If I Were As I Want To Be, What Would It Look Like? – Margo G. Houts


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Paul Cox recently invited me to reflect on the above question. After receiving my reply, he asked me to turn it into an article that he could share with others who come to him looking for greater wholeness, freedom and healing, but sometimes need help articulating what freedom and healing might look like. I prayerfully offer my list not as a template, but rather as inspirational grist for the mill of discipleship that is uniquely your own.

One of the things I learned this year about the late Corrie ten Boom of Holland is that she loved to make plans. Even as a young girl, she had already made many plans. Sixteen were on Corrie’s list at one point when a childhood friend (who admitted that she herself had not planned anything) asked Corrie, “How many of those do you think you can work out?” Corrie replied, “If I work out only two of my plans, I will have done more than nothing!” (P.R. Moore, The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom, Zondervan, 1986, p. 48).

I love her gumption. Surely Corrie ten Boom would value Paul Cox’s invitation to cast a vision for personal transformation, so as to move from a nebulous feeling of there-has-to-be-more, to vision, to actually making plans.

Allow me to preface my list by clarifying that I drafted it last month during a season of bruising spiritual warfare, and that I am keenly aware of the wide gulf between what is on my list and what my current inner and outer worlds look like. Yet because I have never found it productive to focus on the gulf, I have decided instead to focus on the vision. Each time I stop to listen, I can hear my Lord calling me to lean into the vision by fighting back against the enemy and never giving up, no matter what. He speaks this to me through his Word and through what the late John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard churches, once wrote about good soldiering:

“There’s a point in spiritual warfare where you decide you won’t be beaten. You’re going to keep going until Jesus returns. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone to sleep saying, ‘God, I’m not going to quit no matter how bad I feel. No matter what they do, no matter what happens next.’ . . . A soldier’s life includes hardship. A good soldier endures it without giving up.” (C. Wimber, The Way In Is the Way On: John Wimber’s Teachings and Writings on Life in Christ, Ampel?ublishing, 2006, p. 147).

Once I decided that I would not be beaten, nor discouraged by the width of the gulf, I began to gain confidence that in the very midst of the battle Father God is fully able to transform me into the image of Christ, and that his grace is more than sufficient as I pursue greater freedom, empowered by Jesus’ name.

If I were as I want to be, it would look like this:

