I have just recently in the past months come to truly rest in the peace that comes from completely giving your will over to the Lord and committing to following him where ever he leads, even if that means living in a mud hut in the mosquito infested swamps of Zimbabwe(I don't know if Zimbabwe even has mud huts, or swamps, or even mosquitos for that matter, but you get the jist of where my heart is.). Since that time God has not called our family to Zimbabwe, or any other foreign country for that matter, but I can very honestly tell you from the depths of my heart that if he did tomorrow I would most literally leap for joy. Why? Well it isn't at all because Zimbabwe is somewhere that I have been desiring to go. In fact, the though of every even visiting anywhere in Africa has always scared me half to death. The reason that I would be over flowing with excitement and joy is because I have come to the realization that what ever the plans are that the Lord has for my life are far greater than any plan that I could have come up with. He not only has my best interest in mind and can see the big picture of my life, but the plan he has for me has been formed out of his unfathnomable love for me. How can I not trust that his plan is better than mine?
I became a Christian at the age of 7. I remember very clearly the moment of my salvation. The Lord lovingly spoke to my heart and called me to him and I was 100% willing. But, sadly, it has taken me 22 years since that time to come to the point where I commit to him every aspect of my life, holding nothing back for myself. Over the past 22 years I have had a wonderful walk with the Lord where he has always proven faithful to me, even though I have not always returned the favor. At any time in the over 2 decades that I have known the Lord if you would have asked me if I trusted God fully I would have quickly responded, "Asolutely!". In all the ups and downs of my life,(and trust me, there have been downs. Some very far downs to tell you the truth.), even when I was choosing to push God away and live in rebellion to him, I still feel like I trusted him. I didn't have much of a tolerance for the doubting Christian who only seemed to think that God was good if he was lavishing them with blessings, and when he wasn't they would whine and complain that God was uncaring towards their situation or needs. For me, it seemed that the kind of trust that believed in God's goodness and love, and the bad times just as much as the good times, had been given to me at the moment of my salvation. It hasn't been until recently that I realized that I didn't trust the Lord as fully as I had always given myself credit for. I knew that I had always possessed parts of myself that I was unwilling to fully commit to the Lord. I would fervently pray and ask the Lord to shape me and mold me in to a servant for him. But I was still worried to give him every single aspect of my life. What if it wasn't in his plan for me to ever marry? What if he wanted me to move some hideously cold place like Alaska? What if I was never able to have children? What if he wanted me to be a missionary to Africa? What I had to give up all my Beatles music!? I was positive that I could never be happy with any of those things if that is what he had planned for my life. So I would pray and tell him that where ever he led my life I would do my very best to follow.
To an extent.
I was far too afraid of the unknown to fully commit every thing to him. As much as I wanted to give him everything, I couldn't. And as much as I wanted to ignore the fact that I couldn't and focus on other aspects of my walk with the Lord, it would still pop up from time to time. Every loving nudge from the Holy Spirit to commit my all to him would send shockwaves of fear through me. Obviously he wouldn't be pushing the issue if he didn't have something that he knew I really wouldn't want to do planned for me. I got this underlying feeling that the only reason he wanted that sliver of my willl that I was holding on to was because he really did want to send me to Africa, or even worse, Alaska. It was plain as day to me that he must want me to die from frost bite while attempting to be a missionary to eskimos.
Haven't I given him enough? I know it wasn't the exact perfect whole hearted committment, but it was pretty darn good. I mean, the 99% I was willing to give him had to be better than the 0% that many others gave him. God is a mighty God and he should be able to do a whole heck of alot with 99%(and honestly 99% was a good day. Some days were more like 90%, or 80%, or 75%...) What is one measly little percent? I kept hoping that he would see that I wasn't giving it up and therefore send me somewhere like Cocco Beach, Florida, or San Diego. Surfers and beachbums need Jesus too, right? But, (insert *sigh*), he wasn't giving up. And I wasn't giving in. I threw my energies into other things: Christlike character, scripture memorization and meditation, being a Godly mother that instills a love for the Lord in her children, eccetera, eccetera, and so on. In the past year alone my walk with the Lord has grown and deepened in leaps and bounds. I very nearly forgot about that miniscule part of myself that I was holding on to.
Then, the Lord began speaking to me and revealing himself to me anew through several different avenues. I had a violent change of heart. I say violent because once I truly caught a glimpse of how MUCH the Lord loves me it almost sicken me to hold anything back from him. It wasn't a fear-inducing burden to fully turn myself over to the Lord. It was quite the opposite. Completely and entirely freeing. I didn't want those parts anymore. He knows and desires what is best for me far far more than I ever could. It was the most freeing and deeply peaceful single act that I have ever done. I no longer worry what he has in store for me and where he will lead me. It is no longer my responsibility to plan my life. My only responsibility is to follow him where ever he directs. Oh, and guess what didn't happen when I gave every inch of my will over to him? He didn't ask me to go to Africa, or even Alaska for that matter(although I almost think I would prefer Africa). Infact, he hasn't asked me to go anywhere yet. I do have to admit, I was somewhat disappointed when God didn't have some shocking feat that he wanted me to do. I was so enraptured with love and commitment to him that I wanted to DO something huge to prove to him that I was willing. I forget that I think in human terms and God doesn't. He knows my heart, therefore he didn't need me to prove myself to him. I'm not saying that my commitment to following God's will for my life will never take me somewhere that I don't really want to go. I just fully trust that I will be much happier doing whatever he has for me to do, as opposed to trying to direct my own life and achieve my own happiness. I've been there and done that. I made a complete mess of things in my attempts to try to orchastrate my life as I saw fit. Even with my best intentions of living a Godly life, it was not the same as giving my complete will over to him and committing to following his direction daily regardless of where that takes me.
With my new commitment am I suddenly a near perfect christian that exibits the characteristics of Christ in everything I do? Not by a long shot. Is life perfect? That is a resounding no. While I will strive for the first for the rest of my life, the second with never come to pass, at least not in this life. In fact, right now our family is faced with some difficulties that feel very nearly impossible to fix. At times I do get stressed and upset, but then the gently Lord reminds me that it is not my responsibility to try to fix things. He will fix every thing as it should be if I just move my will out of the way and allow him to. That can still be a difficult thing, but then I remember that freeing peace of giving it all to the Lord. No longer do I have to frantically figure out how to fix the messes around me. No more wasting time telling God how I think he needs to work in my life.
So now, in spite of the adversities that I sometimes feel are coming from every direction, I am so full of a joy and excitement that almost feels uncontainable at times. The God of the universe has a wonderful and specific plan for my life in which he is going to use me for his purpose.
Did you catch that?
God, the same God who created the entire universe and everything in it, loves me with a deeper love than I could ever have the words to describe or even understand. And he not just loves me, but he also has a plan for my life. It isn't just me though, that he feels this way towards. He also has that same love and perfect plan for you and your life. I now feel silly for not having fully trusted him before. While the past 22 years have in no way been a waste, they have not been the full life that God had intended. There are so many heartaches I could have avoided by fully trusting him. Heartaches not just from sin, but also from trying to direct my own life and fix my own problems when I could have just given it all to the Lord. But I am striving to never make that mistake again. I couldn't be more excited as I anticipate how the Lord is going to work in my life. I also fervently pray that each and every one of you can experience this same freeing and peaceful feeling that I now rest in by entirely committing youself, your will, and your plans for your life to the Lord. I can honestly say,
Where ever he leads, I'll follow.