Archives for posts with tag: surrender

You know how you stumble around in the dark until your hand finds the light?  When you flip that switch, you can clearly see where you’re going.  Then when you go to bed, you flip that very same switch and immediately love the darkness that surrounds you as you climb into bed.

Are there ever times when you wish you could flip some kind of switch in your brain?

Wildly waving my hand over here.  Me!  Me!  Me!  I want to climb into bed and flip a brain switch.  No more worrying, no more planning, no more making mental lists, no more thinking.  Please!

I know I’m not alone in my wish.

off switch

Sleep does not come naturally to me.  I envy my husband who falls into bed and is off to slumberland in ten minutes.  Unless I have run myself ragged until midnight, I can never just crawl in bed and go to sleep.

But it’s not that my body isn’t tired that is the problem.  It’s what runs through my mind.  If only *that* would go away, I could sleep!  My body is worn out and my muscles ache.  If it weren’t for my racing thoughts, I’d be out like that light!

When I was a young mom, I thought when I got older my nightly lists and worries would be gone.  WRONG!

And you’d think I would have learned the trick of turning everything over to God for at least 8 hours.

I’m not trying to discourage you from thinking things don’t get better as you get farther along in your Christian life; I’m trying to let you know that we all share similar frustrations.  And growing older in age does not guarantee volumes of answers to our problems and cares.

What I have learned, however, is that I don’t know how I would’ve contended in this world without God, my Father, to talk with each night.  What do people do who have no Abiding Spirit, no Comforter, no Healer and Creator to cry out to?

Each night as I begin to unwind in bed and turn things over to God, I try to remember to apologize to Him for searching for ways to work things out on my own.

And I tell God I’m sorry for just plain not knowing how to ask Him for the right things or even knowing *what* to ask for.  Turning over my frustrations about my own prayers and rambling thoughts and whirling brain often lets me relax enough to simply thank God for the simple things.  Simple things which I’ve been given all day long by Him, and which I’ve taken for granted.

Beginning to thank Him most often leads to that switch in my brain which turns into sleep.

Knowing that God is always “on” with no “OFF” switch is a great comfort, too.  If I wake in the middle of the night, I can turn to His forever glowing Glory and seek His “light” and see my way into his presence without stumbling.

I think that is God’s plan.

by Cindy Best

Beginning a project, a new concept, or a new season brings with it the chance of failure.  Are you feeling up to a challenge?  Are you thinking of the positive side of what the new venture or new resolution can mean?

To me, the fall season doesn’t mean winter is ahead and I have nothing to look forward to but colder weather.   It means so many things are in front of me that I get to experience again and afresh!  Fall leaves, cool nights and fire pits, candles, comfy sweatshirts and holidays I love!

Yes, there could be lousy weather…no doubt there will be.  But it comes and goes, and I get to experience it.  Each day I try to thank God for the gifts He gives me so graciously without my asking:  sight, hearing, movement, the ability to think, touch, smell, taste and swallow!  For some, those things are not possible…I try not to take them for granted.

And on the inevitable down days–sometimes even downright bad days–I try to let them pass and be done with them.  Not always easy, I grant you that!  One quote that I’ve come to love is by Tony Robbins:  “Yesterday does not equal tomorrow. Forget the past and move toward your goals.”

If you’ve ever rested beside a moving stream, you’ve probably noticed the water tumbling over and around rocks, sticks, and dead leaves; sometimes it pools in a little quiet spot and then when it gets full to the brim it trickles around and down, other times it spills over the top of a stone and flows quickly on its way.  What it doesn’t do, is give up and go backwards.

Obstacles are part of everyone’s life.  There is no person without a past.  And as long as you live just one more second, you will have a future.  As the water in the stream meets objects that just happen to be in its path, we must figure a way around whatever we bump against.  Often it is our own inner thoughts that give us the biggest obstacles.

