Sweet surrender

I’ve been realizing in me a defiance, a willfulness that rises up over the course of the week that takes me away from a place of surrender.  Church on Sunday is an opportunity for me to be reminded and built up for the week ahead, to re-calibrate myself back to a place where I am giving up control over the day, over the outcomes that I want so badly for myself and for my family.  The things I want aren’t always contrary to what God wants for me, but discerning between my will and His can be a challenge, especially when I’m not in a place of acceptance or surrender.  Sundays for me recently have been where I sit with open arms and hand myself over willingly to a Father that has plans for me larger than I can imagine, and a love for me that is boundless.

So this Sunday as I sat and listened to the message, a huge smile came across my face as we dove into Romans 12.  Thank you Jesus.  Your mercies are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness!  If you weren’t there please, find it and watch or listen to it, under Podcasts it’s titled *Game Changing Chapter*.

Early in my process of recovery Romans 12 was presented to me, and immediately became a chapter that breathed life into my days with a perspective, and reminders I needed.  I had fallen completely away from a God-inspired, God-centered, God-focused life.  I bought into presenting a life to the world, call it the *Facebook-afication* of my life, even to my loved-ones that told a very different story than what was happening inside me.  I was so full of myself there wasn’t room for a transformative God to be at work in me.  In this season that can focus far more on consumerism, big bows on new cars and the perfect Christmas morning I needed to revisit Romans 12.

A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This chapter is so rich in themes surrounding my recovery, it’s one of the more practical tools I have and turn to it routinely.  However, I needed the deep-dive the message Sunday provided.  It was a reminder that as work takes off, as relationships are challenged, as family gatherings take place and as the Holiday’s hit full-steam that I have a template for living.  A series of reminders that regardless of what is going on or where I find myself, I can turn to Him for strength, that He has me in His hands and I can turn to this chapter for encouragement.  As funny as it sounds, I need reminders that I don’t have it all together.  I need reminders that I’m not alone, and that the human condition I suffer from is not unique to me.  I need reminders that I am capable of a great deal of good, but it’s not all up to me either.

Thanks for being a part of something bigger than just one person.  Thank you for your humility in a group of strangers, to offer up yourselves as part of a community that is truly love in action.  I’m grateful for each of you, the way you lay yourselves down, the way you support and encourage one-another inspires me.  Thank you for modeling, however imperfectly, what it means to live a life part of something bigger than just ourselves.  Continue overcoming evil with good, what you pour into your day isn’t being overlooked or missed.

Grace, peace and love
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