Surrender: The Great Forgotten Word

My tolerance for other’s tomfoolery, for disobedience, for not taking things seriously is not very high.

My friends like to remind me of the time in High School when we were organizing our first Fantasy Baseball Draft and I grew impatient with their lack of adherence to the rules and structure of the proceedings. I stormed off and sulked in another room. There was a old baseball bat in the room that I grabbed and started messing with. I just needed something to do with my hands in my frustration and irritation. I still had the bat in my hand when I went back into the “draft” room. I was not intending to use the bat for harm, I just was carrying it to carry it. My friends, though, thought in my anger, I was ready to use the bat to go after them or destroy some unsuspecting furniture. Their misunderstanding made me even more mad.

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This story illustrates the problem I have with surrendering myself to God. You see, I desire to have every situation work out the way I envisioned or to have a positive outcome, or to make sense. If I get a sense of things getting out of hand or something creeping to a less than desirable result, I start to loose impatience and begin to worry and fret over meeting my expectations. I am often unable to surrender myself and situations to God’s provision and will.

In my humanity, I somehow think I have control over how my life will turn out and even have control over how other lives will turn out. One of the best signs of us Growing Up is our surrender of control over the outcomes of our lives to God. Then, we can move to surrendering the outcomes of other people’s lives to God as well. We need to work towards the ability to say, “Lord, you can have anything, ” “Lord, not my will but your will be done;” “Do with me what you will.”

Jesus says, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”

As a follower of Christ, I am called to a complete surrender of my life to God. This sounds daunting, and if we are planning on doing it in our own power, it is. But we can start by saying and praying these simple words:

“Lord, I want what you want. This is all that I want.”

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Life, But With Godly Wisdom

A Psalm based on James 3:17-18

Father, give me heavenly wisdom because the wisdom of the world is bankrupt.

Your wisdom is pure. The only thing that is pure in my life is my pure willingness to seek after my own plans.

I need that peaceable wisdom because as a card carrying member of the human race, my tendencies lean toward conflict and disruption.

Your wisdom makes me considerate and gentle. That is funny, so many people who have “wordly” wisdom bring pride and arrogance with them.

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That heavenly wisdom makes me want to give up on my way or the highway. Others can advance, others can achieve, others can have their time. I don’t have to be in charge.

That knowable, Godly wisdom is overflowing with mercy. That element that even while I say the word ‘mercy,’ I know it is not common to myself or many around me.

So much good comes from a wisdom from above. And the goodness spreads. I just want to be a part of that kind of goodness.

Why would I need to be partial or be insincere with those around me? What would that bring me? That is a song and dance, that is manipulation. I can live without these things because God’s wisdom brings an alternative to all forms of deception or taking advantage of others.

I am like a farmer who plants peace, waters it with wisdom to reap a harvest of righteousness.

This is life, this is living. Oh that I can receive this. Pour your wisdom on me.

 

 

Why I Kicked My Smart Phone Out of The Bedroom

When I awake, the struggle begins.

I use an old clock radio for my alarm so that I can get my phone out of my bedroom and  tucked in a corner somewhere. I am trying to avoid beginning the day with mindless scrolling through the overnight feeds, sport scores, and news happenings.

My success or failure at this temptation usually sets a tone for the rest of my day. Will I approach information in an intentional way that is helpful to my growth, work life, keen interests, moral values or will I just fall headlong into consuming the surface of headlines, articles, and updates? Will my notifications be all that I read and take in or will I choose that which has redeeming value and feeds my soul? Will I seek a dopamine quick hit of distraction, outrage, and reaction over a long approach of growth, progress, and formation? All of this plays out in the first five minutes of my day.

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In Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard says:

When we get up out of bed in the morning, among our first thoughts should be this: Lord, speak to me. I’m listening. I want to hear your voice. This is not because it’s a nice way to start the day but because the only thing that can keep us straight is being full of God and full of his Word. If you do not do something like this, you do not have the option of a neutral mind. Your thoughts cannot be empty. As the old saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum. If you are not entertaining God’s truth, you will be entertaining Satan’s lies.

On those days when I begin with prayer, meditation, scripture reading, and essential Christian reading and study, I have a well to draw on the rest of the day. I have lessened anxiety, a more focused heart, I can fight off whims and base distractions. The things I end up paying attention to on these good days turns out to be closer to what really matters. Not just for me but for those around me and those I am responsible for throughout my day.

Where we place our minds really is our first freedom and the path that determines how our days and weeks will go.