This friend, I’m telling you, is passionate about seeing people fall deeply in love with Jesus and walk with Him for a lifetime. Nicole Lewis is magnetic and full of spirit, offering life wherever she goes. Nicole says if she only ever had one message to preach or teach it would be John 21, summed it up like this: Love, Follow, Feed.
Nicole currently lives in London working for CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ International), where she loves to go on long rambles or what she calls her #wanderwalks. Nicole describes herself as a beautifully black and wonderfully white woman. It is a blessing to have her at the table with us today.
Guest Blog by Nicole Lewis
A number of years ago a friend of mine gifted me a book called “The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions.” At the time I got the book I was walking through and slowly out of a deeply painful season of my life. The unexpected nature of this season left me feeling inadequate and ill-prepared to deal with the challenges I was facing. It had come on suddenly and in a rather jarring manner, leaving me little time (which in hindsight was a blessing) to grab onto anything else but Jesus. Early on in the book the writer lays out in these words, the thread that winds itself through each chapter
“Is it possible for the best version of you to emerge while you are passing through a season of profound disappointment, unnerving chaos, or debilitating pain? The Land Between can be profoundly disorienting. It also provides the space for God to do some of his deepest work in our lives…God intends for us to emerge from this land radically reshaped.”
Over the past months, I have found my thoughts continually coming back to this idea of reshaping. As news headlines on an almost a daily basis remind us that we are moving into a “new normal,” and while businesses, schools, etc.. restructure how they have always done things, it is a constant reminder that the world is being reshaped around us. Because it is so very present, I find myself not left with much room to escape a question I think I would benefit from asking myself more often “in this moment right now, what is God wanting to form in me? What are the situations and circumstances in my life, by which God is at work in my life through his Spirit so that the best version of myself will emerge?”
Let’s change gears for a moment because this is where things get a bit more complex and nuanced, this is where what we know to be true in our heads must make that longest of journeys to our hearts. In the book I mentioned before, the author goes on to say of the Land Between
“The habits of the heart we foster in this space—or responses and reactions-will determine whether the Land Between results in spiritual life or spiritual death, we choose.”
At this moment I am still sifting through the pile of things that I believe God is wanting to speak into in this season, but let me introduce you to the ones that have most clearly risen to the top for me:
Fear and Risk.
For the past year, I have sensed that God is calling me to move into a season of risk, which terrifies me if I am honest. But as he often does, he has gone to great lengths to get my attention through his word, through friends, and through things I have been reading. The message is clear and I want to cultivate the habit of risk in my life. One of the clear reasons I see that God would want to grow this in my soul is that for too long I have cultivated the habit of fear, primarily fear of people and what they think about me and fear of failing. I find the fear of people a bit ironic because when I look back at my younger self I don’t remember being so afraid of what people thought, but the older I get the more fearful I feel I have become. Letting fear take root in my heart of course has then by extension affected my actions. Not all my actions of course, because I am a gloriously holy contradiction of courage and fear. I may be hesitant to leave my safe shore, but because I know the one who I follow and in whose image I am being formed was a man who called people out of boats to walk on water, my safe shore is beside him, even in the winds and the waves.
This new language of risk is not yet fully formed in my life. Like all spiritual habits, it will develop over time and experience, and be borne out in the patient endurance that we read about in James 1:2-4
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (The Message)
This kind of endurance that withstand the reshaping and squeezing of our lives also comes alive so vividly in the biblical imagery of God being like a potter that is transforming a lump of clay into a useful and beautiful vessel of his purposes.
This is the deeper work that I am convinced that God wants to do in my life and in yours. He wants to use “The Land Between”, this Rona season, as a staging ground for our lives, for purposes we have not even yet begun to imagine.
A little note from Colette
Hey friends, I am so glad that you have joined us for the Ordinary Time series! This series will give us the opportunity to hear from a variety of voices, from different backgrounds, holding their own strong convictions around faith all the while calling us to the same thing: perseverance. I give my guests freedom to express their faith freely and any specific convictions they may hold. This is bigger table theology working itself out on this blog. We may not all agree concerning specific areas of scripture but one thing I know we can, Jesus is Lord!
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