat playing a version of poker (I’ll leave it for you to figure out). I wasn’t a Christian nor pretending to be one. I was with a group of friends and was drinking. I was gripped out of nowhere by the thought, “What would mom and dad say and think if they saw me right now? How disappointed would they be?” I was rocked to my core and my life path changed forever.
The second time I was reading a book my Dad had given to me for my birthday about being a real, Godly man. It was called “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” and as I read the author’s account of speaking publicly at a large church for the first time, he told of how he was comforted by a note that read “His grace is sufficient.” A voice from within said, “What excuse do you have now?” I was stunned by the realization I had been running from a call to the ministry.
The third time was sitting in a prayer encounter in MVNU‘s chapel as part of the North Central Ohio Nazarene district‘s assembly and camp week. Months earlier I was glued to Isaiah 6, specifically verse 8. To start out the gathering, Isaiah 6 was read and I wept as it was read, realizing my unholiness next to the holiness of God and how I needed to be sanctified. I spent the next 3+ hours in prayer, something I had never done previously, and experienced a true sanctification despite what I thought I had experienced before. My lips and soul had been touched by the burning coal.
All three times I could relate to what Isaiah was saying in my own way, in my own life, in what was real to me. I felt undone by the realization of where I actually was, what I was actually doing, and what I was not.
A fourth time may be occurring now (or did occur a few days ago). It began with a seed planted in the form of the question as to whether I tried to get everything right, understand everything completely, and study up on everything to the best I could before engaging and moving forward. I thought about that for days. It popped up in my quiet moments. It sprang up in my mind when I wasn’t being distracted by entertainment. Was it true? I then read an article recently that compared leaders to managers. It smacked me in the face and I was undone at the realization of what I had missed and what I have allowed to handicap me.
Thanks to Ohio Christian University‘s AIM program, I have a BA in Leadership & Ministry. At the time, I wanted to lop off the “leadership” part and just focus on ministry. I read the material and took the courses as prescribed though, albeit not with the proper attitude. I had heard 100-550 times in those 2 or so years the differences between a leader and a manager. I knew it theoretically but not practically. This question posed to me and this article demonstrated that I knew the differences, but I couldn’t recognize it in myself. I didn’t know what it looked like until a mirror was held in front of face.
Woe. Is. Me.
As someone who entered the ministry “later in life” (I graduated OCU at 30 and was licensed in the Nazarene Church 5 years ago at 31), I had already said I wasted way too much time living for myself and not allowing God’s will in my life. But now this, that I haven’t been leading much of anything but instead managing here and there? Man oh man, woe is me. I am undone at the time I have wasted.
I have repented and am more willing and committed to allowing God shape, teach, and use me as He sees necessary. I was re-taught that I don’t need to know everything and how it will work, I just need to know it’s His will. If He asks it, I need to respond, trusting that His way is right.
How about you? Have you had moments of undone-ness? In what ways have you awoken spiritually lately?