Have you ever described your life as an island? “Nobody understands me and I’m ok with that,” you tell yourself. That used to be me. “I am alone in this world. I don’t need anybody else, ever, and I am ok with that,” you tell yourself. That used to be me, as well.
Now, I’m here to tell you it’s not true. We try to convince ourselves of things because we feel it will protect our hearts from becoming used, abused, broken. We don’t want others to take our hearts, jump up and down and them, crumple them up and toss them away. I totally get that. I know how hard it is to let someone in; to believe in anyone; to trust. That is my strongest weakness, I admit. To trust.
Ya know what? I tried once to be hypnotized. I remember finding this doctor and he specializes in hypnosis to help people realize/remember, understand, and fix certain problems they have.
I had a traumatic experience as a child. All I remember is the fear I felt – not being able to move (I was petrified in fear), not being able to speak or scream. When I tried to make a sound, it’s like all my air passages closed shut. I could barely breathe. Having this memory of fear has limited my ability in life to do many things and I wanted to overcome this. The doctor ran several tests. He questioned me. He was a very sweet and professional man who seemed to know what he was talking about. I felt as comfortable with him as much as I guess most anyone would after talking with him on the phone a few times and knowing him for an hour or two (So, not much). 😉
Eventually, he gave me this mask to place over my eyes that had special lights in it that was supposed to trigger my brain or mind or whatever. We found some relaxing music that I agreed was calming and took me to what I admitted was a special, favorite place. Seems like I remember hearing different pitches/tones (beeps to stimulate other sensory?) throughout the process. He had a very comforting, soothing voice and he was easy to listen to.
This poor man tried and tried and tried to get me to this hypnotic state, and I honestly tried as hard as I could to let him. I wanted to resolve this issue and I paid handsomely for it. I don’t like to spend my money THAT frivolously! He finally gave up and, together, we went over all the results of his testing and his eyes grew big. He said, “As far as inability to trust goes, you score off the charts.” He had never witnessed anyone who trusted as little as me. This, I pretty much already knew – my inability/refusal to trust. This was about 5 or 6 years ago.
Do I trust any better today? Oh, definitely. It’s something I struggle with but work on every single day. My daughter teaches me to trust. My mother teaches me to trust. More than that, I have learned to trust God. Believing and trusting are very different. I know you are real. I can see you with my eyes. I believe in you. Do I trust you? Ha! Are you kidding? I don’t trust myself half the time. You think I’m gonna trust you?
I know God is there. I know he’s real, but it’s taken many years to get to a point of trusting him. Now, I do. Do I question him and his plan for me? Of course! Who doesn’t? I’m sure there are a few out there who don’t. I’m so human. I question everything. I teach my daughter to question everything – even me. If she doesn’t understand, I want her to understand. Don’t blindly obey without understanding why, I tell her. Perhaps I should not have raised her this way, but I want her to understand why she is doing something, not to just do it because someone suggested or told her to do it. I have never witnessed her questioning God. I wonder why. She questions me all the time. 😉 Why does she not question God? I’m not certain of the answer, except she has more of a direct link to him, I think – always has. She trusts – not blindly, but she is trusting. She forgives. She loves and she lets people in her heart. She shares her heart. I have much to learn from this little (well, maybe not little since she’s 11, 5’2″ and 80 pounds) person.
I know I need to quit questioning God. I am working on my stubbornness.
“The heart of worship is surrender.” Mr. Warren describes the word surrender as being an unpopular word. I’ll say! He describes it as defeat in battle, forfeiting a game or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is nearly always used in a negative context. “Captured criminals surrender to authorities.” We are taught to win-win-win, never give up, never surrender, so the thought of surrender is unthinkable, he explains. “We give ourselves to him, not out of fear or duty, but in love.”
What blocks our surrender? Fear? Pride? Confusion? You have to trust if you are to surrender. To trust him, you have to know him better. Fear keeps us from trusting, from surrendering, but as Mr. Warren explains, love casts out all fear.
