From the recent devastation in Napal to our own personal devastations, it's hard to know how to stay steady. How do we proceed to live a life of steadfastness when calamity is hitting us from all sides?
As I reflect on this past week I am constantly shocked at all the heartbreak that goes on around me as people struggle with their own pain.
*A young friend contemplating suicide,
*A young boy fighting for his life after recovering from minor surgery,
*Families running to be by the bedside of ailing parents,
*A young father struggling with a drug addiction hoping to make it into a treatment center before he brings more devastation to his family,
and on and on it goes.
Is this the New Normal?
Yes, this is the norm when you are working in ministry but even if you aren't, it is always all around us on a daily basis. God never promised us a problem free life but He did promise us we could find peace in the middle of it.
How Does That Even Look?
I for one, in my early years never understood how that could even be possible. I was the best codependent you would ever meet. Sucked into everyone else's crisis and always seemed to have one of my own. Why couldn't I walk in that peace? How does this look? I had no answer except to try not to care at all and I certainly was not wired that way.
So I started studying boundaries, codependency, and read every self help book out there. I knew the Word of God taught to be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6) but I didn't know how to do that. What was I missing ?
I felt it was something I was doing wrong. I felt disobedient and guilty for not having the peace of God that passes all understanding? I was being tossed to and fro by the waves and hated that about myself. I prayed daily, studied, loved my Lord, so what was wrong.
What I didn't realize was how controlling I was. I wanted everything fixed and felt I had a pretty good idea about Gods plans and strategies. Except I was leaving a few things out of the equation.
I knew I was to "surrender all", like the old hymn stated, but I realized I didn't know the first thing about surrender. It was an oxy-moron for me, how does one work on it with God to fix it and surrender it at the same time?
Checking the Definition of Surrender
I realized after reading Paul's meaning of surrender that I wasn't even close to having the correct understanding.
Actually, this is what Paul means when he talks about surrendering. It is giving ourselves to God as a living sacrifice
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Romans 12:1,2 MSG Bible
This tapped into something deeper for me. I realized I was letting the issues of the world drag me down and not staying centered and grounded in my inner man. Eph.3:16
My 5 Steps:
Letting Go required knowing and trusting God's love for me and what concerned me. But it also meant being obedient to His loving guidance on a daily basis.
The following are my 5 simple (but not easy) steps.
1.Prayer, meditation on His word.
2.Staying grateful and thankful that He is working,
3.Keeping my resentment slate clean,
4.Staying in a continual spirit of forgiveness,
5.And most of all having the faith that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9.
Did this happen overnight? Not at all! But as each new issue of surrender required a deeper level of sacrifice and trust, so did His love and faithfulness strengthen me at deeper levels of believing.
To date, I now know not to trust myself at all and that no matter how long it takes, His love will be made perfect.
This gives me the peace I have always desired, keeps me calm when the seas are rough, and the courage to continue on the path He is calling me.
Now He can pour His love and wisdom into me for the people and situations around me and I'm no longer in His way.
Is this a daily discipline of laying down my life (I call it the false self or ego)? Yes, but His love has never failed me and I know it never will.
What are you having a hard time letting go of?
What is it you might be afraid of sacrificing?
Love and Blessings to you all