I think every human heart has this tendency to self-dependance and wanting to be in control. At least this one does. It seems that everyday I see just how much deeper this root goes.
I remember three years ago sitting in our little fifth wheel a few months after we’d moved to Arizona and fighting back frustration at my failed attempts at control… Truth is, there was very little control I did have on my schedule in that tiny space. Try cramming a family of four, two cats, a harp, cello, piano and ministry office into a fifth wheel for six months. Yeah, or maybe don’t. My frustration was building in those moments when I couldn’t go to bed when I wanted to or have quiet for study when I needed it. None of us could in such cramped quarters. It wasn’t till I fell into bed one night, frustrated and confused, that He gently brought the truth to my mind. I was trying to be in control of my life and it wasn’t working. But actually, I wasn’t ever supposed to be in control of my life. It was always supposed to be Him. It was a lesson I hadn’t really grasped before. But the instant I let Him have the reigns, everything changed inside of me.
Some lessons though, take years to get to the deepest parts of our hearts… I’m still learning this one.
The battle now is different but the root is similar. He’s won my heart in deeper ways and there is nothing in the universe I want more than to be in love with Him every single day and to live every moment together. But you know something? Sometimes we try and undertake even the most noble goal on our own. And that always produces frustration. Or in this case, fear.
Because no matter how hard I try to keep falling in love with Him, it doesn’t really work… It doesn’t work because love for God in a human heart is a miracle, and hello, I can’t do miracles. Pretty obvious really.
But somehow the devil has kidded us that we can do things on our own. Sure there are some things (often the big things) we know we need God for. Then there’s those other things we’re pretty sure we can manage.
We read Jesus’ words when He said that “I can of mine own self do nothing” and somehow we still believe there are some things we can do ourselves. How in the world? We think we can do things that Jesus admitted He couldn’t do?
Truth is, none of the devil’s lies make sense when we think of them in light of the truth. But often we don’t do that.
And so, more often than I’d like to admit, I find myself taking my relationship with Jesus into my own hands and trying to read my Bible enough and take time to talk with Jesus enough so that I can fall in love with His heart.
And it doesn’t work. Which of course gives the enemy a perfect chance to throw in another lie about how I’m not good enough and I’ll never love Him enough and He must not care about me, and yeah. You know them. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one he’s whispered them too.
The truth is pretty simple actually. We don’t do miracles. We don’t change our hearts. We can’t turn our apathy into love.
He does. Miracles have long been His business. And He’s pretty good at them if you ask me.
Our part isn’t to try creating love in our hearts. He’s the only Creator after all. Our role is to respond to His pursuing love.
Letting Him be in control doesn’t mean doing nothing. It just means being content to listen and obey instead of trying to be in charge.
It means responding.
For me that means lying in bed before I fall asleep and having whispered conversations with my best Friend while I watch stars out my window, instead of spending that time on Facebook. It means getting up an hour earlier to sit on my bed and type prayers to the One who was up waiting for me. It means putting my day in His hands instead of rushing off into a rat race of business that pushes Him aside and then freaking out at the end of the day because He feels so far away. It means pulling out my Bible and filling my mind with truth so that the lies loose their power. It means stopping that project that feels so important to look walk down our little road and tell Him about my day. It means taking time every week to go down to my meadow and spend a couple hours just with Jesus.
But sometimes what is harder is what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean worrying. It doesn’t mean trying to be enough or do enough. Most of all, it doesn’t mean being in control. And for us little control junkies that can be pretty hard at times.
Yesterday I was sitting out in my meadow looking up into perfectly blue skies in deep thought. On this very point actually. I knew what He was asking… He wanted me to let go of trying to be in control. He wanted me to let Him do the miracles instead of trying to do them myself. Pretty reasonable request. And it was then I realized in a deeper way what holds us back.
We don’t trust Him.
My thoughts were a frantic jumble. If I let go, we’ll just drift apart. If I stop worrying about staying close to You, how is it ever going to happen? If I give up trying to do this, who will?
Simple answer, “Me.”
But how do I know you will? How do I know it really matters to you like it matters to me? I knew as soon as I said it that it was a silly question.
Isn’t the One who made me for companionship, who formed my heart to love Him, who gave His very life so that we could be friends forever, safe to be trusted?