God shows me every day how much he loves me. Are my eyes open enough to see it? He says he loves me, he forgives me, he gives me emotions and senses to help me enjoy this life, he is patient and he waits for me. He does the same for you.
Pride gets in the way of much. I admit, I can be extremely prideful. This is a huge weakness of mine. I am stubborn and head-strong and I battle with this every single day. I feel I need to control everything, everything about my life – I have to remain in control. This is self-centered. It’s human nature, I’m afraid, and extremely difficult to overcome, especially when you have spent 42 years of trying to gain and remain in control. Now, I need to give up my pride? After all these years? I have to relinquish my control over to God? To Jesus? How does one do this when you have trained yourself to be (or try to be) in control of your life?
What does it mean to surrender? It’s not an excuse for laziness or accepting the status quo. Sacrificing yourself (a living sacrifice, meaning you are living for him, every day) you have to suffer sometimes to change a few things. Surrendering could mean fighting in a battle on behalf of God. Mr. Warren explains, “Surrendering is not for cowards or doormats.” It doesn’t mean giving up your own mind and thoughts – your rational thinking. He gave you your mind for a reason and everyone’s mind is different. You have a special mind all your own that God needs you to use to do the special things that he calls you to do. No one else can do what you can. That’s why we are all different. That’s why some of us are called freaks, weirdos, the misunderstood. How will God use you? Do you want to find out? You have to surrender first.
We are all useable. He can use you in ways you cannot see at this moment or even understand.
It is not about repressing your personality. God wants to use your unique personality. He made you the way you are for a reason. You might hate the way you are. Please learn that being different is a good thing. It’s actually a pretty darn cool thing, if you ask me. Do you really want to be like everyone else? How boring would this life be, then!?
I realize I’m a little different. I can be outgoing and silly one minute and a shy, quiet, complete introvert the next. Why? I have no idea, but I am the way I am. Do I get ticked off at myself? Om, yeah! Just every day! I work on it. I work on me. I am trying to let God work on me. You can’t do it alone. I realized this, finally. Actually, it’s been a learning process, over the last 5 or 6 years. Or rather a learning process over the last 42?
Every day is a lesson. Many lessons in a day. It’s up to us to see them and to learn. What am I going to learn today? What will I get out of it? Oh, I’m just taking Hallie to school and going to work, but I’m sure there are going to be some lessons for me, as there will be for her. Will I be stubborn and ignore these lessons or will I try to open my eyes and my heart and let me witness God trying to show me something that, otherwise, I would have missed if I wasn’t looking?
I’ll try to not be so “in charge” today. I’m going to let go today (this will be a lesson in itself – Me? Let go?) and let God do everything. I’ll just go with the flow and do what I need to do at work and see what happens. I’ll try not to control everything. If someone needs me, I’ll be there. You never know if someone needs to share something that will change your life forever. I’m going to listen today. “Surrendered people are the ones God uses.” It’s kind of scary, but it’s also exciting (isn’t it?) to think that God might use me for something. I want him to use me for something good.
How does one surrender? How does one go about doing this? Give it all to him: “your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions” (hard for me, as I plan every day of my life in my day planner, plus I’ve only planned the next 1-5 years of my future!), “your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Jesus” (your brother, if you want to look at it like this – he is, anyway) “in the driver’s seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel” (of your life, not your car!). “Don’t be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control.”
You will continue to be tested. Do not forget that. God tests the hearts of all, not just the rebels. He trusts the surrendered, as well. It’s no longer about what YOU want. Being surrendered means sometimes doing what you don’t want to do. It’s what HE wants.
Make today an awesome one! Try to do at least one thing today that will make God smile. It’s going to make you smile, too. I want you to smile a lot today and think of all the gifts you have. If you have to, make a list, just to remind yourself that you do have many gifts in your life. I will be thinking of you today and I know God will be with you all throughout the day. If you need me to send you a list of gifts that you have, I can point some out for you.
Any thoughts on this chapter? Any thoughts on my perceptions of the chapter? Anything you want to share? I’m all ears.
Love you! 😉