The Hardest Thing I Had To Do in 2020
As I sit in my prayer room reflecting on where I am with God right now and listening to Steffany Gretzinger, I find myself repenting again. (INSERT: You should always live a repentant life if you're a child of God.) Just earlier I was speaking to my wife about all of my fears and frustrations. You know? Doing what normal lovebirds do right...unload on the one you love rather than taking it all to Jesus in prayer. Part of the reason for this misguided conversation is because you're afraid of what God will actually say back to you if you go into his presence complaining or with fears and frustrations. You're afraid of being rebuked...or worse...you're afraid of being brought up to the highest level of maturity concerning how you're looking at the current situation you're complaining about. Truth is...some of us don't want to grow up. We want to simply pout and cry about what we think the problem is. I unloaded all of my fears and frustrations...and while we were having a business meeting too...but my wife graciously listened with no condemnation. It all came out. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of never getting to realize all of my dreams. Frustration that we've both worked so hard, yet all of the dreams we've shared with one another hasn't quite been realized yet. And to be honest, each year that goes by I have found myself fighting between being grateful for another year and the frustration of being another year older and all the things I've desired to be and do hasn't been realized yet. Sometimes I resent not being able to accomplish certain things before my father passed. Not being able to repay him for all the hard work and love he showed me and my family. It eats me up inside at times. Yet, today, I'm driven to repentance again.
Though valid, I repent because the fear and frustration I walk in is actually selfish. I am often gently reminded by Holy Spirit that my desires should be rooted in one thing: to know and love Jesus, and for Jesus to know and love me. That's it. That's all.
I sit in His presence in Holy shame and repentance. No condemnation, but seriously feeling like a fool. When you get in the presence of God it has a way of immediately and gently bringing truth to you about yourself. I asked God last night in prayer to show me how far I am from Him, if at all. And today, He showed me just where I stand with Him. Though not out of communion with Him, I have been drifting a bit. When I was a kid, nothing else mattered but His presence, His will, His instruction. Whatever He said is what I went with. But then you grow up and you begin to see others accomplishing things that you've grown a desire for. You watch the years go by and the things you shouted about when your Pastor said, "It's yours," haven't come to pass yet. And you can't help but wonder if you're loved or even considered by God. Ha! Yeah, a trick of the enemy. Things happening in your favor is not a direct correlation of God's love. In fact, His love is not even contingent upon anything else but the simple fact that He does. No matter how much you perform, no matter how much you pray, no matter where you go, or what you do it is God who chooses when, where, how, and even who to bless. As a child, I knew this and knew that my life was in His hands, but nowadays my flesh often wants to get up on the throne and rule. You know? Take matters into my own hands. Ha! As if I even have the strength, power, or wisdom to take my destiny in my own hands. Biggest lie culture teaches us. When the flesh mounts the throne, it's up to us to dethrone it by doing one of the hardest things to do...and that is to SURRENDER.
When God wants us closer to Him, when God wants us engulfed and engrafted in Him more, when God wants us deeper in Him He will allow us to come to a place of fear and frustration just so we can be driven back into his presence. His presence is what provokes you to surrender. These moments of surrender is what breaks us into the realm of faith and love we need to be in always.
2020 and 2021 is the most perfect example of what I'm talking about. After my father dying in February of 2020 and four uncles dying between the months of January 2020 and June 2021, after my wife and I having 50-60% of our church roster walk away from our ministry, after ALL of it...I had to learn to surrender my way through it all. By far, the hardest thing I've ever had to do and am ever having to continue to do. See, it's not enough to just surrender one time, but you must maintain your surrender.
Living a life of total, full, and continual surrender is what provokes God's peace and power in our life.
Think about it. Your flesh, your will, your desires can't be anywhere in the equation if you're going to allow God to do the leading, and if you're going to walk in a grace and power outside of your own finite strength. We often get in the way of the flow of God's peace and power in our lives because we will too much. God's calling me and perhaps you to another moment and opportunity of surrender. As bad as it may hurt, give up your will to be right. Give up your will to be first. Give up your will to be the best, the accomplished, give up your will to be in control, or the whatever it is you've been fighting for. If you can do that, then and only then is when the peace and power of God can flow in your life and bring you into the fullness of what God wants and has dreamt for you.
Can you trust God's dream for you over your own? Can you trust that He can dream an even bigger dream than you could ever for yourself? Can you surrender your idea of a God life, for His idea? My answer today is, "Yes! Yes Lord, I can and I will...no matter how much it hurts and no matter how much it frightens me. I know you will not put me to shame, but that you love me. And I choose to see the beauty in who you are and what you want for me."
If you want to see it all come together for you...Today...you've got to surrender.
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