Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Giving It Up

As I sat in church Sunday listening to the sermon about giving over all of ourselves to God, I nodded in agreement and even thought to myself, "I really want to do that, Lord, show me what areas in my life I have not given over to you." Throughout the sermon there were some points that hit home and I thought, "Yeah, that's something I could work on more." But it wasn't until after the preaching, after the altar call song, the final song of the service, God made it loud and clear what He wanted me to get.

The final song of the sermon was "Ten Thousand Reasons" otherwise known as "Bless the Lord, O My Soul". Some of you may know that this was one of the songs I was singing in my dream I had during my miscarriage, the only one I can remember (you can read about that here http://beautyoftheheart.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-song-of-joy.html). Why did it hit me so hard?

As I stood singing with a soul full of joy, remembering that night in the hospital, I suddenly began to weep uncontrollably. In that moment, I realized that it had been so easy for me to give Him my child, my own flesh and blood, my baby, even though I didn't even get a chance to get to know him...

...yet, I still have trouble giving over to him the little things each day, like my schedule, my attitude, my feelings, my trust.

Then it reminded me of what our small group talked about on Friday night and what I've been reading about David's struggles through the Psalms. We so often, as Christians, talk about how the trials we endure are our true test of faith - do we depend on Him? do we lean on our own strength? And yes, those are tests of faith somewhat.

But is it not an even more reliable test of faith to ask, Who do we depend on for the little things? Moment by moment? When my life is "interrupted" how do I respond? Am I easily offended by what others say and do to me? Do I trust God to provide for ALL my needs? Do I look to Him when deciding what to eat, drink, wear, watch on tv, say to another person, how to do my hair, make up, spend my free time?

I realized that for me, the big things can sometimes be so much easier to give over to God, because I know what He wants from me. I know what His Word says about those things. But when the area seems gray, and maybe He has given us freedom to choose, I don't always seek Him first anyway.

That's not really living in the Spirit. If I have the Holy Spirit within me, I don't want to just have Him sitting on a back shelf, waiting for me to feel like I need Him, because I've exhausted all other options. Because, this one is just too hard for me to handle. I want to truly live in the Spirit. So that when I have a choice, I still don't take it without seeking Him first. Two options might both be good, but maybe He has something specific in mind and I will never know that unless I stop and ask Him first, and then listen for His response.

Can you imagine slowing down your day to stop and seek God before each and every thing you do, say, think? Seems impossible in the time of busyness. It also seems not only necessary, but worth it. How much better would my day go, if I actually gave it ALL over to God? I hope to find out.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Asleep on the Run

I have started to read the Psalms, only one chapter per week. I'm lingering on each Psalm for a whole week, and I'm loving it!

This week is Psalm 3. David wrote this psalm when fleeing from his son Absalom. He starts out talking about his enemies and what they are saying to taunt him, but this only lasts a couple of verses. Right after that David starts talking about how God is his shield and answers his call. He goes on to say he does not need to fear any number of men who are after him because salvation belongs to the Lord!

But what really grabbed me today was the verse in the middle Psalm 3:6 - "I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me."

David is being chased by an army who is after him. He assures himself that God hears his cry for protection and will shield him from any harm.

Then he lays down and goes to sleep.

And he wakes up.

The impact of this simple statement is huge! Because David doesn't just say, "Oh yeah, God will protect me. Please, God, please protect me!" and then get ready to fight.

NO! He said, "Wait! Those guys can say what they want. I know who my God is! My God is the Holy One and He is almighty! I can trust Him with everything, so I'm going to go to sleep so I can rest." And that's what he does. Then he tells us, "After I slept, I woke up. See everything is fine. He is trustworthy."

This is the true meaning of resting in God. Truly trusting Him and allowing Him to work while you rest. Not just saying you trust Him and then trying to do it on your own, but stepping back and saying, "You got this." Because He's already trying to tell you, "Get out of the way! I got this."

After David writes that he woke up and the Lord had sustained him, he goes on to say he does not need to fear of ten thousands of men, because He has the Lord on His side! Whew! I don't know about you, but I think I would be terrified if an army of ten thousands of men was chasing after me trying to kill me. Would I trust God enough not to be afraid? Enough to lay down and sleep?

Maybe this hit me extra hard today, because last night I didn't feel well and didn't want to go to bed without my husband. So, I stayed up way later than usual to wait up for him to get home and get ready to go to bed.

I read this and thought, "Really? I couldn't go to bed without my husband because I didn't feel well and David lays down to sleep when thousands of men are chasing him to his death? Where was I putting my trust at that moment?"

Lord, teach me to rest in you. Teach me to trust you with everything, no matter what craziness seems to surround me. You are the Righteous King of kings and we need not fear anything of this earth. Salvation belongs to you, yet I often try to live in my own strength. Break me, that I may be fully reliant on YOU and You alone.