As I look back and consider the reasons I've lived stuck, I see many. I see them now as I've fought hard to know the kind of freedom Christ offers, realizing there must be more to this Christian life than the pain and suffering I've known. God's shown me things like false beliefs, hurts and injustices, negative thinking patterns, assumptions and presumptions, self-focus, and more.
Learning to recognize these and working through them is a huge part of what this blog is about. It's a significant piece of Unleash: Heart & Soul Care sheets (to be released soon). By identifying what's holding us back from experiencing the fullness of what Christ offers to believers, no matter what we're going through, we can explore greater riches in the kingdom of God and become more of who we were designed to be.
To have it all, is to know what it means to have all of what God graciously gives to us. To have it all begins with wanting all of God. To want more and more of who He is and how He works because it is the best all of all.
As believers we have so much available and we can often miss out on the power of God moving in our lives because we've allowed other things to keep us from them. Maybe we already know these are damaging, but do we realize they are keeping us from knowing more of Christ?
If we say we want God, and we say we want the things of God, I hope and pray we would reject the things that are not of God so we can truly know and love him more.
Fear, pride, and control. These three often keep us stuck and they affect every one of us. They certainly affect me.
Sometimes they even suffocate my ability to remember that living well is not only an option, but wholly possible for each and every believer. They keep me from resting in the strength and peace of God. They also restrict my ability to see with awe and wonder this God who never fails to be who he is and do what he says he’ll do.
As they creep into my heart, anxieties rise and it can be as if I never remembered the things which God has shown me of himself.
Ever been there?
Fears over circumstances cause me to look at what I have and don’t have, they lead me to believe it’s up to me to make things happen. They reduce the trust I want to have in the only one who is wholly trustworthy in every circumstance.
Fears take over when we operate in anything less than the fullness of who we are in Christ. When we know anything less than the presence of Christ with us and within.
Fears deny the faithful work of God and his ability to complete his good purposes. They make us believe it is more dangerous to move ahead than to stay stuck where we are.
Pride leads me to believe that if it is to be it’s up to me. That whatever works out for my good is merely the product of my efforts. Conversely, whatever doesn’t work out is either someone else's fault or an indication of a fault I just need to overcome.
Pride blocks our ability to see Christ and our need for him. It tells us we are stronger and better than we are. It leads to entitlement, denial, and potentially a hardened heart. Pride says, “Forget others. Forget God. I got this.”
When we let pride lead the way, we find destruction blazing the trail.
Control lies. It tells us we have the ability to make others think and act in the ways we want. It happens when we believe we can manage outcomes which were never part of our God-given territory to manage.
Control is a relentless force which refuses the power of God to lead the way. When we feel anxious about the way things might work out, we might do whatever it takes to make it work out in our favor without waiting to see God’s favor granted.
When our sense of control is threatened, fears seep in and pride takes over.
What a vicious cycle of living stuck we find ourselves in.
Whether we are afraid and think there is nothing we can do, or we live from a place of pride and control thinking we can do it all and must, the only way out is to choose surrender.
A daily surrender of our will for the will of Christ leads us to a life well-lived because it trusts in the one who gave us a life to live.
God gave me the word “surrender” this year. I wrestled with him and I’m pretty sure I cried. I knew there was a part of my thinking patterns warped in the way I understood surrender. It got kind of messed up with unhealthy views on submission which kept me in a position of not asserting myself and vulnerable to the whims and demands of others.
The kind of surrender God asks from us is hard to do, but it is always a piece of the process towards living well. When we surrender to the ways and will of God, we do not live as a victim of others or circumstances. We are not enslaved to our own thoughts & needs. Instead, we live free in our ability to love, give, and enjoy life more fully.
Our fear, our pride, and our control, they keeps us from living in full freedom as believers. If only we saw the way in which the enemy tempts us to stick with these rather than experiencing God's best.
But we hold on to what we know, afraid of what God knows. Surrender opens our clenched fists and puts it all in the hands of God.
I get it, if you're anything like me you want what you want and you want it now. You might even want things which are not only good things but in line with you believe to be God ordained things. Even so, choosing to surrender the getting, the knowing, and the having to have, frees us up to have more of God and be more of who we are designed to be.
If we really want to have it all, we must give all of ourselves to the work of God in our lives. We find all of what we truly need with Christ.
Only as we surrender our ways for his ways, and surrender our expectations for His, will we find more of Him. Our daily surrender gives us room to love him more and we begin to know greater peace, joy, and freedom.
CULTIVATE WITH PRAYER:
Lord, I have been full of pride, fear, and control. These things keep me from living as you've designed me to. Help me to see and want all that you have for me as your child. Thank you for giving the gift of the Holy Spirit's presence so I could be convicted, encouraged, and comforted. Thank you for loving me in the midst of my mess and reminding me that your arms open, waiting for me to come to you.
I choose today to surrender my fears, my pride, and my attempts to control. I give these to you and humbly receive all you have for me today. Help me to know what this is and to remember. I love you, Lord. Amen.
WANT TO KNOW CULTIVATE A LIFE WELL-LIVED?
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