as i lay my head on the pillow after a tough, long, day such as this was, my thoughts fall on the ministry i do & lead. and like some movie soundtrack, in the background of my thoughts play the words "dummy" "failure" "stupid" "you'll never amount to anything". and with it all the synonyms I grew up hearing from my dad. got a perplexing & somewhat embarrassing email tonight which turned the volume up on that soundtrack which was already playing since mid-day. the kind of email where you get a opposite response from what you were expecting & it throws you a bit. over something less than minor & easily cleared up. still something about this one threw me for a bit. but mainly it got me thinking about what quitting would look like & why i should do so & just disappear into endless boxes of malimars. these are fleeting thoughts, mind you. not temptations, but I thought them nonetheless. thought of what God firing me would look like. the kind of God who agrees with the "dummy " & "stupid" labels, puts them in his own mouth & says to me "yeah, you're a failure. you're fired." I could go clean toilets for a living instead of cleaning hearts & lives. i know when i wake that that soundtrack will have ceased & i will stand erect, then bend my knee to God, surrender all i have & am & ask Him to lead me & keep me & use me yet while it is day. in the morning light that email & this long tough day will hold no sway over my soul. but i confess, for a brief moment in the night, here in the night air, i'm not tempted to, but i am challenged to abdicate. it's raining outside. here's where I grab my jacket & go for a walk. God comes to a soul & throws giftings into it. And it is strange & wonderful & dangerous & soulful. And using them is like learning to ride a motorcycle. always an element of danger with skin that close to pavement. Then God comes to a soul & casts a vision. And the vision is weighty & glorious. There's a kind of baptism with it & people all around saying go for it... Then... led into the wilderness to be challenged. a unique kind of challenge, the kind that can't exist in the sourroundings & trappings of abundance & plenty & plenty to spare. the kind that can only exist in the context of a great stripping away both inward and outward. But what was that sound? slightly louder than the rain outside & the soundtrack inside... a whisper in me & then more firmly these words... "Bring it on!"