I slowly raised the tattered flag that I carried around for what seemed like decades. Its crisp whiteness no longer visible as time and distress muted the color to a dirty dishwater shade. I traced the dark streaks running across the grain of the fabric with shaky hands. I had kept it in my back pocket and pulled it out every now and again, threatening to actually wave it to let God know that I truly had surrendered. But for some reason, I never could really do it. I pretended like I had fully surrendered and was the perfect little Christian, willing to do whatever He wanted me to, including giving up the things I loved the most if he wished it.
But these were just desperate whispered prayers that I tossed up in moments of extreme discomfort, hoping they would ease the pressure that I felt. Although I did receive some momentarily relief from those times, eventually I pulled the reigns back into my hands and took control, doing what I wanted to do as God’s requests sat quietly in the back seat in my car. I tucked the weathered white flag back into my pocket, vowing to pull it out some other time. But right now, I just couldn’t trust God to take my life in the direction I needed it to go.
Surrender is never easy is it?? I suppose that’s partly due to our inability to trust God with our lives. Those cultural lies sneak in, telling us we are in control of our lives, we can build whatever we want and go wherever we want, but deep down we know that’s not true. Of course God wants us to dream and do great things with our lives, but sometimes those dreams are not from Him, but something WE want. We need to be willing to lay selfish ambitions down before Him. It can’t always be about us 100% of the time. That runs counter-intuitive to our self absorbed culture but that’s the way Jesus lived and that’s the way a believer should live.
I finally found myself arriving at the intersection of Disappointed and Tired of Trying a few years ago. After years of attempting to do things in my own strength I finally just pulled out the old beat up flag and put my stake into the ground. I had no more strength to keep pushing my own agenda. That’s the point that God’s grace stepped in and held me up. And it comes down to this: God opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). I was proudly (but silently) pushing my way and trying to manipulate situations so that I could get what I wanted out of life. There’s a word for that……..self-absorbed!!!
Even though at times I got what I wanted (signed with a label, touring, releasing music to radio) it still didn’t fulfill. That’s because NO THING in this world can fully satisfy us the way Christ can. So I found myself being opposed by the Almighty. He closed doors in my face enough times I finally threw my flag up in surrender. And it hurt. It hurt REALLY bad!
But after I licked my wounds a little bit I realized that God did me a favor. He used that painful time in my life to get my eyes back on Him and His plan for my life. Slowly He began to unlock new gifts in me that I knew nothing about previously. I found that I loved creative writing and I live to teach His word to women that want to hear it. I don’t have it all figured out but I do know that I can trust Him and this isn’t the end. My best days are ahead.
So are yours friend. Our timeless God knows His plans for you, that they are good and that your future is bright (Jeremiah 29:11). We can trust Him with creative control of our lives and rest in the comfort that only He can bring.
It’s time to raise our flags and stop striving.
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