Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Handing it all over

Although I've been a Christian for most of my life, I've always struggled with what it means to have a deep, life-changing relationship with God. The kind of relationship that changes you in such a way that people have to ask, "What is it about you that makes you the way you are?" and makes you live as the person God intended you to be. I've struggled with consistently finding times to sit down and pour over His word. I have no problem praying. That verse "Pray without ceasing" doesn't seem to be a problem for me. Especially since I've had kids. But a one-sided conversation isn't productive and doesn't go very far. And a relationship where one party is selfish and does all the taking and none of the giving is doomed to failure. So all of my ceaseless and, for the most part selfish, prayer has gotten me nowhere in my desire for an intimate relationship with the One who loves me most.

I also think that I have a problem completely trusting Him. I slowly learned to trust Him to provide us with what we need. I don't really worry anymore about where the money is going to come from and if we will have enough left over to get groceries in the last week of the month or to get the baby his medicine. But do I trust him to make me the person I was intended to be? Do I trust him to bless my marriage and help me find ways to put Him first? Do I trust that He will help me raise my boys to be men that love Him, pursue His will and live lives that are full of love, compassion, integrity and purpose? "No" and "Not nearly enough" are the only answers to those questions.

The other morning, I was sipping tea out of my favorite mug. I got it from a Mary Kay lady and it's a cute mug. It has a feminine shape and has sweet flowers and cute little bees all over. It's lovely and it makes me feel fun and cute and feminine everytime I use it. It also has little "inspirational" sayings all over it. I usually ignore them, but that morning, one of them caught my attention. "If it is to bee, it is up to me." No, I didn't misspell that, it actually says "bee"...cute, huh? It was then that I realized that that mentality was my problem. I think that if I want things to be a certain way, I have to take care of it myself. Then another light bulb went off when I realized that the deeper problem was I was trying to make things the way I want them to be. I'm not trusting God's will or His way. "If it is to be, it is up to me." What a nasty lie wrapped up in a cute little phrase. Even cuter when you misspell it and surround it with bees.

I thought on that phrase for a little while. Then a verse came to mind in what I can only believe was God's counter to what I had been living out.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

The verse doesn't go on to say, "Except you, Alli, because you seem to have things under control." So I've come to a crossroads in my faith. Do I keep going down the path I've been taking (which history in my own life has shown leads to discontent and frustration and is actually a dead-end) or do I hand it all over to God and trust him with my life and the lives of the ones I love and care for? Handing everything over, not just the things I feel I am ill-equipped to handle.

But leaving the old ways behind is hard. And I'm not sure where to even begin except through lots of prayer (and doing a little more listening and a lot less talking) and setting aside more time to read my bible. Taking control of things is like an addiction and I'm afraid I'll just keep coming back to it when things don't seem to be going the way I think they should. I'm amazed at how true strength isn't in the hanging on but of the letting go. And I wonder how strong I am. But doesn't that come back to trusting Him? What an ugly cycle I've lead myself to.

And all this from drinking a cup of tea.


4andcounting said...

Surrendering is the hardest part of it all, at least for me. I struggle with it daily. Every day I say today is the day I give it all up and every night I go to bed saying I'll try again tomorrow. Prayer is the first step for sure.

Jenn said...

Hi Alli,

I've commented once before, I like to read your blog, we seem a bit alike from what I can tell. And on this subject, we are VERY much alike. I'm struggling with the exact same thing you are. Control has always been my issue. I want it. And I don't want to give it to the Lord. But I have committed to a "U-turn" of sorts this year. I will try to surrender to Him so he can use me in His work. It's hard, very hard.

One thing that is helping...book review friday. A friend of mine and fellow blogger picks one book of the Bible each week for us to read every day and then on Friday a few of us women blog a little report about what the Lord has taught us from His word. It's changed me wonderfully already and I've only been doing them for a few weeks. Head on over to her blog if you are interested www.watchthesky.typepad.com And if you aren't interested, sorry for taking up so much comment space. hope you don't mind a stranger butting in :)

I'll say a prayer for you.

Jenn said...

It's the stranger again :) I forgot to mention that this week we are reading Haggai. I don't think I've ever spent any time in that book before. It's GREAT!

We usually do short books, we don't tackle whole huge ones a week...just so you don't get scared...ok, I'm done. :)

Jenn said...

I'm glad you checked it out! I hope you don't think I'm a blogger stalker :)

LaughterThoughts said...

just like with your mug of tea, we see how God speaks to us in the small things... a couple years ago, i went through the beth moore Bible study Believing God. it was such an awesome study on trusting God and truly truly believing him. i highly recommend it. :) i went through the study in a group setting where you have the videos that supplement the on-your-own stuff. and while those are really awesome, you can still do the study without them. i have worked through other beth moore studies-- some in a group with the videos and some at home on my own. and now you can even do the studies online so you still go through the book on your own but can watch the videos online and have discussion groups, etc... you have to pay registration for that and can download the study to print off, etc. if you're not familiar with beth moore, you can check her out here
and the Believing God study
as for the study books, i just picked mine up at a local christian book store. i know that this study was a really big thing for me. this might be the right thing for you, though. i do pray that you will find the answer you need.

Nicki said...

That was a very profound cup of tea that you had. :) Our world is filled with nasty lies, disguised as pretty little truths.

It's wonderful that you are examining your relationship with the Lord, I've been doing a lot of that myself lately. With me, it's all come down to staying in His word. How can I have a deep meaningful relationship with someone whom I don't take the time to learn about? It's a good thing that he is a faithful and long-suffering God, isn't it? Hee!

Liz said...

Hi. haven't done this before. I have read the comments and just wanted to say that I have found my prayer life and knowing if I have handed over issues a problem of late. My husband died in April 2006 and I am quite alone except for God. Your comments are helpful.