• I would access and remain intimately connected with the Father’s heart throughout each day, secure in his love for me, able to accurately discern his will for me, and fully surrendered to his will, as he has revealed it.
• I would carry Jesus’ heart for the lost and share his heart with them.
• I would be free to connect other people to the Father’s heart and equip them for transformational ministry.
• I would be free to serve and minister in the ways the Lord directs me (e.g., preaching, teaching, writing), unfettered by impediments of gender, race, class, marital status, or age.
• I would be free to be as passionate, authentic, truthful, and confident as God designed me to be.
• I would be free to receive by faith all that God has given and released to me in Christ.
• I would be free from all generational curses and all generational patterns that I have empowered out of ignorance and rebellion.
• I would live daily with an unoffendable heart (e.g., I would guard my heart from taking offense at what God has not done; instead, I would celebrate what God has done).
• I would be walking in greater spiritual authority (e.g., “armed and dangerous, 24/7” to the enemies of God) and seeing daily challenges as opportunities to gain even more authority.
• I would be free from the influence of all lie-based pain, and increasingly effective in releasing to Jesus all truth-based pain.
• All the suffering in my life would be productive for the Kingdom (no unproductive pain).
• My mind would daily undergo transformation and renewal according to the Lord’s thoughts and ways so that I would carry the mind of Christ (his perspective, his single-mindedness) into every situation.
• I would be walking in all nine fruits of the Spirit, especially love for God and love for people.
• I would be operating effectively and confidently in all the gifts of the Spirit, especially the knowing gifts.
• I would be deeply-rooted in and serving a community that displays honor as well as hunger for God (e.g., willing to pay any price, including dishonor, in order to have more of God).
• Instead of having to bear up under distracting physical challenges (which can come across to some as poor advertising for Holy Spirit’s power), I would be walking in divine health (inner healing, spiritual healing, physical healing) and increasingly see others walking in it.
• I would be able to build on the favor I have already earned (e.g., I would not have to keep earning favor from the bottom of the heap, as is the case with interim positions).
• I would see myself and be seen by others the way that Father God sees me (not the way the enemy sees me).
• I would see more fruit from my intercessory prayers on behalf of those “in my cluster”—my family and my family line, my denomination, and my community.
• I would be able to see evidence of long-lasting fruit (“fruit that lasts,” John 15:16); futility and barrenness would be a thing of the past.
• I would be living out “truth-based” relationships, with God, myself, and others.
• I would have a larger capacity for joy and an increasing ability to more quickly deflect rejection, disappointment, and powerlessness. Following any hardship, I would be quick to get back to my “base camp” of emotional peace and joy.
• I would keep short accounts with God: I would be able to feel my sin, be truly sorry for it, and come to God asking his help, trusting in his open arms of forgiveness (i.e., I would become an expert in hitting the “quick release button” of guilt and shame).
• I would be increasingly bringing truth and justice (which are especially important to me) to my community and to the nations (e.g., I would be working effectively with others to end sex trafficking in the USA).
• I would know my Maker’s unique design for my being, including the ways that he designed me to thrive, and I would joyfully explore with him the innate desires that he placed in my spirit and soul.
• My body would be in perfect subjection to my soul, my soul would be in perfect subjection to my spirit, and my spirit would be in perfect subjection to Holy Spirit (e.g., my spirit would be fully integrated as God intended and occupy the seat of dominion at the core of my being).
• I would live emotionally grounded in God’s nature and in his heart for me, fully responsible for the truth I already possess, while pressing in for more wisdom and understanding into truths I do not yet possess, truths to help me better serve my King and his kingdom.
• I would be effectively pressing in to possess my birthright, confident in knowing it is God’s desire that I experience fulfillment, succeed and leave a legacy.
• My being and my doing would become one.
• I would be planting churches as part of a team; we would regularly see signs and wonders accompany the preaching of the Word, all glory going to Jesus Christ.
• I would be serving under a spiritual covering that is pleasing to the Lord (e.g., one that does not grieve or quench Holy Spirit).
• The spiritual atmosphere in my home would expand into my neighborhood, transforming the the land (cleansing it, releasing its godly resources, establishing a tower of righteousness).
• I would not only be financially stable and marketable, but would have bountiful resources for a ministry of giving, sowing into others and building platforms under others.
• I would be married to a godly man with egalitarian ideals, with whom I could partner in full-time kingdom ministry. Our home would be a place of radical hospitality and transformational peace.

There’s the familiar proverb, “It’s easier to hit a mark if you can see it.” Corrie ten Boom lived this proverb and inspired others to live it, too. Even so, I still had to conquer hesitation before I was able to start drafting my list. I think I was afraid that if I wrote it down, I’d be opening the door to disappointment. You may be feeling hesitation, too. I hope it encourages you to hear that once I got past the fear, I found the exercise energizing. As I looked back over it, I was able to marvel in a new way at God’s character and God’s plans for me. I believe this can happen for you, too.

Accordingly, I invite you to sit before the Lord. Ask him to whisk away any hesitation or fear, and then ask him to help you craft your own list. You might want to start with a list of ten, or five, and add more as they come to you. Next, ask him to help you prioritize your list according to his timing, showing you what is for now and what is for later. Then take the “for now” items (setting aside the others for the time being) and pray them daily for 21 days, thanking him that he has called you to grow in these areas during the current season. As you pray through them, expect him to show you (and listen for) one or two specific steps that you can be taking right now, and write them down as he gives them to you. Then ask for buckets of grace to accomplish them.

Thank you, Father God, for placing these godly desires in our hearts in the first place. And thank you for the opportunity to experience your grace at each step of this roller-coaster journey into Christlikeness. In Jesus’ name, so be it.

The Rev. Dr. Margo G. Houts is an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1986, Ph.D., 1993), she has served congregations in Pasadena, Philadelphia, Stockton, Spokane, San Mateo, Hemet, and Altadena. She has specialized in Interim Pastor ministry since 2001, and has participated in short-term mission work in Guatemala and Brazil. Since 1991, Dr. Houts has held teaching and administrative positions in educational institutions in California, Michigan, Washington, and Arizona, offering courses in Systematic Theology, Presbyterian beliefs, Biblical Interpretation, and others. Her research interests include worship and culture, language about God, atonement, biblical interpretation, early Christian catacomb art, the history of revival, and Christian dream interpretation. For the past 16 mos., she has led a weekly home group in Hemet, California, fondly dubbed “Aslan’s Group,” inasmuch as the group gathers in order to practice Hebrews 5:14 discernment. God also has them targeting healing of the land, especially the San Jacinto Valley.