Have you ever had one of those moments when you are at a conference or during a sermon when the words being spoken seem directed only to you? It is as if no one else is present – only me, myself and I!
Lately everything seems directed to what I know I am being called to do next. It has become quite noisy. Last week, I was at a conference struggling to have the energy to be there. Really just wanted to stay home and have a day off. From the moment the conference began, I felt as if there was a neon sign hanging over my head saying, “Lisa, this message is for you. You cannot be a wallflower today!”
It was as if God was speaking so loud and clear the plans He had for me over the PA system. This was not the first time I had heard the plans. I did what anyone would do in a moment like that. I put my poker face on. You know the one! The look when one pretends the message was not for you! I thought I had pulled it off, until a co-worker sought me out. She said, “As I was watching the speaker, I felt that one day real soon you will be asked to do the same and inspire others.” It was as if I couldn’t escape the message of what God was telling me to do.
Later that day, feeling a little more relaxed and hoping the neon sign had burned out. I was wrong again! The wallflower approach was not going to work. God was pursuing me vigorously. The speaker shared a story that sealed the deal. It went like this; “Pretend you are playing poker with Jesus. Jesus is sitting across the table from you. It is your turn to place a bet. You look at the cards that He has dealt to you and say, “Lord I will only put in one of my chips based on what you have given to me.” Then it is Jesus’s turn. He looks at the hand of cards about you and says, “I am betting everything I have on you!” He places all His chips in the middle of the table, ready to gamble it all on you.
Wow, did that story hit me with a two by six plank. It stung so bad as the tears welled up in my eyes. My poker face could not hold out any longer. Christ knew exactly what I was doing. He was calling my bluff.
I was good at talking a good talk. Such as saying I was all in, when really I always held at least one chip back and hid it in my pocket for a rainy day. In the deepest places of my heart, I let fear hold me back. The fears of “Who am I, that anyone would be inspired about what I would have to write or say.” Or “Who am I that God would find me worthy to use this way?” “Really Lord, we have two girls in college, how can we pay for it if I dive all in? “
Right after the thought of steady paycheck the Scripture verses from Mark 10:17-25 came flooding into my heart.
Mark 10:17-25, “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The young man in the Bible did not have a great poker face either. His bluff was revealed after Jesus’s response. I was like the young man in Mark 10. I knew I would not be able to look into Christ’s face knowing that He gave up everything for me, while I held a part of myself back from him. It was time to throw all the chips in, or to live in regret for not gambling on Jesus! It was time to look Him in his beautiful eyes and push all my chips to the center of the table with the cards Christ has dealt to me.
Last night I played my poker hand during prayer time with my bible study women and their husbands, I confessed my fear, and offered to Jesus that I am all in.
So here it goes “Lord, I give you everything, especially my insecurities and fears. I trust Your Plan is perfect for me!” No more poker face!