“One of the greatest battles Christians face is NOT doing the will of God… it’s DOING God’s will, GOD’s WAY”. ~Charles R. Swindoll (Saying it Well, 2012)
I decided a few years ago that my journey toward my purpose and my destiny were too important to approach each day with a willy-nilly attitude. I’ve already wasted too much time deciding and resolving only to forget all about my resolution within a few weeks and find myself no better than I was the year before.
Sound familiar? If that’s you then stay with me a few minutes, maybe we can figure this out together. If you’re great at making resolutions and actually keeping them then I applaud you! But, I don’t want you to go just yet. Can I ask you to stay with me too so that you know exactly how you can pray for me this year?
I’m choosing one word to take me deeper in my relationship with God and move me closer toward my life’s purpose.
My one word this year is SURRENDER.
Always in control
God wired me this way. Why would I resist my natural design?
I googled the word surrender. OUCH! God was telling me to stop resisting Him. I was resisting God? How could that be when I’ve been on an intentional journey to KNOW Him?
I began to pray and He showed me some “stuff” that I had been holding on to. Stuff He wanted me to let go of. I’ll have to take a quick trip back to my childhood (again) to make sense of this. (side note: while I know it’s always better to show than tell, I have to confess it’s too difficult so please bear with me as I tell you my story today and maybe someday, I will pen the words that will allow you to see where I’ve been and how I got here).
Deep breath….here we go.
My natural design combined with circumstances and events beyond my control, were the basis for my need to control.
For the most part, I was a super silly, confident little girl. I had an amazing childhood and came from a tight-knit family. My parents gave me and my siblings everything we needed and nearly everything we wanted. But I had a secret. Actually more like a few secrets. One of them being poor body image. I was insecure.
Isolated events during my childhood impacted me in ways I can’t articulate, and I honestly don’t want to try. The effects were significant. I was wounded. Some of those scars left me with great anxiety and afraid of boys; fears that created challenges into my teenage years.
I don’t know how it happened but I eventually started “dating” even though I was terrified; terrified that the boy I was dating would try to get too close, or worse, kiss me. I know, that doesn’t exactly sound like a nightmare. But I was afraid and incredibly guarded when it came to my body.
I finally worked up the courage to tell him my whole truth. His response would inevitably change my life. With compassion in his eyes and tenderness in his voice he spoke words my heart wasn’t prepared to hear. He assured me that I never had to do anything I didn’t feel comfortable doing and so he just held my hand…for a very.long.time. I felt safe. That safety wasn’t just because of the incredible respect he demonstrated for me; his words somehow empowered me and washed away my fears.
Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24
I suddenly had control in an area of my life I thought I had no control over.
His gift to me, this well-intentioned lesson, eventually took on a life of its own and creeped into other areas of my life. Over time it would affect my relationships. I could control how close I let anyone get to me. And, if I felt hurt or disappointed I could simply put up physical and emotional walls and I wouldn’t be hurt again. Holding onto hurt and disappointment kept me from letting my guard down. It became my sort of safety blanket. I could also control what I wanted people to know about me and how they perceived me. Controlling everything and not letting anything go was my way of making sure I was always safe.
In need of open heart surgery
I was pretty sure I had a solid relationship with God and my control issues weren’t really a problem. They just protected me. Thinking I could control every area of my life, attempting to protect myself, however, slowly forced God out, making way for other things to sit on the throne. Including my husband. He was so good at taking care of me and protecting me that I’ve entrusted him with responsibilities that only belong to the Lord.
As this cycle of transferring power and building walls continued into my adult years my heart grew colder and harder.
When I experienced tragic losses in 2005 I found myself questioning everything I knew about God. Married with three children, I was suddenly unsure that I ever really controlled anything. This uncertainty paved the way for me to walk into a season of reckless behavior.
We all know how that season of rebellion ended for me. It wasn’t pretty. And, while I’ve asked the Lord to forgive me it’s clear there’s still work to do–starting with taking down the walls I spent years building. It’s more like open heart surgery because it’s not just about accepting His will for my life but its also about accepting His way. God’s will, God’s way.
The only way to really be safe is to let Him drive.
Have you seen that scene that’s repeated in countless TV shows and movies where two people are in a car fighting over the steering wheel because the passenger doesn’t agree with where the driver is headed or how he’s getting there? Then there’s the hilarious episode when the guy sitting in the back seat jumps in on the fun. Yes, it makes for predictably funny TV but in real life it’s not funny. It’s dangerous.
My husband often reminds me that cars are built with only one steering wheel, one gas and one break pedal for a reason. There can only be one driver. Otherwise, the car ends up all over the road or in a wreck.
My desire to steer has to give way to the reality that He’s a much better driver than I am — Only God knows what’s behind me, what’s hiding around the bend and the road blocks that lie ahead. And, He’s known where He’s wanted to take me since before I made my grand entrance on this side of heaven.
I’m starting 2014 resolved to stay in my seat so that He can drive. I’ve been fighting for control far too long. Trying to steer where I think I should be going on and holding on to things that are only weighing me down. Things I’ve been carrying far too long. He’s calling me to surrender, to lay down my will, to learn to trust Him and rely only on Him, especially when it doesn’t make sense.
Don’t worry about how it ends, that’s already been resolved. Just get started!
I’m sure I’ll be tempted to turn back to my old ways. It’s where I’ve been most comfortable and confident. Even if just for a moment. It’s like being on a strict, starch-free diet and instinctively grabbing a doughnut or a bowl of mashed potatoes when you’re having a bad day.
I’m not perfect and I don’t have it all together. I’m sure there will be tough days ahead and I might even reach for the steering wheel or some “comfort food” along the way. I’m okay with that as long as I don’t give up. And, if I try to figure it all out first I’ll never get anywhere.
I’m on a new journey this year; a journey to relinquish control and deepen my faith to die to myself so that I can live free in Him. As I learn to surrender this year I’m going in believing Paul wrote this just for me:
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. ~Philippians 1:6 NLT
I’m yielding to Him; His will and His way because my future, my destiny and my precious family depend on it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR from my family to yours!
Learning and sharing as I journey to KNOW, REFLECT and surrender all to Him,
PS If you’re joining me in the One Word challenge or you think your friends will benefit from finding their One Word hit the Facebook like button on the floating menu bar to the left of your screen. You can also Tweet me and tell me about it.