Have you ever read a book and noticed that your word for the year was mentioned numerous times? Or perhaps someone mentions a word or topic to you and for the next week, you notice more articles on this topic than ever before. Well, I just learned that we can thank our reticular activating system in our brain for helping us notice these words. You might be saying- what is she talking about. Let me explain further. “We are constantly bombarded by countless stimuli vying for our attention and it is the job of the RAS (reticular activating system) is to determine what gets noticed and what goes unnoticed.” Mark Batterson talks about the RAS in his book, “Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson, a 40 Day prayer challenge. This is a phenomenal book that I totally recommend, however, I have another book in mind to highlight for the month of February.
Before I share the book, let me say that for me, this has happened consistently for my word of the year. Last year, I chose the word, depth and I was so pleasantly surprised how many references to deep roots and trees there were in almost every book I read. I started thinking that there were probably references to depth in books I read years before but I never noticed it because I had not made that word my focus. Well, the same is happening for my word this year, faithful. It is so exciting to see it numerous times in my 1 & 2 Kings bible study as well as devotionals and books I am reading. I have to say that I love our RAS, that “special cluster of nerve cells as the base of the brain stem” that helps us notice things”.
So, I was super excited what I started reading Unstoppable: Running the Race You were Born to Win by Christine Caine and my word faithful appeared over and over again. Christine is a very powerful speaker and writer and I have been lucky to hear her speak at a couple different conferences over the last couple years and let me say that God truly speaks through this woman! Her words are powerful in both audible and written form and this book is truly phenomenal. Here is one my favorite quotes from her book, “But if you stay faithful in your pursuit of God and learn to embrace your place, then his work in and through you will be unstoppable!”
Christine relates our Christian walk to a divine relay. I love what she says, “God has plucked you out of eternity, positioned you in time and given you gifts and talents to serve him in this generation. Your race is now. This is your time in history. You’ve been handed the baton of faith and entrusted to carry it forward as you run your part in God’s divine relay.” Love this!! She encourages us in her book to take our God-given abilities and gifts and use them now to help others, to grow the church and share Christ with others. She encourages you to “run the race marked out for you.”
This is going to look different for you and for me because God has designed each of us so uniquely! Your gifts are different than my gifts and instead of comparing and wishing we were like someone else, we just need to “embrace our place”. In her book, she says that “God chooses the part we play and as we give God our time, our gifts, our resources, and our talents, He will use them to have a critically important and eternal impact on this world.” We just have to be obedient and notice the divine appointments God has set up for us! We need to pray that God makes us “noticers” so we can use our gifts and resources for Him.
Maybe you are thinking that you are not qualified to do what God is calling you to do! I would say to you, that many people do not feel qualified but I think that is a good thing because then you are fully relying on God’s strength and power to do what He has called you to do. Listen to what Christine says, “No matter where you are in the race at this point, God is committed to grow you into a champion. You are never limited to your own strength and power. The strength and power of your everlasting God is ready to be unleashed in you!” I don’t know about you but I want God to unleash his strength and power over our lives so we can be flame throwers for Jesus. (A little Side Note: at the if gathering this year, they talked about being a light to the world but not just a tiny candle like we usually think of. But instead they challenged us to make such an impact that we are more like a flame thrower for Jesus- I just loved that and wanted to share it with you)
Do you want to be a flame thrower for Jesus? I know I do! Then I encourage you to “embrace your place” and run your race that God has set out for you? Christine encourages you to “see your past and into your future through new eyes, recognizing all the ways God has intervened to prepare you for a life filled with meaning, purpose and love.” I pray we have new eyes to NOTICE all that God has done for us and all that God is preparing to do in us. I pray we will be “noticers” and be obedient when God prompts us!
Again, this book is so full of truth and wisdom and I totally recommend you read the whole book but I want to end with this quote from Christine. “God has chosen you. Prepared you. Placed you. Now run into your exchange zone, hand outstretched and open and grasp every baton he brings your way. Discover that not only are you making a difference in the world, but God is making a difference in you. Hand off those batons to others and discover the thrill of seeing God exponentially multiply his work. Inspire your fellow runners to run at their peak through your encouragement and example, and see God’s work multiply all the more. The world will be forever changed because of you.”
Love this- Let’s be world changers, flame throwers for Jesus! Who’s ready to be unstoppable?