Surrendering our own plans to God, our strong wills, our weaknesses, our failures (and yes, we all have failures no matter how we look on the outside) will help us get through the changes that come daily.  Those new challenges, new projects, new ideas…they are there for a reason.  Not to make us stumble and go backwards!  Surrender does *not* mean we give up…it means we keep going with renewed confidence in the God who sustains us and gives us each breath.  Surrendering to God can only bring goodness into our lives, because God is good… He cannot be other than good!

As we continue to learn more about God’s love this season, I hope we can focus on what is good about our journeys.  Each one of us is on a path going somewhere.  We may not understand our own path, let alone someone else’s, but we can understand that God loves each one of us and is on the path *with* us… He is actively engaged with us on the road of life, not standing aside and watching us stumble our way along.  Believe in His love for YOU!  Accept His grace to YOU!

by Cindy Best

As I write this, the wind is shrieking outside my window, rattling the siding and windows.  Although my home is reasonably new and well insulated, if I hold my hand against the door frame I can feel cold air pushing through.  Until my family moved to Iowa nearly eight years ago, never had I experienced the 30-40 mph sustained winds with 50-60 mph gusts that are not at all uncommon here.  Snow and rain blow sideways, and the birds struggle not to get pushed backward.  What a day!

The rushing wind brings to mind a story from the book of Acts:  “When the day of Pentecost came, they [the apostles] were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (2:1-4a New International Version).

Last week the Christian church all over the world observed Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent, the forty days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter.  It is a time for us to reflect on our faith walk and to prepare our hearts for both the sorrow and joy we will experience as we commemorate our Lord’s last meal with his disciples, his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his betrayal, trial, and crucifixion, and, finally, his resurrection.  During last Wednesday’s service, many of the faithful had the sign of the cross traced onto their foreheads with ashes, a symbol of mourning and a prompt toward sober reflection.  The cross marks us as believers and followers of Jesus. Although we enjoy celebrating the joyful occasions, we are a people who must also remember and grieve the sorrowful ones.

That cross made of ash is an external, though temporary, mark.  There is a more important mark that does not appear on our flesh; rather, it is evident in how we live our lives.  The apostle Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus:  “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32 NIV).  We are marked with the Holy Spirit, a sign to us of our redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  And what was done at the moment of our surrender to God through confession cannot be easily undone.  Once we have invited Jesus to capture our hearts and rescue us from our sin, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us, and we are indelibly marked.

One Lenten tradition is to give up something that you feel has become an obstacle to a closer relationship with Jesus.  I’ve never felt compelled to do this before; usually I just try to re-commit to the disciplines:  studying the scriptures, praying, worshipping regularly with my church, serving in my community.  But this year I realized that I had let my computer take over my life.  It serves a useful purpose (this blog, for instance), but it also had become a black hole that consumed too much of my time and attention.  Giving up the computer entirely was not practical, but I could give up one aspect of it that had become a big time waster for me:  Facebook.  I resisted joining Facebook for a long time, but I finally gave in last year.  It’s fun to keep up with old and new friends and to share interesting things we find on the internet, but I was using it as a way to avoid doing other things, particularly the work of figuring out who I am meant to be.

I confess, I am a big procrastinator, and if I can immerse myself in one thing, I can easily justify not doing something else.  But as I have written here before, I am on a quest of self-discovery, and I realized that I will not find myself on my Facebook wall.  So for Lent this year, I gave up Facebook.  It wasn’t that difficult.  I am still reachable by email, phone, and text.  I do miss reading all the interesting things my friends post, but I can let that go for 40 (or so) days.  The trick is not to replace my Facebook time with other equally wasteful things.  Every day I have to remind myself that the whole reason I gave that up is to focus on who God is in my life and who I am becoming and whether I am moving in the right direction or any direction at all.  I realized that I have allowed myself to get stuck, and something will have to happen to un-stick me, and that something is not likely to happen if I am glued to the computer watching silly cat videos (which I admit I have a weakness for!).

Come, Lord Jesus.  Capture my heart anew.  Retrace the indelible mark of your Spirit within me.  Rescue me, I pray, from fear, from worry, from the noise inside my busy head, and let my thoughts, my words, and my actions be pleasing to you.  Make me into the person you know I can be.  I surrender. 

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