At the current point in time Jeremy and I have a lot of circumstances that are up in the air. In fact, this has to be the one point in my life where so much seems to be up in the air and up for negotiation. We feel like at any point in time we could be called from the Lord to give up our jobs, place we call home and friends that come with that, physical home, church body and more. Essentially the only thing in our lives that is secure is our relationship with the Lord, and our relationship with each other. Lately we have been discussing so many options for future careers, businesses, local moves, out of town moves, ministry/ outreach opportunities… the possibilities seem endless. At first I was wondering if this dialoging was a bad idea, and was us trying to dream up our future and make something happen for ourselves and plan it all out. The more we dialog the more apparent it has become that neither of us is particularly attached to any outcome or turn of events/ circumstances and more so than anything we both strongly just desire to seek the Lord’s will for our lives and stay within that. It has become apparent that slowly and surely we are surrendering all of the desires that each of us has had for the future to the Lord, that He is cleansing each of us from our will in order to allow us to hear Him.
This is a pretty great place to be. However on Friday night this was not a great place for me to be. In my flesh I have a strong desire to plan, to know the future, to be in control of situations and eliminate the unknown. In my flesh I am the epitome of a creature of habit and routine. I stay at the same job, residence, meal plan etc. forever, because it is my comfort zone. I am the opposite of spontaneity (probably much to my husband’s dismay). So anyway… Friday night I became so overwhelmed and consumed in details that I literally couldn’t sleep. We had decided that we were going to run an ad in the newspaper to try to sell our condo in addition to Craig’s list. I found myself awake all night anxious, thinking about how long it would take us to pack if our place sold, where we would live, how the closing process would work out, and all those type of details. After Jeremy waking up every couple hours and realizing that I was still awake and driving myself crazy he finally got up with me around 5:15 am to go watch the sun rise on the beach and talk things through with me. After a sun rise, breakfast and some great conversation with my honey I was back to feeling relaxed, trusting the Lord and waiting to see what He has in store each step along the way.
So often situations arise in my day that can make me anxious as I was on Friday night. So often I can get carried away in plans, details, and control that I fall out of my union with the Spirit. Phililipians 4:4-8 is great scripture reference for times like this;
Philippians 4:4-8 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
First of all, by starting out rejoicing in the Lord it gets the focus off of me and my problems, and onto God. It gets me doing what I was created to do… worship Him. It reminds me that the Lord is near, that He is right here with me in the middle of my circumstances if I would just stop being all freaked out on my own, and would slow down and just hold His hand and allow Him to guide me. “Be anxious for nothing…”… ugh… well I’m quite far off from that… but Paul goes on to give us the solution to surrendering our anxiety to the Lord, to lay it down in prayer (and with thanksgiving) before Him. Next he explains how this will guard our hearts and minds with Christ’s peace… ahhhhh.
There is always room for growth in Christ and in our personal walks with Him, but I do want to say that I have learned so much about this type of immediate surrendering prayer from our home church and the people in it. We are by no means perfect, or an example, but I love the way that we try to be aware of needs, hurts, anxiety, prayer requests, etc. that are surfacing during our conversation, dinner, Bible study, etc. and then we act on those immediately. We don’t just add those needs to our prayer list and say “okay we’ll be praying for you” (although we do that as well), but immediately in that moment we stop everything that we are doing to minister to the needs of others and allow the Spirit to guide us and pray. It is awesome, and as the Philippians verse above mentions it allows us to present our anxiety to the Lord and Him to fill us with His peace, and He does… every time. I’m trying to learn more of how I can do this in my daily life, and take every moment of my own anxiety, and that mentioned to me by others to immediately turn to the Lord in prayer. There are many opportunities that I miss, but God is growing me in this. I like the way that one Pastor (Tim Melton) from a church Jeremy and I attended put it, he said that Christians should be so involved in prayer and constant conversation with Christ that we should be walking around like schizophrenics constantly babbling to our Lord. Our prayer doesn’t always have to be audible, but you get the point.
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for my lack of trust in you. Please forgive me of my lack of surrender to you, for my constant wrestling with you. You are worthy of all my trust, all my surrender, all my praise, all my love, and so much more. Please cleanse me from the idols of control and planning. Thank you for your oh so gentle nudge to guide me back to your awaiting arms. I give all of my desires for the future and plans to your, I lay them at the foot of your throne and surrender them to your will, whatever that may be. I give it all to you, for your glory, to carry your message to the nations.