In my last blog I wrote about trust. I said I would tell you my answer to God's question to me. The question of whether or not I was willing to trust him no matter what may happen? Like Job, my answer was an emotional 'although you slay me, yet I will trust in you'. So, yeah, my answer was yes.
I went to bed that night thinking, oh Lord, please don't slay me! I think I should have included my car. Because I woke up to a smashed window and my purse stolen. Stranded 400 miles from home with a 1/4 tank of gas, no money and no idea how I was going to get home. Panic and fear hit me for about 5 minutes as I tried to grasp the magnitude of what just happened. Then I remembered my commitment to God less than 12 hours earlier...
It was now a day to put my resolve to the test, and much (and I mean MUCH!) to my surprise, it felt incredibly peaceful to not go down the spiral of resentment, anger and bitterness. I had to consciously choose to take the path of Surrendering my right for justice, blame and resentment. I had to choose immediately to hand over, my hurt, panic and the feeling of being violated over to the one I chose to Trust. I kept repeating, 'I know nothing escaped your eye and for whatever reason you chose to allow this. I don't understand and I am a little afraid right now, but Yet, I will trust you'.
Who in real life has this kind of response after such a violation? Surely someone else occupied my body, mind and spirit in this situation.
Oh wait... yes indeed that has to be what took place when I made the choice to Trust...Because, it certainly wasn't the ME I knew before I took this trip!
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me
and gave himself for me." - Galatian 2:20
Surrender: abandon oneself entirely; cease resistance. That is exactly what it felt like. Something of a cross between feeling helpless yet strong, vulnerable yet protected. It was an odd sensation and feeling. The only time I have ever felt something similar to this was when I gave up defending myself to those who overpowered me. That ended in me withdrawing. This however, ended in me feeling strengthened and empowered. It was like falling into the water - weightless, un-abandoned and free.
"If you want a change in your life, if you want forgiveness and peace and joy that you’ve never known before, God demands total surrender. He becomes the Lord and the ruler of your life." - Billy Graham
On this trip I had been reading the book, "Unoffendable" by Brant Hansen. I did not think a book with this title would teach me about trust and surrender but it did. It redirected me to the humble truth: If I had accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, then I needed to live both of those aspects out. It seems I was real good on the Savior part, with the eternal life aspect and knowing I was saved by grace, of which I am so very grateful for His sacrifice. But, the Lord part? Not so good. I really wanted to maintain the rights to my life and sprinkle it with good deeds and the many flavors of the cultural Christianity du jour, as is taught in so many churches in our nation. But for Jesus to be Lord, that requires utter and complete surrender. Complete letting go and handing over everything of myself to his leadership, no matter what!
That is a pretty large pill to swallow! I don't know about you, but control is not something I eagerly wanted to hand over. It is not simply a selective (when times are tough) "Jesus take the wheel" kind of thing. It's a Jesus take the whole darn car kind of thing!
For Jesus to be Lord, we must give up our right to justice, to vengeance, to directing and guiding our own lives. To taking a stand and devouring someone else in the name of Christianity - (Jesus never asked us to defend Him or His kingdom - but rather to always be ready to give an answer for our hope).
Surrender is being willing to give up the pursuit of wealth, status, entitlement and the distorted belief that we are all deserving of some magnificent 'American Dream' of prosperity and all things warm and fuzzy. Now...with that said, that doesn't mean God won't bless us with wealth, prosperity or all things warm and fuzzy. It means we surrender seeking after those things, for His sake.
Surrender is denying ourselves.
"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a]will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" - Matthew 16:24-26
I knew it was what I wanted and needed to do. But I was scared. It felt at first like jumping into a body of water in the dark with no way of knowing how deep it would be or what I would encounter. It was pretty scary to take the leap. But as it turned out, it was more like floating weightlessness. That must be what Jesus meant when He said to 'come to him, all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and He will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28). It's hard work running our own lives (and trying to run others too!)
Surrender is about giving up ourselves so we can be filled up with Him. When that happens, we are no longer burdened by the cares of all that is going on around us. All the strife, the politics, the human injustices, the violence and offenses. God has got it. Grasping that, and loosening my grip so I could fall back into His arms - the second best decision I made this week. It is the most peaceful experience I have every felt. It is pure joy.
Don't forget to pick up a copy of my book, "Confessions of a Feel Good Addict"
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