Monday, May 17, 2010

The Kingdom of Me

There have been a few people who have shared their reading of this blog and have been in awe of my faith. Perhaps I've not been totally transparent, perhaps I've tried to keep up with other inspiring blogs of faith. Whatever the case may be, I'd like to share what the Lord is showing me, the yucky stuff and all.

I serve myself. Most of my thoughts are about myself. How can I be comfortable? What should I wear to look good? When will I get a nap? When will I get some time alone? When will I get to choose what I want to do?

Do you hear this? Blahhhck! These are some of my self-serving thoughts. I just started reading the book, "Dangerous Surrender" by Kaye Warren. I told one of my friends just two days ago that I probably shouldn't read it right now and had determined that I wouldn't pick it up until I was done resting for a while. Ha. There's this verse in the bible where Jesus goes off with His disciples. And the crowds follow Him. What does He do? He welcomes them. Oh, there have been so many times that I wish He had told them, just this once, to go away. (Luke 9:10,11)

Our family has been encouraged to rest countless times over the last few weeks. I do believe we are to rest, but sometimes I think my definition of rest and the Lord's Truth of rest are two different things. I picture myself having long, leisure naps and peaceful walks by myself. I'm not saying these are wrong, and I'm not saying rest is wrong, but these things would comprise a majority of my day. Yes, truth be told, if I had my way, I'd be alone for most of the day and go out and "serve" God when I felt I was ready. Do you hear me? I, I, I. Welcome to the kingdom of Ang.

The Lord asks me often, will you choose _______(could fill in with several things) or will you choose Me? He's speaking to me of surrender. I'm like, again, really Lord? I thought I surrendered everything. My job, my house, my comfortable family, my friends. What more could you possibly want? But, He says, You've not surrendered yourself: your moment-by moment thoughts, your dreams, your ambitions, your energy, your rest, your time. It's mine, Angie. All of it. If you will surrender it to me. I will teach you how to love outside of yourself.

How about you? Are you totally sold-out for Christ? I wish I were asking this to someone face to face. (There's my "I wish"...again..blah.) What does surrender look like to you? What does it mean to take up your cross? Yes, your cross? Not the cross of someone you think needs "fixing". I've tried that, too. In trying to avoid my own selfishness, I've tried to work on many others-my husband, my friends, my family. Oh my. I foolishly thought my cross was this one big thing, and that if I just surrendered that thing to Him each day, then all would be well. I'm learning that my daily cross comprises my thoughts, my desires, my emotions. Basically, all of me. My will.

I have no idea where surrender may take me. I don't really see the next step. I'm pretty much a "give me the big picture" gal, and I can work out the details. But-we walk by faith, not by sight, right? (2 Corinthians 5:7) In Kay Warren's book, she writes, "Surrender always leads to peace."
Hmmmm. I have to ponder that one for a while.

I've used my past abuse as a support that held certain walls in my life. This past weekend, my supports were taken away when I met two different women who were also repeatedly abused. So, I no longer can walk around with the attitude, "You don't know where I've been or what I've been through" because they do. I also met a woman who has no earthly family, other than a sister. There goes my crutch of, "My family's dysfunctional. You don't know what I've been through." All of these supports, these crutches, were attempts at protecting the kingdom of me. I somehow tried to prove I was strong through holding on to these self-serving thoughts.

Dear Lord~I can feel you breaking away things that stand between you and I. It's uncomfortable. It even hurts. Some days it hurts so badly I think I can't move forward. You're showing me how selfish I really am. You're showing me my attempts at preserving myself. I love you, Lord, and it is my desire to serve you and you alone. Break me of the things that I choose instead of you. Show me how you would have me live my life for you. I often choose the things that get me noticed. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to serve you, even if no one on earth gives me another "thank you". Help me to serve you in joy and peace. May you be made known and praised through my life on this earth. May I decrease and You increase in my life, Lord. I'm so focused on myself, I don't even know how to pray. Thank you for your grace, mercy, and love. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for this sinner. I love you.