Do not be anxious about anything but in prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
Not too long ago, I had to make a decision. I had to do it soon. Like real soon. But I just hemmed and hawed and delayed and agonized and complained and thought about it. Lost sleep about it. But yet I delayed.
I prayed the usual prayers that we all mouth as we nod off to sleep, or as the worry in making the call overcomes. ‘Dear God, I want to do your will. Please guide me.’
So I prayed and I waited. I acted like I was not anxious, but my heart told me something else. I waited for what I thought I was supposed to wait for: a clear, concise answer, a definite path to pursue, a sure and steady way to go.
I waited. And got nothing.
Wassup wid dat?
One night, weeks into this mess, in the midst of an angst-filled prayer, I got clarity. But it wasn’t in the sweet and kind and gentle way you would expect from a loving God. It wasn’t even close to being the answer I wanted or thought I would hear. But it was certainly sure and steady and real, like an audible voice.
It isn’t about you, Diane.
The words were as clear as if God was standing next to me. At first, I had no idea what that had to do with anything I was fretting about. I was seeking a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but instead got a blow to the ego, right between the eyes.
But, as I sat with those words a bit, the message became clear. Crystal clear.
I am full of anxiety because of my sin. ~Psalm 38:18
I had made ME the focus of the decision: how others would perceive ME; how the organization I was leaving could possibly go on without ME; what if God couldn’t do His plan without ME (ah, yes, that’s a good one, right?)
ME. ME. ME.
True repentance is a funny thing. You sin, you repent, you are forgiven. I have always taken that second step for granted. Just do it. Be sorry for what you did, then move on, you’ve been forgiven. Get over and past it.
In some ways, it is that simple. But in some ways, it’s as difficult as it can be.
The fact is that I am a prideful, egomaniac sometimes, which means that I have all too often put myself in front of the line, even before God. I actually, wrongfully, egotistically thought that I have much more to do with God’s success than He does with mine!
Turn my heart toward your Word, and not toward selfish gain. ~Psalm 119:37
I actually, wrongfully, egotistically thought that I have much more to do with God’s success than He does with mine!
I can’t wipe that kind of yuck off with a quick flick of my finger. It cannot be a superficial cleansing while the infection still rages.
It needs to be exposed; to lay open to the light; and, to let Christ’s light burn it outta me. The feeling after that is like walking into an air conditioned room out of the steamy humidity of a July heatwave. A big WOOSH! of refreshment!
But that complete refreshment is lacking if our sin is not fully, consciously realized; if its darkness is not exposed for what it really is.
That’s what happened to me. I didn’t realize it was my pride that was getting in the way of my decision, or even of the peace that should have prevailed in the waiting to make it.
But then I did,
and then it hurt,
and then I was so sorrowful for it,
and then WOOSH! I was refreshed.
Cause it wasn’t about me. It was about Him and His refreshment.
It’s always about Him alone. Always.
For from Him, and through Him, and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. ~Romans 11:36