And yet so often we doubt. We run back into life and try to do things ourselves and end up a crumbled mess of failure.
Meantime, Someone watches, desperate for a chance to show us what victory tastes like. The One who can do absolutely anything is limited when we insist on trying ourselves. The One who has never lost is forced to sit by and watch us loose and come to Him crying that we’re a failure.
We complain that we don’t see miracles in our day. Maybe if we want to see them it’s time to start trusting the One who works miracles. Maybe it’s time to start letting Him work them.
The sunlight glints in my eyes and I whisper it to open fields, to waiting God. I’ll let go. You can do this. I’ll just obey.
And I wonder… Maybe we’ll only see Him do miracles in this generation when we stop trying to work them ourselves.
I want to step out the way and give Him a chance.
I woke up this morning and I remembered... it was five years ago today.
I’ve always been one for remembering dates. I love to look back at the journey You’ve led me on. It always leaves me in awe. This morning was no exception.
I remember being so awed on my baptism weekend at the ways You had worked in my heart up until that point. I remember telling a dear friend that I felt like a different person to the little girl I’d been a few years before. You were changing my selfishness into a love for right… my self-dependance into a recognition of my need for You… my little world of pretend missionary exploits into a realization that I could actually serve You in real life. I remember the surealness of that day and wanting to pinch myself into realizing that this was really happening… that You had really given me the courage to stand up and tell the world what You’d been doing in my heart in the years preceding. I remember the conversation around the piano that evening and how we had somehow started looking at our globe and the many countries that didn’t know anything about You. I remember listening to my friends’ excitement about how we could share our love for You and determining deep down that I wanted to be a missionary— whether that was here in the states or abroad. It really was the most special Sabbath of my life.
This morning I went back and watched the video of that day (if you want a quick glimpse click here). And again I was awed as I looked back. Five years ago I was amazed at the ways You had changed my little heart. Honestly, today I am even more amazed at the way You have changed my heart since then.
How could I have ever known that You would allow trials to come a few months later that I didn’t understand or know how to deal with but that in the darkness I would learn a deeper level of commitment than I ever could have learned in the light?
How could I know that our move away from everything that was familiar would stretch me far beyond my comfort zone but cause me to lean on Your arm in a way I had never done before?
How could I have expected the joy and love for people I would find half way around the world ministering with my family when sickness had half of us in bed?
What would I have thought if I had known that after my prayers to go deeper than ever I would be surprised with an illness recurring from when I was little that would leave me utterly exhausted and often in pain for seven months but teach me a trust in You that endured the most painful of days?
How could I have understood the contradictions of pain and joy that ministry would bring… of emptiness and fullness… and the ways You would lead me so gently to understand Your real purpose for me and that being a missionary didn’t mean half the things I thought and a hundred things I didn't?
How could I have ever dreamed of the way You would win my heart and my love beyond my wildest imaginations and that life would turn into a beautiful journey with my best Friend?
Truth is, I couldn’t know. And I’m glad. I think it would have been a bit much for my 14 year old mind to comprehend.
One thing I know now. Your plans were perfect and I wouldn’t have them any other way.
I look back and it strikes me how much I didn’t know. How much I hadn’t experienced. How much of Your heart I didn’t even know existed.
And I have to wonder where I’ll be in five years time. How much of You there is still to find that I don’t know about… how much deeper there is to fall in love than I could even dream right now.
I don’t have to know. I’ve seen enough to know I want to sign up for every last little bit of it.
That while my future may remain unknown, I can look at my past and see so many fingerprints of grace that there need be no fear for the future.
Whatever storms come…
Whatever valley floors…
You see them. And You see me. And You know. I don’t have to.
So Jesus, sign me up. Your ways are beyond my understanding. That you would want to take a little rascal and turn her into your little princess is beyond me. Of everything you have done in the last five years, your wild love and friendship to a girl like me amaze me most. I don’t understand it. Or why you chose to pursue me. But I love it. I love you. And you’ve won my heart lock stock and barrel. Here’s to another five years… to a lifetime together… no matter what darts the devil throws.
Because you first loved me.
Forever your little girl.
20. Lover of Jesus. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Servant. Fan of the kitchen. Graduate of Masters of Biblical Counseling.
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Hands Open. Heart Full.