At my son’s Upward game last weekend the ball went rolling across the gym floor. My child and his teammate both went to get it, eager to make a play. They wound up rolling around on the floor with each other, fighting over the ball. I heard the coach shout, “Boys! What are you doing? You are on the SAME TEAM!!” Under my breath I muttered a quiet, “that’ll preach.” but didn’t think much else of it until the next day. The Lord sent those words back into my heart as I wrestled with him over some things that are going on in my life. The question from the Lord kind of caught me off guard. I wanted to shout, “Lord! I love you! Of course I am on your team!!” but somehow the words evaded me as I examined my own heart.
Over the next several days I wrestled, and I mean wrestled, with the Lord. Finally, my husband looked at me and said, “I love you but you are wrong, Christy. You aren’t supposed to wrestle with the Lord. You are supposed to surrender to the Lord and obey.” Ouch. After I got finished nursing my ego after the hard blow from my hubby, I sobbed in frustration. The truth is, I don’t allow the Lord to be the captain of my ‘team’. I crave control in every situation of my life. I spend days calculating, planning and overthinking decisions so that the risk of failure is minimal and so that I am as comfortable as possible in the process.
I know everyone could tell a sad story about their childhood so I will spare you any details but in the early years of my life, my parents divorced unexpectedly, my mother lost most of her vision soon after and we had to move in with a grandparent in a one bedroom apartment. With the divorce came a new school, new friends and a new normal. Somewhere in the process I made up my mind that I would control everything in my life so that I never felt such hurt, shame and confusion again. At first glance, I guess that might seem like a great quality to have. Most things I have set out to do, I have accomplished. But under the surface, I have spent years of my life wanting perceived control of everything and everyone and it has left me a miserable mess. I say perceived because obviously I am not powerful enough to control what happens to others and what decisions they ultimately make but it isn’t for lack of trying. It’s exhausting, almost debilitating. And it really comes to a head when I try to grow closer to the Lord. As long as things are going well in my life and the blessings flow, it is easy for me to have perceived faith. I say all the right things, I know the scriptures and I will quote them often but in reality, since things are going the way I want them to, I secretly feel in control. Like I am the captain of my own team.
Recently, a series of events have made it blatantly clear that I have zero control over what is going on in my life or the life of those I love. And boy, have I been a huge brat about it. I have been wallowing in a puddle of anger, resentment, questions and tears. Hence my “wrestling” with God. Do you know what it made me? Exhausted. All of the arguing with God, all of the questions and fear, none of it has changed his sovereign power over my life and his plan for me.
I was praying about my wayward heart this morning and I begin thinking about soldiers in battle. Soldiers in the same army are fighting a common enemy, a common cause but each side fights with all they have until the point of utter exhaustion. I think that the moment of surrender in battle has to be relieve both sides. Yes, the surrendering side might be giving over control but they are also ending the fight. The winning side is probably weary from the battle as well but relieved that the fighting will stop and everyone makes it out with their life. Yes, I know that in actual war it is much more complex than this but stay with me here. The waving of the white flag brings peace to the battle. And at some point, if you want to grow in your walk with Jesus, you have to come to a point of surrender. Waving the flag and showing Jesus that you are just to weary to fight for the areas in your life that are hindering you from advancing. I am sure Heaven’s army rejoices when they see your white flag waved high in surrender.
Maybe you are like me and have trouble giving up control and putting your trust in the Lord. Maybe you have been hurt by people or events and the wounds are so fresh that you, too, protect them deeply. Perhaps you need to surrender other things in your life that are keeping you from developing your relationship with the Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what it is you need to lay down and surrender and then pray that God will give you the strength to do it. As for me, I was weary from battle and I decided to give it all to the Lord. I am thankful he loves me enough to walk with me through my hardest valleys just so I will know he is always there.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” Philippians 4:6