Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

Thanks for stopping by!

{Five Minute Friday | Test}

It's Five Minute Friday. That means unplanned, unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you just write whatever comes out based on a word you're given. If you have five minutes, you should give it a try!  Find out how here.

This week the prompt is {TEST}. This is also Day 7 of the 31 Day Writing Challenge! WOO!

Ready? GO.

For most of us, the word doesn’t conjure up happy feelings. Maybe once we’ve been tested and have passed the happy feelings come, but not usually before. Yeah, before a test there tends to be a lot of hand wringing and last minute studying. A test measures what you know, but it also reveals what you don’t know. Ah, there’s the value of the test. Identifying specific areas of weakness provides an opportunity for growth. I need this in my life all the way around — as a wife, mom, friend, as a leader, and as a girl who wants her life to reflect the best of who she is in Christ. Don’t we all? I'd say we do.

That’s why I appreciate the prayer attached to the end of Psalm 139 (one of my favorites).

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Um. Yeah. Praying that kind of prayer takes a bravery of sorts because it’s another one God will always answer with a yes. And, it might hurt a little as God begins to point out areas where He needs to go to work in us. But even more than bravery, it takes an incredible amount of trust in and vulnerability with God. But see, David intimately knew God. He knew Him to be faithful and full of unfailing love, so David was completely at ease with giving God full, with the unrestricted access to his heart and mind. I want to be like that more often than I manage it now, the unrestricted access. I want to come before God and say here’s my heart, search me. Here’s my mind, test my thoughts. Then, correct me. The last thing I want is something that’s hidden in the depths of my heart or mind — some way of thinking, some sinful attitude or behavior to be offensive to Him or keep me from the path He intends for me. But those things are often the hardest to see and know about ourselves. But, here’s the thing: there’s always something that God can be working on in us. To say “no, I’m good” would mean we’re either perfect (um, no) or proud (that’s more likely). I’d much rather be saying Lord, keep growing me into the girl you meant me to be, rather than holding Him at arm's length insisting that I don't need any work. To believe for a second that I’ve arrived at a place where God's finished working on me means I forfeit the beautiful and wonderful things He has for me in the next season of growth. But we have to ask Him the hard questions and pray the scary prayers that invite Him to work in us. Who better to trust, though, with the testing of our hearts and minds? There is no one better than the One who created us. He had a vision and purpose for our lives before we existed. And He’s good. So good. 

I believe we have to be intentional about moving toward Him. So, may I encourage you today to take a step of faith toward Him by praying these verses of prayer along with me? Because, God, more than anything we want to be women who reflect the light and love of Jesus brightly. Do a work in us that only You can do.