This weekend marks the end of a stretch for my family that has seen us all pulled in different directions. There are still many challenges ahead, but the *slow-squeeze* is lightening. I had the joy (and frustration) of being my daughters dad all weekend. Of meeting them where they were at, getting proximate to what is important to them, and not imposing my own will. It was a time of surrendering to them and for me to not worry how I looked. My heart is overflowing today. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be their father, and because of that to be someone who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about me. Because in those moments where they want me, they’re inviting me into their world. They see my world, and they don’t want that in their play time and I don’t blame them. They want me to play with them at their level. Their rules, their agenda, their story-line. I will happily submit, but that’s not always been the case.
Surrendering my will is not something that comes naturally. Everything I am willful about has been a part of me since adolescence, it can all be traced back to something in my past that shaped me. Learning to do life differently takes time. How many times I acted a certain way, gave foothold to a certain thought or reacted in a way contrary to my values. That hindsight led me to guilt, to shame, to despair and would keep me from breaking out. With my head hanging, I ask why do I keep blowing it?
Romans 7: 18-23 “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
The law of sin is very much at war with the goodness sewn into me. I had to get to a place of recognizing my own brokenness before I could see that and surrender. I didn’t have the answers, or the path to satisfaction. I had to surrender to a will greater than my own, and recognize that it’s an imperfect process. It takes time. Diamonds are formed over the course of 1 Billion years (when not created in a laboratory). If I’m to make real-lasting change, I have to surrender the Earthly idea that it happens overnight. That’s putting a time-frame on things, and God doesn’t work like that. God doesn’t have a clock or a calendar. My will wants it right now, and there’s a whisper that tells me that if it hasn’t happened yet it’s not meant to be. In the past I’d hear that whisper and turn it into a shout of my own. Where I’m at right now is a place of surrender, a place of open dialogue with my Father and trying to find stillness, peace in the middle of it all.
Psalm 37: 3-8
These past few weeks have been filled with challenges, fears and uneasiness. In past seasons of life I’d hear the whisper, I’d hear the lies and find distractions. Find something to help me numb out or try to find meaning in the things around me.
In the present though, I’m clinging to my faith. Clinging to the Bible and closer to Jesus than I’ve ever thought I was capable of. But that’s the point right? It’s not up to me and my ideas. I have never been the guy who felt, much-less said, God is in this. Yet here I am today craving more Jesus, not less. It’s not to say I’m not still the willful-moody kid who pushes back at times and says things to God that might otherwise damage an Earthly relationship. It’s also not to say that there’s peace at every turn, but it is to say that I believe in all things I recognize that I have a Father who loves me unconditionally and wants good things for me. He doesn’t want bad things to happen, yet they will and He won’t stop them from happening. Great things will also happen though. Amazing things beyond our scope of understanding. We’re all at the threshold of a miracle, waiting to step over into the unthinkable.
Believing that God is worthy of praise only when things are good is my own flawed thinking. Believing that God has forgotten me in the bad times is me trying to put God in a box, and puts limits or restrictions on Him. God can’t be measured, tracked or constrained. If He is, it’s because I put those limitations on Him, because it brings me comfort when I feel like I have his size, shape and understand His intentions. That’s me putting a security blanket over the form of a God I choose to acknowledge, when He is so much more than anything I could dream up. God is more vast than our imagination, as is his love for each of us. The truth is I need to surrender my own flawed and broken thinking to something I can’t see or touch. To be still, to have faith in the unseen and to trust.