September Challenge

Wow! September is here. It seems this month is always filled with change. New activities, new friends, new classes, nights get cooler, leaves turn colors, everything seems to be shifting. With all the changes happening around me, I’ve been searching and asking God what changes I need to make in my own heart. One word keeps surfacing. Surrender.

This isn’t the word I wanted. Not even the area I thought I needed, but as always, the Lord knows me better than I know myself. As I’ve been contemplating surrender and what that means for my life, I’ve made a few frightening discoveries.

First, surrender means to completely abandon your ground, to give up your position. The comfort of knowing your place, that’s gone. The pride of
holding your own, in anything, vanishes. Rights you once cherished are crushed.

Second, surrender leaves you vulnerable. You are completely at the mercy of someone else. Will they do what is best for you? Will they abandon you? Will they enslave you? Will they abuse you?

And finally, surrender leaves you powerless. There is no way to control life once you surrender. Your influence, your status, your knowledge, your abilities are worthless unless your captor sees it of value. The only power, the only control you have is given to you by those ruling over you.

Surrender doesn’t look desirable. Yet, it is exactly where my Heavenly Father is calling me. To put aside my opinions, my wants, my rights, my comfortable place and allow Him to direct my words, my thoughts, and my actions. He’s asking me to lay down my control and trust that He will meet every need. He is calling me to believe that He will put me exactly where I need to be.

Here’s the thing about God, He knows me, really knows me. He sees talents and abilities in me when I don’t know they exist. He knows exactly where I need to be so that I can grow and be used to encourage others.

Without complete surrender, I’m always on the fence. I follow when it suits my plans, not God’s. I’m more interested in the wrongs, or sins, that I can see and fix instead of letting the Holy Spirit direct my steps. I jump in to do work I was never intended to do because I “know” how to handle this or that. I deal with life’s struggles without supernatural strength or power because I can. I always keep something back, something hidden, so I won’t be completely crushed if my plans don’t work out.

But, an unsurrendered life is exhausting. There is a constant power struggle. My best plans, my best offering, without the power of the Holy Spirit, still comes from a selfish heart. I build up walls to shield myself just in case God asks me to do something outrageous, a way to protect myself from the glares or words of those who disapprove. I constantly prepare myself for failure rather than victory because I want to do it all my way, in my strength, and with my knowledge.

I’ve discovered God desires me to live a life very different than the one I often choose to live. He wants me to walk by faith trusting my next step to Him. He wants me to be clothed in humility willing to be lift others up and not afraid of losing my sense of importance. He wants to empower me supernaturally to do things that are beyond my imaging. He is the giver of good gifts and talents and He wants to increase those gifts, both in number and influence.

My challenge this month is to daily practice surrendering to my Father. It is a choice to surrender my thoughts to Him to be renewed and transformed. A choice to surrender my will to His will, to follow the path He lays before me. A choice to surrender my talents and abilities to be used however He desires. None of this seems natural to me. None of it seems easy. But, God never called me to live an easy life. He did, however, give some amazing promises to His children and I’ll be clinging to them.

1 Corinthians 4:7-10 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body of the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

~ Regina

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