“The goal of prayer is not to change God’s mind about what you want. The goal of prayer is to change your own heart, to want what He wants to the glory of God.” (Taken from War Room: Prayer is a Powerful Weapon by Chris Fabry. Copyright © 2015 by Tyndale. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Anyone who has suffered from allergies, ever, can sympathize when I talk about itchy, watery eyes, constant sneezing, sleepless nights due to being congested, lethargy, and just feeling blah.
Well, for the past month I’ve been suffering from a variety of symptoms: restless sleep, irritability, depression, listlessness, feeling blah, lack of energy and just overall “putting my foot in my mouth,” realizing I need to stay quiet because nothing coming out will be helpful, edifying, or positive.
I had an inkling of what the problem was but for whatever reason, wasn’t ready or willing to tackle the issue – I didn’t want to submit. I wasn’t willing to give control back to the One who not only deserved it, wanted it, and would do a much better job with my life if given the reins freely versus me holding on tight. Sometimes, for me, I can know the reason behind my less-than-great attitude but still have to walk further down the wrong path until I’m ready to give in and fully surrender control back to my Father.
It wasn’t until this morning that I realized the cause for this sudden “allergy attack.” I had spent the night giving God back full control, admitting again that I wanted His will for my life which includes His timetable, His goals, His desires, not mine. Somehow, in the middle of the summer, I got fixated on a crazy idea that God was almost done with our journey – that we would soon be in the Promised Land and while I didn’t know all the details, I thought I knew some and was very happy to start sampling the honey and grapes! Without consciously realizing it, I slowly started trying to take control back, out of the hands of my Father. When that self-proclaimed timetable didn’t pan out and there was no honey and grape smorgasbord, my symptoms started appearing – slowly and softly at first until they were out of control and I realized I had a real outbreak.
Then, God, in His much-more-gentle than I deserve way, used two books to show me the battle isn’t mine to fight. I submitted my life to Him years ago and while I passively wanted to gain some control back, I’m still His child and therefore His voice is still prevalent on my radar. When He reminded me that He wants to bless our life with better things than I can possibly imagine, and that He really does have our life in His hands, but that it will require me taking my hands off completely and trusting His before He can really start working, I was finally able to let go, again.
I found myself re-submitting my entire life to Him – this time from a layer of deeper trust that had grown stronger during the past two years. While the act of submission was still difficult, once I made the decision to ignore my selfish desires to be in charge, the peace came quicker, hope is returning, and I’m finding joy again in the simple things. However, I first had to completely surrender my dreams and wipe the slate clean. I had to get to the point where I trust God with all areas of my life: my job, our future finances, my husband and children, my ministry, my passions, my schedule – everything. The first step is always the hardest and also, for me, the most necessary.
After a month of battling sinful symptoms, I believe I’m back in the place where God can start using me again as I willingly wait on His timing, His leading, His still small voice. It may take months, years, or until I’m ready to pass from this life to one of eternity. However, now instead of giving God my list of expectations and timeframes, I’m back to giving Him my life, confident that whatever His plan is for me and my family, He’ll speak loudly enough that I don’t miss it since those nasty symptoms of sin are gone from my ears which made it difficult to hear clearly.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015