One of my favorite teaching axioms is “expression deepens impression.” From a teacher’s perspective, if you want to enhance impact of something, it helps to have participants share with a partner or the class what they are learning. The very process of sharing it creates a greater likelihood of it being remembered, and hopefully applied.
So, too, it helps me when I read a good book to write down some of the highlights in my journal, and sometimes on my blog as well. A few weeks ago I finished a book that I’ve owned for a few years (thanks to Scott Shaum’s annual reading list!) but finally read it in early fall. It’s called Anonymous, by Alicia Britt Chole. Great book… with the premise being that during the anonymous seasons of our lives, God can do his best work: “The Father’s work in us does not sleep — though in spiritual winters he retracts all advertisement” (page 3). Jesus is Chole’s main example — ninety percent of his earthly life was spent in obscurity; ten percent in the public eye. It was what God did during that ninety percent that made his ten percent “absolutely indestructible.” As a friend of the author’s said to her, “I feel that trials do not prepare us for what’s to come as much as they reveal what we’ve done with our lives up to this point”
The anonymous years in our own lives may come from a variety of causes: change in job; moving; seasons where we are more homebound or removed from leadership for various reasons; starting something new; motherhood :). Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“Sweetness through hiddenness guarantees abundance in harvest in God’s good and perfect time.” (p. 181).
“The One who planted us… will be faithful to grow us. Father knows best and would never sabotage his own. He is, after all, good. We are stewards, not owners, of the fruit he cultivates in our lives…”
This quote gets me every time I read it: “When our potential seems stifled, we can easily begin to believe that someone or something is standing in our way: our leaders are nearsighted or that supervisor is jealous or our spouse is holding us back, the old guard has lost vision… But is God’s will really that fragile? Does he not foresee? Is he caught offguard? Is he unprepared? Along with unmodified obedience, a sweet spirit is one of the most powerful guardians of tomorrow.” (p. 173)
“Over the years, Jesus’ consistent choice to submit to his Father God’s will and Word clustered and built momentum as he stepped out of his anonymous season and into the waters of the Jordan River. There, the Holy Spirit descended not on talent, title, or worldly possessions but upon the submitted heart, mind and spirit of Jesus.” (p. 150).
Powerful words. I want God to descend on my submitted heart, whatever the present, past, or future holds. My mentor used to often say – paraphrased — that it’s not so important what happens, but how we respond to it. Thank God that His will – it really is not that fragile.