Honor is a term we’re all familiar with. In my life, it came down to fulfilling commitments I had made or reading about knights in times long gone. There was minimal, if any, practical use for the word in my everyday existence. It held much more significance on a poetic level than on a personal level; but that’s the world we live in. One where honor is just a nice thought from times gone by, and where doing whatever it takes to get ahead or build yourself up is priority one. Going out of your way to do something for another is a rarity; it’s a “me” society with no room for frivolities like honor.
So what happens when you feel like you stepped into a time-warp and suddenly honor is the word of the day and a culture you can’t escape? Granted, it’s not something you want to escape; it’s just a major shock to your system. That’s the world I entered upon moving to NC and joining Elevation. For the first time in my life since I turned fourteen, I’m not working (by choice); which means I’m dedicating all of my time to writing and volunteering. I meet with fellow volunteers at least five times a week and I cannot go even an hour without someone mentioning honor. Whether it is honoring our time to make sure we pray and are dismissed when they told us, honoring those we are volunteering for, honoring those who reach out to us, honoring those in leadership above us, honoring each other, honoring our relationships, honoring the blessings we have each day…this list could go on forever. The culture is grounded in honor in a way our society has never seen. Honestly, it takes time to adjust to it. I love it beyond words, but it’s hard to rewire your brain after 26 years of the world telling you how to do things. I’ve never been a particularly selfish person, but the world still finds ways to make you exist within its realm of expectations. It’s a humbling experience and I’m blessed by how it is changing me.
I’ve been trying to figure out just how to delve into this idea of honor for over a week now; it’s what has kept me from posting: trying to honor this concept of honor. But I’m starting to realize that honoring something doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or do it in a perfect way. Honor is about intention and action. Am I the perfect Christian? Absolutely not. But do I honor God by listening to His voice with an open heart and stepping out in what He calls me to do? Yes. Honor is about the journey. It’s not a goal you one day achieve but rather who you are in the everyday.
Not only have I been learning how to exist within an honor-culture, but I’ve also been slapped in the face with realizations this week about dishonor. Twice. I just finished Lysa TerKeurst‘s book “The Best Yes” and she discusses how she had difficulty making the transition from wanting to be a writer to actually becoming one. This is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. I knew my passion was writing but never thought I’d be able to make anything of it. I have never doubted that God was the one who gave me this passion, yet still believed I would never be able to publish a book. I didn’t realized that I was dishonoring my gift and ultimately God by not embracing my passion and stepping out in faith. Lysa calls this passion a “soul thing” and puts it this way:
“It isn’t about selfish ambitions or vein conceits. It’s giving voice to what otherwise just stays a quiet whisper locked inside. It’s about letting out that cry of passion God entrusted to you. It’s about letting it all the way out so as to touch others, help others, and bless others. To do this soul thing is actually the exact opposite of selfishness. Keeping it inside with no chance to bless others would be the selfish thing to do. With the right attitude, letting it come to fruition is the only way it can serve others.”
This gave me a completely new perspective on my passion for writing. I had always kept it on the back burner; a nice hobby I did well when I was inspired, but never made a priority. I always had responsibilities that had to take precedence; so it seemed pretty selfish to spend time doing something I love rather than the things that were necessary. But this book made me realize that I had been entrusted with a gift and by not using it I am dishonoring the plan God has for me. Not only that, but there are lives God is planning to touch with the words He speaks through me; if I don’t speak His words to those people, will they ever hear His voice? Only He knows, but that’s not a risk I want to take.
The second slap in the face I received, came from “Wild Goose Chase,” a book by Mark Batterson. He brings up this idea of being “irresponsibly responsible”, meaning we get so caught up in the responsibilities we have to the world that we are irresponsible with the calling God has for us. We forget that nothing is impossible for God and let fear take over. He puts it like this:
“Over the course of our lifetime, God-ordained passions tend to get buried beneath day-to-day responsibilities. Less important responsibilities displace more important ones. And our responsibilities become spiritual excuses that keep us from the adventure God has destined for us.”
He goes on to say, “When God puts a passion in your heart…that God-ordained passion becomes your responsibility. And you have a choice to make. Are you going to be irresponsibly responsible or responsibly irresponsible?” [The latter is when you are responsible with your calling in a way that it appears irresponsible in a worldly sense.] “…pursuing a God-ordained passion, no matter how crazy it seems, is the most responsible thing you can do.”
This is exactly the trap I had fallen into. Using my responsibilities as an excuse to avoid my calling. That’s not how I want to live my life. I want to honor God as much as I’m capable and that means fully embracing the passions in my heart. I’ve realigned my intentions and my actions to do just that. I’m making space for writing in my schedule and I’m doing my best to speak meaningful things God is teaching me. It’s a journey, not a goal. I will never be perfect in my efforts but I am growing closer to Him as I embrace what He has to offer.
I hope what God is working in me encourages you to take a deeper look within yourself. Is there a certain passion you’ve always had but never embraced? Is there a tugging on your heart for a certain group of people, but you let fear of failure keep you stationary? Do you excel at something but let the responsibilities of everyday get in the way of stepping out? Dare to be different. Remember God’s faithfulness. Stop living by the rules the world wants you to adhere to. Those rules do nothing but trap you into normalcy. God has made you into a walking miracle; but you’ll only manifest the gifts He’s given you if you take those first steps. Let God guide your path; and let your life become honor-bound to Him. There’s nothing greater.