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Purposeful Detours & Delays

When I wrote the book, Perfectly Weak, several years ago, I was fighting through fear and working at allowing God to use me in ways that pulled me out of my comfort zone and do things I was afraid to do. Fast forward a few years…I was feeling pretty confident about being used by God and doing things outside of my comfort—or so I thought. I was working hard over the summer to prepare our fall women’s ministry events and I just couldn’t feel settled on which Bible study to do. I kept reading and reading so many and I just couldn’t choose one. God spoke to me that the reason I couldn’t find just the right one for the ladies I get to minister to is because I was supposed to write one myself. I immediately dismissed this thought and kept searching. There are so many amazing Bible studies available and I just kept poring over those, just knowing one of those authors would do a better job than I would. I kept forcing it, telling God ‘no’ to writing my own.

After a couple months of nudging, God pretty much forced me to read my own book again and He showed me how I was walking in lack again, saying 'no' in some areas again — and leaning on my weaknesses again in some areas — and so are some of you. We all default to self. When we are busy, overwhelmed, or hurting, we tend to shrink inward and self protect.

I find it interesting that God asked me to write this while I still feel insecure and am reluctantly saying 'yes' to God. I know where you are if you are resistant to risk or change and crave comfort and safety. I am in a five-year vulnerability hangover, just from writing Perfectly Weak. I didn’t want to do that, but I obeyed, and you can bet it was scary to put myself out there. I felt so vulnerable and exposed from writing the book that I am just now saying 'yes' all over again to share it with you in a study.

Stepping out and saying 'yes' to God is hard. If it was easy, everyone would be fulfilling their purpose for God and there would be no worry, no fear, no what ifs. Walking in His strength despite your weakness is scary, but it's part of your story you do not want to miss.

As you can guess, I told God 'no' a couple times to writing this study to go along with the book, but He kept coming back to ask again, for the same reason I wrote the book. The world needs YOU. There are people reading this that are going to rise up and change this world. I want to encourage you to say 'yes' to what God is asking of you. It may be a hundred tiny ‘yesses’ every day that are related to the people around you (maybe your kids, your classmates, your students or coworkers). It may be one big 'yes'. But God needs you to move.

He is calling you to not to walk in lack, succumbing to the “I can’t, I don’t have enough time, gifts, ideas, I’m not good at that, those people won’t like it, they don’t need me.” I hear every single one of those lies daily. You know why? Because the enemy of our purpose doesn’t want me to succeed. He doesn’t want you to walk in strength. Because when we do — HE LOSES every time.

So I am saying YES with you. Let me share just a snippet of this Bible study that God laid upon my heart to write and hopefully it will inspire you to surrender your weakness to His perfect strength and all that He can do through you!

Week Two | Day Four

1. Read Psalm 139 and write verses 1-4, 23-24.

I find it remarkable that God knows every single thing about me. He even knows those hidden thoughts and motives, and yet still loves me and chooses to use me. I do believe it’s safe to say that most of us set out to obey God and take those steps of purpose to walk out dreams with pure motives. Sometimes, along the way, we can get off track and may need to stop and check our motives.

Have you ever stopped to evaluate why do you do what you do? Why do you want what you want? Write your thoughts and answers about this here.

2. Many of us do so many wonderful things each day, including serving others and ministering to people in need, but it is necessary to stop and gauge our motives. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”

• Read Proverbs 16:2

We are so easily distracted by what other people think. This ranges from wondering, “what will people think about …., what if they think….. , I want to make them happy.” Do you struggle with people pleasing? If so, which part is the hardest for you?

3. Evaluate how close are you to this prayer. “I want to bring God glory and not myself. I want the praise only directed towards Him. I want to want only His desires and not my own. I don’t need the credit. I want to build His kingdom and not my own." The closer we get to the words of John the Baptist, “He must become greater and I must become less,” the more trustworthy and usable we are for God.

Make a determination that you will not make your ideas your idol. We need to be open to God's revisions, changes, and detours. It doesn’t always have to be our way. This life isn’t about us. Detours and delays are part of the purpose.

Write two things:

-What God-revisions to your plans have thrown you for a loop? How you can shift your perspective about those revisions that didn’t go your way?

-Record your evaluations and thoughts about your motives and the scripture(s) that you are memorizing.

Excerpts were taken by permission from Casey Graves' new Bible study companion to her book Perfectly Weak. Casey shared more insight to the book in last week's episode of Let's Talk with Sanctuary, Sanctuary's BRAND NEW PODCAST. Subscribe and listen to Episode Two with Casey and host Bridgette Tomlin on your favorite podcast app or by clicking here. Looking for more? Visit Sanctuary's archives for a series from Casey in early 2020 about both her book and its Bible study companion.

Casey Graves is a wife, momma to two girls, and co-pastor/planter of Foundations Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She enjoys a good cup of coffee with a friend or a family date day when she finds some spare time. What draws her to Sanctuary is her desire to truly share her vulnerabilities and struggles to help others dealing with similar wounds and insecurities that come with ministry. Casey recently published her first book, Perfectly Weak, now available at Amazon or on the couple's ministry site. For info about the brand new Bible study, order here. You can connect with Casey by email by clicking here.

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