Recently I’ve had some anxiety about my future. While being bombarded with many questions of what I will do after these two years are up has caused me to worry. My response to these questions are on the lines of “I have several options” or “I could do this…” or “I could do that…”. But confession: I really have no idea.
I mean I have an ‘idea’ but I don’t want to do just anything. I don’t just want to do any job or live just anywhere, but I want to live according to my purpose and fulfil God’s will for my life. I want to pursue the career, the life that He has ordained for me. I don’t just want to pursue something because it is secure or has lots of perks or is ‘expected’ of me. God has brought me so far and after this experience I can’t just go back to the way life was before I said YES. I feel God is calling me higher, to something more. But as I declare this to myself, you, and to Jesus I keep hearing that still, small voice whisper in my spirit a startling truth: It’s NOT about you!
Yep, I know that is a hard pill to swallow especially in an egocentric world that operates on the will of ‘me’ and not always the will of God. We operate on the idea of God is able, but in actuality we limit God based on what we are capable of doing ourselves. We tell God that I will pursue this job (and this job only) because it is secure and is in line with what I have a degree in. We tell God I will apply to this college because I can afford it and they provide this and that. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with this thinking. Many would say these are smart choices and well thought out and well planned. I would have to agree especially if God is calling you to pursue these things. Humph, “if God is calling you to pursue…”
How many times do we avoid certain things or decide against certain paths that God is calling us to simply because we can’t see every stone, curve, or obstacle down the road? We can’t see how this decision will work out so we run from it. We don’t know how we will be able to pay for this or we don’t know if we will have the support needed for this to be a success. So we retreat to the ‘expected life’. We settle (ok maybe ‘settle’ is too harsh), we convince ourselves that this is not God’s will because it is too risky or too hard or too unsure. We choose the safer, more comfortable, more sure path. This path will afford you a nice, good life and there is nothing wrong with that choice. But God just doesn’t want to give us a good life. He longs to give us a great life! He always wants to give us His best! But (yes there is always a ‘but’) we must also be willing to give God our best!
BREAKING NEWS: It’s NOT about you!
God calls all of us to fulfill a purpose that has nothing to do with us. Sorry to say but it doesn’t. It has everything to do with God and His will. If we dare to choose a great life, we must surrender our dreams, goals, and plans and submit to God’s will for us. Yes the two naughty words “surrender” and “submit”, but we must have both in order to have access to this life of abundance in Christ.
This is one of my favorite scriptures, and I know it is a favorite of many of my Facebook friends as well. I see it posted all over social media sites, but I wonder if we truly understand what this means for us? This scripture declares that GOD knows the plans of our lives. He is the keeper of those plans, not us. It does not say “For we know the plans we want to pursue, so God give us all we need in order to pursue our plans.”
God is calling us to surrender our plans to Him because there is only so far we can get on our own, but if we want real success, to be elevated to the next level, we must understand that we can’t reach there on our own. We must trust God that He knows what’s best for us. The Lord says for us to “offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice…” to Him (Romans 12:1). He calls us to surrender our all to Him, including our plans.
I know you may have a perfect, well thought out, fool-proof 5 year (maybe even 10 year) plan for your life. Believe me I did too. Giving up my secure career, loving family and friends, and safe, comfortable life to come to South Africa for two years was never a part of that plan. In fact, I remember a time when being a teacher was also something I said I would never do! But God has a way of redirecting our focus and ordering our steps to be in line with His plan.
Surrender simply means to yield to the power or control of another or to give up something or yourself to that power. God calls us to surrender to His control over our lives. We must completely remove the “me” and “I” from the equation. Jesus declares that “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it…” (Matthew 16:24).If we want to truly live for God and be obedient to His will we must deny ourselves and what we want. We must be willing to let go completely of our agendas and perfectly crafted 5 year plans!
Now don’t get it twisted. I am not saying go and quit your job or drop out of school or sell your house and move to Timbuctu. Unless God is leading you to do those things then please don’t mistake my words as permission to do something reckless. But I am saying that God calls us to have a different mindset. Instead of having a mindset of “I want to pursue this God-driven opportunity but I don’t have the resources, finances, support…etc. so I won’t” We should approach every opportunity with a God-centered mindset. We should have an attitude of “If this is your will, Lord then let your will be done and not my will…” We should approach each situation or prospect that we are presented with in our careers, relationships, and every area of life with the attitude of “If this is your will Lord…I want to do your will.”
Not every good opportunity is a God opportunity! Just because something sounds really pleasing doesn’t mean it is something God wants us to pursue. So we must be careful not to “lean to our own understanding” but “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Yes, God calls us to submit to Him. Now I understand this is not a very favorable word with most of us but it is unavoidable. If we really want to live the abundant life that God is desperately waiting to give us we must submit to His will!
Submission can be a hard concept to understand and adhere to. But we do it every day. We submit to our boss by following their instructions and not our own. We submit to the rules of the road (ok most of us do…). We choose to not go 10 or 15 miles per hour over the speed limit and to stop at the red light instead of running through it. We submit to the government and pay our taxes. For those who are married, we submit to our spouses or at least we do in theory (that is a whole other issue for another time and blog)!
Submission is a choice. God doesn’t force us to submit to His will for our lives. Just like you choose to submit to certain authorities you can choose whether or not to submit to God. Many of us choose to submit to those authoritative figures in fear of the consequences. Just as there are consequences to not choosing to submit to the speed limit on the road, there are also consequences to not submitting to Christ. We may experience those consequences immediately, but many times we will never fully know the consequences of choosing not to submit to God’s will until we leave this earth.
I always think of the example of on judgment day God showing you a video of your life. In this video He shows all of the good things you did and even the sin that we never asked forgiveness for. But overall you see that you had a good life. Then God shows you a second video. This video is not familiar at all, but it shows you the life you could have had if only…If only you trusted God fully. If only you surrendered your plans to God. If only you submitted completely and continuously to God’s will for your life. This is the great and abundant life you could have experienced on earth. But you chose not to submit.
But God’s plan is scary. His will seems uncertain. I can’t see the next step I must make. His will requires too much from me. His will calls for me to make too many sacrifices. I am unsure if He will provide the finances, resources, support I will need…Sound familiar?!
“This is why I tell you not to be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not sow seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds?” (Matthew 6:25-26) If God can and will provide for even the birds, He must certainly will provide for His child. Remember He is mindful of you!
So guess what: God has made certain promises to each one of us for our lives. And whatever God has promised will come to pass. But in order to have access to His promises we must surrender our plans and submit to His will for our lives. We don’t have to be afraid or worry because: “Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s yes and our yes together. Gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting His yes within us. By His spirit He has stamped us with His eternal pledge – a sure beginning of what is destined to complete.” (2 Corinthians 1:20-22 MSG)
So sorry to say but it is NOT about you (or me), but it is all about God and doing His will. So are you ready to surrender and submit to His will