In the last two weeks I have written about the first two steps in loving God with all of ourselves, 1- giving up our own very negative self-image and 2- exchanging our anxiety and fear for a deep trust in God for taking care of everything for us and listening for God’s wisdom in everything. I don’t mean to suggest that these are neat stages or that we do them in order step by step, but that they are the sum total of our part in the journey with God.
The third step to loving God with all of ourselves is to surrender all our own attachments, preconceptions, expectations or desires. We have to get over ourselves, our own way of doing things and the culture’s ways—to let go and to let God set all the priorities, methods, timing–everything in all that we do. We, no longer the masters of our own ship, allow God to do it all in partnership with us.
These can be difficult lessons. Our lives with God involve thousands of surrenders of little things and big. I’ve been at this thirty years and I can still trip over my own two feet. You might have read that I’m writing a book about the Exodus story being our story, too. Well last fall I did what I thought was all the research for the book and by the end of January, I thought that I was ready to write the book. And so I started. For three days I couldn’t get anything of any value down on paper. And finally, I hear this: “Don’t. Don’t even try to write anything until you are inspired!” I had decided that I was ready. I was off on my own agenda, my own way of tackling things/pushing them through and hadn’t realize that I wasn’t listening to God.
For the next four or five months I had lots of time on my hands, because there was no inspiration. I had just started the preparation for the School of the Spirit, a spiritual formation program, which came with a primary and supplementary reading list. Since I was not writing the book, I read maybe 25 books last spring. And I found lots of quotes to use in the book. And I began to realize that writing the book wasn’t simply about putting the ideas down on paper—that I wasn’t ready to write the book in God’s eyes. Some healing/transformation/realization had to happen in me as well in order for me to write it. By this fall I did feel God telling me it was time to write the book and I have just finished the first draft of a very complex story.
And what did I learn? In essence to let go and to let God set the timing, the pace, the content, in fact, everything. And that my way of doing things is no longer any help at all! As soon as I got what he was saying to me about my will not being useful, I relaxed and proceeded at his pace.
I think that God highlights our attachments. He whispers what we need to do and when. He allows us challenges so that we would learn whatever our next lesson is. He leads us, if we will let him. With each thing/person/event that comes into our lives we are to give up our resistance to it, our opinion of it and to learn to embrace what already is. This is the nature of surrender: to allow what already is into our lives without objection. We may not like what has happened, but we can be sure that God thinks that it is exactly what we need right now. The longer we resist, complain and delay accepting it, the more time we waste in getting with his agenda for us. The more we drain off our best creative energies. The more we get ourselves tied to the past.
I call all our resistance the “Ten Thousand Surrenders.” Every time we feel that “no” arising in us, every time we don’t like what we see, every time we have objections to what is, we are in resistance to God’s will. We are expending our best energies in fighting what already is. We’re not changing anything, just spending time in resistance, when we could be doing something creative like looking at what has come into our lives and seeing what it is really like and what it is asking of us, instead of just reacting to it.
What we are asked by God to do is to leave behind our worldly ways of thinking and being, particularly our own personal lens that is colored by our personal opinion of ourselves plus everything that we’ve picked up from our families and culture. These constitute a cloudy lens through which we try to discern what is real and what is not. Until we let go of these attitudes and opinions and assumptions we cannot see reality clearly—we cannot see what God sees at all. This is why it takes so many surrenders to God’s will, before we are able to see God or what he is trying to do in our lives clearly at all. Until we are well surrendered to his ways, to his will, we are only projecting what we are taught onto God, or what we assume, or what we hope for. We cannot see God as he is, or ourselves or anyone else as they are.
In effect, we are living in our own little bubble of belief and opinion which probably has very little to do with who God is or with reality. We’ll see our own lens reflected in the culture and the world, so it is always being mirrored to us, but it is not about God and his ways and what he wants for us at all. Just remember, he is looking for our “Yes!” in everything. Then he has so much more to work with in us, then when we are holding back, resisting him.
Questions to ponder over the week: In what areas of my life do I easily say “Yes!” to God? And in what areas am I saying “No!” to God? What makes the difference between the two areas? Will I commit myself to saying “Yes!” to God as soon as I see something new in my life or when I discover I am in resistance? What is God asking of me right now? Is my answer “Yes!” or “No!”?
Blessing for the week: May we be the surrendered people of God who answer, “Yes!” May we no longer live in resistance, but quickly make the surrender. May we realize our full, created potential and purpose.
News from By the Waters
*****I’m doing more research for my book. If you have had the experience of God telling you what your purpose is, would you write me in the Messages and tell me what that purpose is and how it came about. I would greatly appreciate your help. I’ll use it in my book, but the writer will remain anonymous.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.
If you want to read the entire post for this week, check it out at www.bythewaters.net/blog/html. Also find there archives of all my posts going back to 2011.