Monday, May 20, 2013

Journey of Surrender . . . #2
So now I have finally surrendered the keys of my car to God, have willingly taken up residence in the passenger seat (at least I think I have) and am anxiously waiting to see where He will take me. 


But to be honest, I have found this journey of surrender sometimes to be more like a car ride with my husband . . .  


We’re on our way to church – he’s driving and I’m in the passenger seat.  I’m looking forward to worshiping God and seeing my friends.  We start the journey with great expectation and joy but then . . .


               My husband starts tailgating the ONLY CAR on the highway.  I hate it when he


I give a sharp intake of breath hoping that he’ll get the hint.  We’ve been married for 27 years and, for crying out loud, he should know by now how much I hate it!


But he doesn’t seem to be listening. 


So I get a little more forceful, “Back-off!  Why do you ALWAYS have to drive so close!  You make me so nervous when you drive!”


 He reacts, “Why do you always have to critique my driving?  I’ve been driving for 30 years and never had an accident – so give me a break!”


I’m quiet but tension sits heavy in the car. 


Then he scoots through a very red light and I can’t resist, “You just ran a red light, on Sunday no less!”  


“No, I didn’t.” 


“Yes, you did!”


He pulls over and demands, “Do you want to drive?”


With a martyr’s sigh, I reply . . . “No you go ahead and drive.”


But I continue to silently critique. . .  Why did he have to take the long way to church? . . .  Why is he driving so slow - we’re going to be late again!   Why didn’t I taken him up on his offer to drive?



It doesn't stop with my husband's driving.  I find myself critiquing God’s driving too!


I don’t want to WAIT . . . I don’t like the direction He’s taking my life . . . I’m not ready for that detour (another time maybe but not right now).  I know my children best . . .  I make better decisions than my husband . . .  I need to worry about this because no one else
will . . .  I know God didn't intend for me to live without a microwave . . . 
Once again I find FEAR taking root in my heart and the freedom I once had floats from my grasp. 


1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (NLT) says, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty.  Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O LORD, and this is Your kingdom.  We adore You as the one who is OVER ALL THINGS.  Wealth and honor come from You alone, for You RULE OVER EVERYTHING.  Power and might are in Your hand, and at Your discretion people are made great and given strength. 


I have found in my journey of surrender that it is just that . . . a journey.  A road I will ALWAYS be traveling, a practice I will always be working at and a course that won’t be completed until I step into His presence.  This is the journey that God has laid out for us – a pathway of Trust, a journey of Surrender, a road of Submission. 

Will you spend your time critiquing God's driving or embracing the journey He has for you? 

Teach me how to live, O LORD.  Lead me along the right path . . .  WAIT patiently for the LORD.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, WAIT patiently for the LORD.  (Psalm 27.11,14)


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Journey of Surrender . . . #1
Long ago, when I gave my heart to Christ, I jumped into the driver’s seat, thanked God for the car, asked Him for the keys and expected that He would ride shotgun.

I gratefully invited Him to sit beside me to be my copilot on my journey.  I wanted God in my life to help me do what I could not do on my own.  I expected that He would navigate around the difficulties and smooth out the road. 

Isn’t that what a copilot's supposed to do?


For much of my life, I have had this propensity to want to be in control.  It’s easier this way . . . at least that’s what I like to tell myself.   It’s just plain scary letting someone else drive my car . . . even if it is the God of the Universe, who knows me better than I know myself and loves me anyway.  


For a long time, fear kept me from turning over the keys to my Savior.  Fear of what He might do . . . Fear of where He might take me . . . Fear of what He might ask me to achieve.  I was so focused on ME that I couldn’t embrace HIM. 


Mathew 16.24-26 (MSG) says this,  . . . “Anyone who intends to come with me has to LET ME LEAD.  YOU’RE NOT IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT; I AM. . .   Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.  Follow me and I’ll show you how.  Self-help is no help at all.  Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.  What kind of deal is it to get everything but lose yourself?  What could you ever trade your soul for?”

Surrender is never easy.  Fear can be over powering and the way of suffering difficult. But God calls each one of us to pry our hands from the wheel, hand over the keys and leave the driving to Him. 
When I finally relinquished control I was amazed at what I discovered!    There is Freedom in Following, Joy in Trusting, and Peace in Surrender.


Surrender. Embrace. Trust. Follow.
This is the WAY, His WAY . . .


Lord, teach me to TRUST You, to EMBRACE all that you have for me, SURRENDER to Your perfect Way and FOLLOW where you lead.  Amen.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Problem with Expectations

When my husband and I got married I had HUGE expectations about how he would express his love for me. 

I stepped into marriage expecting that he would make the bed every day, bring me a perfectly made cup of tea each morning, and vacuum the floor all the while  encouraging me to put my feet up and rest.  That's how I thought my husband would show his love for me.

To be completely truthful, I think I expected him to know my needs before I even knew them.  I wouldn’t have admitted that but I had HIGH expectations of married life based on my own fantasies and the fairytales I had read.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.  It made for the perfect storm . . .  because of course, that wasn’t my reality.  When my husband didn’t come through the way I thought he should than I became disillusioned, disappointed and questioned if he really loved me at all. 

My expectations kept me from seeing how my husband really was loving me. 

I didn’t see that when he filled up my car with gas in the frigid cold, he was showing me love.  He knew this California girl would have a hard time standing out there.  I just assumed my car never ran out of gas.  
I didn’t see that the sacrifice he made by going to a job he hated day in and day out was his way of saying, “I love you.”

I was so focused on the ways he “wasn’t loving” me that I couldn’t see the ways in which he was.

I admit, I have done the same thing with God. 

I have expectations of God.  I pray and expect him to answer in the way I think it should be answered and then am so focused on how he ISN’T ANSWERING my prayer that I miss the way in which He is. 

It's gone something like this . . . "God I've been praying that you would make yourself known to me, that I would see You.  I need to know that You are real and working in my life.  I feel so distant from You and even further away since I prayed this prayer.   I had a friend call me, out of the blue to see how I was doing and to pray over me but where were You? Why aren't You answering me?"   

Never realizing that it was God who moved in my friend's heart to call me and to pray over me, I missed the way God was loving me and answering my prayer.

Ephesians 5.1-2 says, Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

As Your child, I accept Your love for me, in the way You CHOOSE to show it and to LET GO of the expectations that hinder me from seeing Your amazing work in my life.