Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sin and Surrender

Standard

I’m a morning person for the most part, but even the brightest early riser can sometimes have trouble getting her day going. Therefore, I’ve developed the habit of listening to music as I make my bed each morning; something to help me adjust to the pace of no longer sleeping and now being active, in addition to making a somewhat menial task more enjoyable. But this morning my Spotify radio station played me an unfamiliar song by All Sons and Daughters, called “Dawn to Dusk”. Like the majority of this group’s songs, the lyrics themselves were rather simple, but one line really hit me. I’ll give it to you in the context of the whole chorus:

Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender
We come before You, lay our burdens down
We look to You as our hearts remember
You are the only God, You are our only God

Recently I’ve become very aware of a specific sin I’ve been warring with. It’s a consistent, very difficult struggle, one I lose more often than I win. And every time I find myself in that same place of temptation, I start feeling hopeless, like I am never going to be strong enough to overcome the allure of this sin so perfectly fitted to my own depraved desires. I know the promise that God will not allow the temptation to be more than I can stand, that He will always give me a way out (1 Cor 10:13), but time after time after time I simply don’t choose that way out. I choose to give in to sin. I decide that I want the tasty bait, even though I know there’s gonna be a hook on the end. I surrender, and each time I surrender to temptation, the next time becomes that much easier. If I didn’t know any better, I’d almost think I was being led into a cage, like a dumb little animal following dog treats one step at a time.

Because I’ve been thinking about my struggle in terms of “surrender and “bondage”, the first line of that chorus really struck me. Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender. I need to surrender, but not to sin. I need to surrender my life, my choices, my heart, my mind, to Jesus. I need to let Him have His way with me. Only then will I experience freedom. And the most beautiful part of this is that each time I am tempted to sin and instead choose to surrender to Jesus, the next surrender will be easier!

I praise You, God, for Your faithfulness to me. Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You that you do not demand perfection of me, but that instead You kneel down and help me in both my desires and my actions to emulate Your Son. Thank You for Your Hesed, that You relentlessly call me to Yourself. Help me to hear you loud and clear, especially in those times when I’m tempted so strongly. Help me to choose you. Help me to surrender. Help me to walk in the freedom You’ve bought for me, for I don’t want to take it lightly.

Working in Weakness

Standard

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                                                                                                                                              2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I’ve found that a lot of conversation can happen in a kitchen. Working in a cafe/coffee shop, I spend quite a bit of time cooking and washing dishes behind the scenes with a handful of other women, and, as people in general (and young women in particular) are bound to do, we are often found talking about what’s going on in our lives. Our hobbies, our activities, our stories and our dreams.

I’ve shared most of my story with most of these ladies: missionary kid, passionate about Jesus, rocky home life, spent some time in a foster-type situation, went to Bible school, world traveler, and aspiring missionary church planter. Each time I tell my story, I can’t help but feel like there’s a disconnect. Missionary family goes through a nasty divorce, and two years later is still picking up the pieces? Young woman wants to traipse all over the world to build new relationships, but hesitates each time she interacts with her own relatives? Sometimes I can see these questions reflected in my listeners’ eyes as I tell my story, and, honestly, it makes me feel ashamed. I feel like we should have it all together. We should be perfect, be healthy, be happy, be whole. I should be the perfect daughter and have the perfect relationships with everyone around me. I  shouldn’t be so ungodly like this. How can someone like me, coming from a situation like this, be where I am right now? It doesn’t seem logical, or right, or natural at all.

I’ve been pondering this discord inside myself from quite some time now, and just when I’d decided to let it go, I recognized the truth in that verse. My favorite verse. It’s amazing how blind I can be. “My strength works best in weakness”. I finally see that God isn’t expecting me to overcome my situation and finally look back and see how far He’s brought me. He placed me where I was (and where I am now), and allowed me to be who I was and am, because of those shameful weaknesses. Because in that brokenness, where you can’t see a way out, His rescue shines miraculously bright. Because in that hopelessness, where cyclical sin seems endless and inevitable, His true freedom sings triumphantly. Because in that dark despair, where every voice around you and inside you tells you this is all you will ever know, His Love brings new birth and a whole new life.

I realized today that I can be like Paul. I don’t have to reach some amazing point of super-saint Christian maturity to be able to say “now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me”. I just tell my story, honestly and without shame, letting others see my weakness so that they can see His work. It’s only by Jesus’ grace that I have come this far.