This word freedom, and the scripture that goes with it, are not what I would have thought of to carry us through what is going on in our lives right now. Yet God has been speaking to me through scriptures, books, and devotionals about freedom. And today Ann Voskamp's blog post echoed what I had been reading about surrender in Heidi Baker's book, "Birthing the Miraculous". Surrender and obedience bring freedom. But there is more.....
Ann said, "You were born for freedom. You deliver into it through obedience." And then, "No one ever enters into the rest of God by giving Him only half of themselves." She continued to say, "The soundtrack for misery always is, "I did it my way". Ann often hits the nail right on the head. Squarely.
My cowboy preacher, Joel, brought a deeper understanding to me with his definition of surrender. He defined surrender to God as being a struggle when it comes from our body or soul. But when we know who we are and Whose we are through our Spirit within, surrender releases into freedom. And we know who we are because God tells us who we are. We are a child of God. We are made righteous through Jesus. He delights over us with singing. There are endless scriptures that tell us who we are!
Getting back to "I did it my way",,,,,,,,,Discerning what is God's will and what is only ours takes time, and even then we can get confused. In the daylight hours when the sun is clearing out the cobwebs, it all looks good and right. In the wee hours of the morning when darkness stirs the soul, doubt and fear can work their way in. At 4:30 this morning I found myself in such a place......and asked the question, "How is this working for you, Renee?
As I lay in bed tossing and turning, I remembered what Jesus had spoken to me in the garden yesterday morning. If you visit here often you know that I meditate most days on imagining myself in the garden of my heart where Jesus comes and speaks to me. I call it divine imagining as I have learned over the past few years that 99% of what comes is NOT from me. It is a precious time with God that I continue to be thankful for. Joel and I are in the middle of a life changing decision for ourselves, and those we love and care about will be affected. It has me struggling. In the garden Jesus showed me an enormous bag on the ground that was moving around like something or someone was inside. I knew it was filled with the thoughts and feelings of others. Jesus asked me to give it to Him. He said to me...."You can do this the easy way or you can do this the hard way." I knew what He meant. I had a decision to make. I gave Him the bag, and I did so with a sense of relief.
But at 3 this morning when I was wide awake, I knew I was dragging that bag around again, and was doubting His direction. I had surrendered, but only briefly. So I began to release that worry and sadness I was feeling for myself and our family, as I whispered the name of Jesus over and over with every breath until restful sleep returned. It was a matter of trust.
God wants us to trust Him, people. If you are a follower here, you know this has been a reoccurring theme in my life. Trusting Jesus. He wants us to surrender self and embrace freedom in Him. We do that by remembering who we are and Whose we are. God desires us to experience freedom and He knows that one of the ways that it is released is through obedience. And obedience comes from surrender. Surrender is possible when we know who we are and out of trust we rest in that. I love this song by Bethel Music that speaks so well of being a child of God. I hope you enjoy it too.