These are words that I cannot seem to get away from these days. I’ve been trying to write for months in a way that expresses where life has been in the moments that have passed in the last while. To be honest with y’all, 2015 was a year of aching. A year of brokenness, sadness, pain, and ultimately ridding. It was a year that I believe woke me up from slumber and avoidance. It drove me to large amounts of isolation (which is never good for someone’s head when they are struggling), but in the isolation God rid more of me than I thought I needed to be rid of. It was as if the Lord pulled everything out of me, held it in His hands, and sifted through every area possible.

It was painful.

I felt in so many moments that the pain was too much. As I would lay in my bed, struggling to move or to even face my sweet roommates, all I could see was a mess. How could I move from here? How could I be this messy and yet God somehow say He wants to use me? How could I even lead people?

And then in so many sweet whispers from Jesus, He reminded me of many truths, but especially this one -- My life is not my own. It’s never been nor will it ever be about me.

You might be thinking, “Dang, Ashley, serious much?! It’s Valentine’s Day!” Yes, I realize it’s Valentine’s Day. I’m sure it would be fitting to have a lot of hearts, flowers, and cupcake references, but today you’re getting a straightforward call to action from yours truly (although I do love all things Valentine’s Day). Someone once told me that I’m intense about the Gospel and they were absolutely accurate. In recent years, the more I read of Paul the more I can see myself in him. He was straightforward. He had this passion that was uncontainable, but it was because his life was literally transformed by God. The same thing is true with me and probably you. If we look back on the transformational work Christ has done in our lives, it can result in a lot of things. Emotions. Feelings. Wanting to “do better”. But it should birth in us a deep longing to give back to Him all that we can. Our lives are not our own. I dare you to be bold and brave, asking God, “What do you want to do with my life?”

But don’t ask it if you don’t want to hear the answer. It’s a risky question, believe me. It means that we follow when He says “Go” and it means to stay when He says “stay”. It means to be faithful in the little as well as the big. It means to actually do something.

You see, the direct result of understanding the love of Christ and hearing the Gospel message is a call to action. It’s a call to wake up and stop living for our own personal gain. (You also might be thinking I’m getting a little preachy…but that’s who I am, a preacher, so bare with me). The result of this great and undeserving love begs of us to actually do something about it. To not just sit and wait. To not just pretend and hide as if someone else will do it. It calls us to something bigger and deeper. It calls us to literally get on our hands and knees to intercede on behalf of those who have not heard or who are running from the Truth. It calls us to not sit still. It calls us to listen and rely on the Holy Spirit.

Christ gave His life on that cross so that we could have life and life to the fullest. So that the sins that we would inevitably commit, would be forgiven and covered by His sacrifice. He took our place. He took it all. That’s a love that is so unimaginable to me. That the God of the universe could love us so much that He gave up His own life so that we could spend eternity with Him. So that we could be free.
Because of this, we love differently. We see through a different lens because of the freedom we have in Christ. Because of His great love. A love that has changed me and I pray that has changed you too. Despite all of our mess and failings. Despite the amount of times that we just can’t get it together. Despite the amount of times we don’t deserve His love. The price that He paid and the love that He showed us and continues to show us, is more than enough. When we don’t feel as if we are enough, He is enough. When for months I couldn’t seem to see clearly, Christ was enough. When all I could do was just ache and ask God when the aching would be over, He was more than enough. When I have questions about my future and what’s next, He is enough.

But that doesn’t give me permission to just sit. It doesn’t give me permission to just become passive and wait to see what God will eventually do. If we all did that then the Kingdom of God would never advance.

As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, and throughout the New Testament, the love of Christ and the message of the Gospel gives us hope. So then why would we be silent with this hope? Why would we not do something about it? Why would we just keep it to ourselves? Would we say that the “evangelism of the world” is only meant for certain people groups to fulfill? 

When Jesus said, “Go into all the nations and make disciples,” did that exclude me or you?
Does it say that because you are too busy that this call doesn’t pertain to you”?
Does it say, “because it’s sometimes hard and awkward, it’s okay to not do something about it”?

That doesn’t mean you have to go join the Peace Corps (if it does then that’s awesome and you should do it), but it does ask you to do something. I can’t tell you what that something is. But we can’t just sit back and wait for someone else to do it. We can’t just sit back and expect for our world to change but yet are unwilling to do something about it.  

We must wake up, my friends! What does the result of this love, redemption, and sacrifice call from you in your life? It’s going to look different for everyone. But it does call you as a follower of Jesus to action. It does call you to actually do something. So what will you do? What will your family do? How will you raise you kids in light of Christ and the transformational work He has done in your life? How will you go to work tomorrow in light of this? I can’t promise that every day you will “feel” like it. I also can’t promise tomorrow. I can’t promise that there won’t be hard days or that you won’t have seasons of aching. I’m also not trying to devalue seasons of rest and healing. We need those, but at the end of the day the one thing that matters is how we chose to live our lives. Even when it hurts. Are we living for ourselves or are we living for the One who has given everything for us?

Lets be women who are driven to be active! Lets be women who are courageous! Lets be women who are willing to take a chance. Will you be active or passive with this great love that Jesus so freely given?

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