I was standing a top of my favorite place to visit in Barcelona, doing the touristy-thing with my parents, climbing the steps to the top of the Tibidabo, to see the view of Barcelona. Oh, and there’s a huge statue on top, of Jesus… every time we have gone up there we take a group selfie “with Jesus.” This time I thought I’d be funny, and take one of me and Jesus standing head to head… HMMM… Afterwards, I looked at this picture and thought, “This is how I’ve spent most of my year.”
I recently read a quote by C.S. Lewis, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” Yes. And so, for the majority of the last year, I have stood… head to head with Jesus, giving up little ground.
Have you ever stood head to head with someone? If you have been in charge of a toddler for a like a millisecond, the answer is yes, and thanks to my youngest daughter, there were solid years were this happened everyday. All. Day. Long. (That’s not an exaggeration.) And most of the time, I won. My last year of teaching, I had a student who loved to ask why, and pushed back at any request I had, it was so exhausting. But I usually won that in those battles too. I’m good at standing my ground! I’m a “Good German.” I’m stubborn. a little bit of a rule follower (but a fun rule follower), and a lover of justice. So, like why would I give in, because I’m usually right. 🙂 😉
Through the years, I’ve sought the Lord, I’ve asked to be changed, and I’ve asked Him to help me yield to Him, I’m okay with yielding to God. But this year…So much change, so much to learn. It’s exhausting and oh… there’s still things about me that aren’t right and need to be submitted to God… All right! Enough already!
I sold my house, gave away, or got rid of most of my earthly possessions, which, by the way, is far more difficult than it all going up in flames. I sat with my friends and listened as they told me how proud they are of me, but am aware of how truly torn they are that their “sister” is moving 4,300 miles away, and then figuring out the different ways each of them are handling this move… yet so very grateful that they are choosing, in whatever way works for them, that this friendship is worth it. Saying good-bye to aging grandparents, fearing it will be the last time I see them on earth… which for my Grandma, it was (She went to heaven this past January). Yet, realizing that I’m helping to carry out the legacy that they established in our family, as they were first generation Christians. Saying good-bye to our jobs, and church family, countless friends and my parents, who love deeply and give generously, because life is never about them… and our girls, of course, our girls. It’s so much to take in, it’s so much to adjust to, it’s so much to give up. What more does He want?
All of it. All of me. All of you!
And, truthfully, I haven’t been quite ready. I mean I’m working here, I’m learning language, I’m serving at the church, I’m interacting with people on the street, I’m being Jesus… but I’m inside, I’m fighting him every step of the way. Me and Jesus, head to head. I know He needs to win, but it’s so painful to give up more of yourself. Yet, it’s a must, to do what God has called me to do, I have to! I have to give up ground in my life, so that He has more space to do what needs to be done through me. It hurts so much. I know that it’s worth it, and I know that I’ll always come to this place again, because there’s always more of self to sacrifice. Every time, He needs to win. Mainly, because this work that I’m called to, has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him. He has called me, and equipped me, and He can, and does use me, in spite of me… but really, where’s the joy in that?
I never liked when I would ask my girls or one of my students to do something and they’d do it with a bad attitude. I was always like, “Wow, if it puts you out THAT much, I’ll just do it myself.” In the classroom situation, when I would ask, “Can someone…?” I loved when like 5 kids jumped at the chance to help.
I want to be that to God, “I’ll do it!”, I want to be the first one to jump out of my seat, with a joyful attitude. “Change me!”
“What else do you want?!? I’m happy to give it to you! “
What I know about serving the LORD, is that He takes care of us… not always exactly how we would like, but if we are submitted to Him, exactly how we need. Sometimes it’s painful, it’s usually a ton of work, but it’s always worth the work and the pain.
So, I’m taking a step back, lifting my head and joyfully choosing to give up ground, so that He can do whatever He wants with my life. Will you?
This week, two different people that I have prayed for for years, one for 23 years, and one for 4 years, posted something on social media that let me know, that they are submitting themselves more and more to God. I was beyond excited to see that my prayers are being answered and they are giving up ground in their lives for God to have more room… Will you?
Will you let Jesus win in your life? Not just in the “what you do”, but the “who you are”? He can be trusted, and your joy will be made complete in Him, but you have to let him win!