It hit me so hard I nearly fell on my face. The harsh reality that I didn’t truly trust Him was a force that left me gasping. I was torn wide open and the bleeding wouldn’t stop.
Oh, I say all the good Christian things a good Christian girl says. And I’d almost convinced myself that my heart believed the words. But two ER visits in the same day with our not-quite-two-year-old had left me nearly undone. I felt a little like Abraham that night only rather that willingly handing it over, I clutched all that was “mine” and ran for my life. He couldn’t have my baby and that was final. Surely He knew I could never bear it. And so I ran and ran and ran. Only I was running from an imaginary threat because though I was a mother in the throes of panicked exhaustion, my little man was never in serious danger of losing his life.
But my knee-jerk reaction of fear and the absolute refusal to rest in His will has caused me to re-evaluate. I’m not liking what I see. That night I was unwilling to surrender my precious child, which is normal enough, but I knew in the deepest places of my soul that He had to come first. That is was possible to make a god of even a child. And so I asked Him to show me what else I was holding back.
The raw, real answer isn’t pretty. Because he showed me everything. Everything is what I’ve been refusing to give him. I’ve stuffed it all down in a bag and cinched the top shut tight. On occasion I may take something out and hand it over for awhile. But if He doesn’t use it “right” or if it looks like it might get “broken” I snatch it back and stuff it safely in the bag. I say I love Him and I try to trust Him but I have limits. And they don’t extend far.
I’ve bought into the world’s standard to a far greater degree than I’m comfortable admitting. The standard that says a nice house, car and salary are signs of success and the absence of any or all of the above are a sign of failure. And so I’ve spent three decades building my world. It’s filled with little gods and big gods and they’re all squeezing out the one true God.
I’m comfortable though I squirm when the groceries run low. I’m secure though I panic when the bills are too high. I’m right where I want to be until I’m bored and want to be somewhere else. And then I think I deserve or have earned that chance to escape. You do it, too, if you’ll only admit it.
We erect plastic gods and worship at the altar of abundance. We say we want to be used but only if it doesn’t require too much or shake up our lives or throw off our routines. We want it all and we want it now and we want it exactly the way we envision it. We aren’t sold out for Christ. We barely manage to rent out a small space of our free-will to serve Him in the scary places.
We value the opinions of others with far more passion than the opinion of God. And we cherish the breath of life more than eternal life. It’s crazy. Backwards, mixed-up, stupid-crazy.
I’m tired of acting like it matters what color my walls are when there are children peppering this planet without the shelter of walls at all. I’m tired of chasing after financial security rather than trusting that what He provides really is enough. I’m exhausted from climbing ladders and erecting walls that keep the Lord safely at arm’s distance. Comfortable feels so good yet oddly suffocating at the same time and it’s because it’s not often where He wants us to be. Comfortable is more a place to visit for a brief rest than one in which we should seek residency.
Yet we all run there and start throwing up the walls that define this place as home. We settle in and plan to stay, barely remembering we’re just passing through. We make big deal about the accommodations while we’re here and we begin to think we need bigger and better and more.
But He wants us to live with the kind of reckless abandon that has people thinking we’re a little out there. He wants us to live a life of absolute surrender in the face of complete uncertainty.
But what does that look like practically? Does it mean we have to sell everything we own and move to a country without running water and live on a dirt floor? For some of us, yes. For others of us it simply means we toss all those plastic gods in a great heap, set fire to them and then let Him fill the empty spaces with what He chooses.
For me, I can already feel Him moving. Speaking. I hear Him asking me for things I’ve been clutching tightly and reminding me they were never really mine to begin with. He’s asking me to go. To move right here where I am and I cringe because living without reserve for Him right here is scary. And I almost think it would be easier to be the one called to that far off country of dirt floors. But if I’m giving Him me it means I no longer call the shots and I don’t get to choose where He sends me.
He’s given me a heart for special needs adoption and I’m drawn to the neediest of the needy. The kids who aren’t pretty or lovely or healthy or loved. The ones that are most unlikely to ever find home this side of heaven. It’s crazy and expensive and would turn my world on its ear. My husband agrees though we can’t get approved until God moves. But when He does, we’re going in!
I want kids who are so sold out for Christ that they cannot be bought by the world at any price. I want them to love freely and without shame. I want them to see Jesus and run toward Him rather than away. I want them to be willing to literally lay down their lives if that’s what He asks for. I want them to go where He calls without worrying that I might selfishly hold them back.
But if all we ever do is sit around playing house how will they ever learn to serve with everything they have rather than just in neat, tidy ways that fit nicely around the empire of their lives?
I feel my little glass house beginning to shake. I secretly long for it to just shatter. I want to be sold out, too, and free to follow where He leads. I want to toss aside the shackles of fear and bondage of public opinion and live as though each moment is the big one. I want to stop acting like the dumb stuff matters and to exchange “normal” for the uncertain and unexpected.
I want to bleed for God and His people. I can no longer stand not to be living the life He planned for me while I seek out the life I’ve planned for myself. From this day forth, I am His. With abandon and without reserve. May God in His abundant mercy hold me fast to that promise!
How about you? Are you ready?