Playtime is Over!
Reading today’s chapter and even yesterday’s chapter, I can see that we are moving into the deep stuff. The introduction chapters were great and all but they didn’t pull on too many heart strings or hit too many sensitive areas, at least for me. However, yesterday’s post and today’s post as well have hit a critical juncture of my life and my spiritual walk.
Today’s chapter is titled The Heart of Worship and shares that the heart of worship isn’t singing a certain song or clapping on one but the true heart of worship is surrender.
Now this concept I get and understand and I have taken steps to do this in my walk however there is this point that I get to where I stop. It’s like a wall or a force or a shield and I have yet to get past that point. I have pushed a lot of barricades away and this has me at a great place in my walk with God and it has me actively seeking to improve my spiritual relationship with Him but there is this “place” and I can feel that its a wall because it just feels bigger than the barricades that I have tackled before and this wall, if I’m honest, scares me A LOT. And it and whatever stands behind it is that last (I think/hope/pray) “chunk” that needs to be surrendered but I have yet been able to do it to really let go and let God take me there.
Reading this chapter reminds me of this “thorn” in my Christian walk.
Rev. Warren shares something in fewer words than what I shared above. He says:
Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover that the greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself–your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.
But let me back track a bit. So in the chapter there are three barriers to surrendering that are discussed–fear, pride and confusion (My reflection above definitely covers the first). There is also a nice discussion on why the idea of surrender is hard for us and the short short version is because the word surrender is almost always used in a negative light in day to day speak. No one wants to loose a battle or a war or show weakness. However, in the Christian walk surrendering is the beginning of greater things to come. You could almost say its like jumping out of a plane. The idea is crazy, you go up super high where you don’t know anything but once you jump out its a great thrill and the parachute assures your safe landing and protection. God is that parachute but you have to jump and surrender to release the parachute and get the thrill and all the benefits that come with it.
Many people ask well why would I want to surrender to God or why would I want to do that because I surrendered to [insert name of person, religion, cult or thing here] and they were mean/took advantage of me/treated me wrong so I said I wouldn’t do that again. Well as it shared in this chapter:
God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will, but woos us to himself so that we might offer ourselves freely to him. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering to him brings freedom, not bondage. When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant, but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.
One of the things I love about God, which I wish I understood sooner as I feel I could have helped more people is that God gives us choice. God made us but He didn’t/doesn’t make us serve and follow Him. You can choose a religion or not, you can choose the religion – Christianity– or not, you can worship money even if you would like and God is not going to stop you; He will be sad but he won’t stop you. However, one of my favorite lines from the book says it very well, “You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice.” Here this quote focuses on the discussion of God and surrender but you can transfer these words to several areas of your life. For example, you can choose to surrender to your studies or not and your grades are the consequence. You can choose to surrender to your health needs or not and your weight and/or overall health is the consequence.
My prayer is that you surrender to the right things from God, to good study/work habits to good health habits.