Ever have one of those situations that just refuses to go away?
Yup, I'm thinking you have – in fact, you probably have something right now that is troubling you. Maybe it's something in the area of finances, or maybe health, or perhaps a relationship.
Whatever it is, I'll bet you want an answer, you want guidance, you want an outcome – you want the situation to be SOLVED.
It's human nature.
Most of the time, I give myself grace to be human. But then, the "Christian" in me speaks up, and I determine that I shouldn't be feeling what I'm feeling. Now, I don't mean any disrespect by putting quotation marks around the word Christian. I am truly a born-again believer saved by Jesus Christ – and I truly follow Him by faith.
But, I'm talking about the part of me that starts chastising myself for my feelings.
Let's be honest – we know that we have feelings that are not driven by the Spirit. We know that our sinful natures still stir up thoughts and desires that are at odds with the truth.
But, we still have these thoughts and desires and feelings.
So what do we do with them?
Here's when I start feeling confused.
Thankfully, I'm not alone. (Thank you, Paul)…
"The trouble is with me…I don't really understand myself, for I want to do (feel, think) what is right, but I don't… I can't. I want to do (feel, think) what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do (feel, think) what is wrong, but I do it anyway." (From Romans 7 – with a few added words by me)
The confusion lies here – what to do with the thoughts and desires and feelings that are not of the Spirit, but they're there because I'm human?
I know that I am supposed to surrender them to the Lord. And I want to – I truly do. But what exactly does that mean – how does that work out in practical ways?
Because I'll tell you what – when I don't surrender these things to the Lord, I start feeling GUILTY.
Guilty that I'm still confused or hurt or disappointed or afraid. Guilty that I still don't know what to do. Guilty that I have feelings of frustration and impatience (with God, if I'm totally honest). Guilty that I'm still human –
Because my thoughts and desires and feelings haven't disappeared.
THERE. IS. THE. RUB.
I interpret surrender to mean that when I give up, give over these things to the Lord – they magically disappear! I don't think them, or want them, or feel them anymore. And if I still do, then I haven't surrendered them.
It's a sticky wicket –
(STICKY WICKET – a delightful term that originated in England, from the game of cricket. A wicket is the playing surface used in cricket. This phrase is a direct allusion to the difficulty of playing on a wet and sticky pitch. Therefore, it means a difficult situation. Thank you, Sharon, for the word lesson – there WILL be a pop quiz…)
Here's where the enemy perpetrates a subtle attack on me. The lie goes something like this:
"I have these thoughts and desires and feelings. I shouldn't have them as a Christian. Therefore, I must surrender them to the Lord. If I still have them, then I haven't surrendered them. I am a terrible Christian."
Yeah – it's sort of like adding 1 + 1 and getting 3.
Faulty logic. At least in my opinion.
Because here's what I'm learning. Here's what surrender is beginning to mean to me. Surrender isn't the disappearance of the thoughts and desires and feelings. It is the surrendering of the striving – it is letting go of their power…
Take a person who is going to go on a diet. They aren't going to stop eating completely, and they're not going to stop being hungry – but they ARE going to release the power that food has over them.
Or what about a person struggling with addiction? Once in a rare while, God does intervene and completely remove the addiction, and the desire for it. But more often than not, it's a lifetime battle of surrender – of LETTING GO of the power that the drug or drink has over them.
Unless the Lord intervenes in a different way – (and He sure can if He wants to!) – surrender is going to be a process for me. I'm going to still have the thoughts and desires and feelings. Situations are still going to stir these things up inside of me. And I can waste a lot of time and energy trying to make them disappear. Not to mention making myself crazy with guilt when I can't…
God says to me: "Sharon, stop striving…"
Finances, health, relationships – these are going to rouse some strong stuff inside of us. And the thoughts and desires and feelings might not go away. But surrendering the OUTCOME of them, letting go of the POWER of them, giving to God the NEED for a solution – these are the things of faith.
Allowing God to be sovereign – relinquishing to Him the control of it all – this is what it's all about.
Job asked for answers – He got a whirlwind. But he also got God.
Our striving, once yielded, can lead us directly to the face of God – in spite of the thoughts and desires and feelings that come along for the ride.
Oh Lord, let my striving cease – let me be content with situations that have no immediate solution – grant me peace through my humanness.
Be the whirlwind who becomes my Eye in the Storm.
What do you do with situations that won't go away? What does surrender look like to you?
(Starting 2012 with Joan - SHARING HIS BEAUTY)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"