Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25
That’s not quite how the hymn goes, huh? You don’t surrender SOME, you surrender…ALL.? Period and question mark there because although that seems basic as far as my Christian walk, it seemed a lot easier to do when I had less to surrender to him. As I was listening to worship music the other day, I realized that it seemed a whole lot easier to sing that hymn and to obey it as well as the verse above when I was younger. There seems to be a lot of layers of this as I am writing so I am going to do my best to wrangle all these thoughts into a nice, well-packaged blog that doesn’t skip around like the “flight of ideas” I feel I have churning right now.
I remember distinct times in my life when I was in high school and college where I felt the Lord nudging me to surrender, leading me to the cross to ask for forgiveness, to mend a relationship, to approach someone for reconciliation, to obey God’s call WHEREVER that may have been. It seemed easier then. Maybe because I had less to lose. I didn’t think so at the time. Thinking of giving up certain things, to surrender ALL things to Him, even if that meant not getting married or having kids or being a missionary (which was my greatest wish that at some point I gave to Him and said “whatever YOU want for my life is what I want”). I even believed it when people told me at that time that when people get older it is harder to surrender things to Christ. I didn’t. Maybe I was naive, maybe I was arrogant thinking, “NO WAY”, my heart will always be this soft to His leadings and nudges and touches on my heart to “give it up” to Him.
It didn’t happen all at once. It wasn’t overnight when I felt like I grew up and life hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t all at once that I forgot that sweet intimacy and in some ways freedom to allow God to work in my life in WHATEVER and WHEREVER the path lead. But as I look back and evaluate my life, I realize there are so many things I now hold on to. Most of the time, those things don’t even cross my mind on a daily basis that I need to surrender them. I seem pretty OK on any given day to go through the day without acknowledging the need, the HUGE need to let God take the reigns. I suppose it comes to light when the day crashes around me or when I see a family hit by tragedy or when I see a homeless child begging on the street. You think those things would make me take a breath in of myself and then let God take the rest. But, sadly, most of the time I don’t. I get overwhelmed with life. Those things I need to surrender every day (my kids, my marriage, my ministry, my relationships) are sometimes, I feel the exact things that hold me back from surrendering. That may not make any sense and maybe I need a second cup of coffee to unfold that one…HOLD ON…
Sometimes I can make the excuse, and believe that I am just too busy. In the midst of grabbing one crying child from the other one who is hitting them while the 3rd is throwing up (and then the phone rings). Yep, pretty sure I am little busy in that moment. SO, let me revisit that thought I had at the beginning of this blog. It was after a day similar that what I just explained that I was doing the dishes and listening to worship music which seems sometimes to be my connection with God daily. I was listening to a newer song to me (probably not to you). There were so many words to really pierced my soul that night and really left me feeling so overwhelmed with my lack of surrender. I literally said to myself “this was SO much easier when I was younger”. How can I fully surrender my children to Christ when I see so many bad things happen? How can I surrender my marriage when I see so many crumbling around me? I can I mend broken relationships or try to even if there is no reconciliation? It’s hard and sometimes I just don’t know if I can or if I have the energy to invest through the long haul of mending a relationship. Woah is me, I know, right? Suck it up, buttercup is what I felt like saying to myself because, hey, bottom line, that’s what God calls me to. To surrender it…ALL OF IT!
SO, in true fashion, as I learn this intimacy with God all over again, I leave you with a song. This song is what I was listening to that night. It is a perfect image of that surrender, that TOTAL surrender that God wants. So, as you listen, maybe you have heard it a hundred times. Listen with open ears and an open heart.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders”
What would my life and your lives look like if we lived that out? I want to, I SO want to. How about you?