I can remember when God began to stir within me my desire to not live status quo. I was discontented with how my life was going, knew there was more but not sure what or how. God has been taking me on an adventure ever since of wooing my heart and waking up my desire to live abundantly.
It is easy to allow life responsibilities to crowd out living sold out for Jesus. The days are full of highs and lows, various rivers all wanting top stop in our lives, things that we need to do. And they are good things. They are great relationships. Jesus is there and Jesus cares about them. We are called to full surrender; to make Jesus our number one priority, to join Jesus on this great adventure of life. Then how do we work thru this tension of Jesus first & not living status quo “normal” lives and the reality that Jesus works thru the every day, moment by moment events and relationships in our lives?
Do you plan out your day? Do you wing it? How loosely do you hold onto your day & what is going to happen? How do you handle interruptions? Are they inconvenience or seen as an opportunity & moment of where Jesus is showing up?
When we get caught up in the planned out minute to minute detail of our day we miss Jesus. We miss him because we are focused on the plan and not the path & not our guide. As we begin to live a life of full surrender we have our hands open wide and face up. How easy is it to hold onto things when our hands are open & face up? Its not. Surrender means letting go of each and every area of our life – allowing God to infiltrate it. It means letting him decide what happens with those areas. He may give them back. He may keep them away. He may remold them into something vastly different and hand them back. Its His decision. His call. His choice.
Music is an idol and an area that I held onto very tightly in my life. My world growing up revolved around my music. I played the piano for competitions & accompanied choirs. I loved accompanying, the ability to be a part of the performance & help the choir, group – whoever I was playing with sound better. My pride was an issue though and it grew and grew. I saw myself as being needed, I was an integral part of what happened. I also thought that if I wasn’t playing in someway that I was not able to connect to Jesus. I needed to play – it was my life line to throne. There was some truth to that as Jesus was bringing me back from my waywardness, but reality was my pride was in the way. My playing the piano had gotten in the way of Jesus and what He was doing. So He took it away. It was subtle at first, and I still did not get the hint. I was good with normal – serving, playing, being a part of church but not following and On the Mission. So then He ripped it away. Hardest and best thing for me. I hear from people now and then about it and how my playing touched them. I know that was Jesus thru me, because when I tried to play of my own accord it NEVER worked the way I wanted, but when I surrendered and let Him play thru me – that is when I could sense Him profoundly there & working thru me. Playing the piano is not something that He has given back to me. I will play at times just to play, but in a worship environment or publicly – its not something He gave back.
This was the first of many painful stops along the journey of God wooing me to himself & bringing me to a place of following Him and not wanting normal. Its not easy to live a life surrendered. Its hard. Jennie mentions in her book – “its flat costly.” BUT its worth the cost.
The memory verse we were studying this week is “When hard pressed, I cried out to the Lord and He brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Ps 118:5-6
Life is tough. A surrendered life is tough. Its also beautiful. Full of peace. Jesus is right there when the highs and lows come. When you cry out – He doesn’t just move you over to the side. He moves you to a spacious place. Is that spacious place physical? Is a removal of the situation? The problem? The heart ache? No – it’s a place where HE is. Where He loves on you. It’s a place that is bigger – more beautiful that we can imagine or express. A place where life’s events does not damage but rather becomes a piece of the most beautiful masterpiece created – YOU. A reflection of the Creator. It’s a safe place. And its right here – but our mindset needs to change, from going thru the motions of the day to living surrendered; hands open wide and facing up.
I think that sometimes the spacious place is the wilderness. In Hosea 2 we read about God alluring Israel into the wilderness and speaking tenderly to her.
The wilderness – a place of solitude; a place of renewal; a place of learning; a place of isolation; a place of little distractions.
Its not easy to surrender, to live a life that is empty of ourselves. Jesus took himself off and prayed. He got away and spent time alone with the Father. Was it a bad thing? I think we often see the wilderness as a bad place, but I think we are missing a piece of the surrendered life. Its an opportunity to connect with the Father and let Him be our all. Sometimes we need to go to that quiet place a lot (and we have the time) other times we have snippets of time that allow us to get to that place of quiet and rest. It’s a time to listen. Time to process. Time to be poured into. Admonished. Loved. We often come in emptied & and tired; we leave filled and ready to walk.
“Now the may God of peace – who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood – may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT)
A Blog Response to going thru Good Morning Gals.Org’s study on Anything by Jennie Allen (week 2) with a group of amazing young women