He was sweaty and restless and struggling to get back to sleep - I was yet to fall asleep and was beginning to lose patience with him. My eyes were heavy and I desperately needed to get some rest. We had an important weekend ahead – why had he had to get a fever and an upset stomach tonight?
Big emotions were rising to the surface and I was struggling to stay in control. In a moment of sheer desperation, I opened my mouth and began to sing the words of an old hymn.
“All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Saviour,
I surrender all.”
Line by line, peace permeated the room and my heart. My son snuggled a little closer and I kept singing; letting go a little more of all I had been holding on to with every refrain.
Uncovered by the relentless demands of a three-year-old, they began to dissipate in the loving presence of my Saviour.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:7, the Amplified describes faith as ‘the leaning of your whole personality on God in complete trust and confidence.’ I have always loved this rendering because it reminds me that God not only wants me to entrust my circumstances to Him but also myself--with all my distinctive traits and responses.
Whether it is the day-to-day demands or the curveballs that life throws us; our deepest disappointments or dearest dreams, Jesus invites us to lean in a little closer and rest the weight of what we carry on the truth of who He is. To ‘in His presence daily live.’
What is God inviting you to surrender and trust Him with?
One of my girls is a spender. The moment she has managed to accumulate even just a couple of dollars she's begging to go spend them. I find myself constantly reminding her if she spends now, then she is delaying being able to get what she really wants. She's learning she must determine what matters and plan accordingly, because money, like any other resource, is finite and requires stewarding and prioritising. It cannot be endlessly stretched, and neither can our time.
My preference has always been to say 'yes' when people ask something of me. However, experience has taught this recovering people-pleaser that I can’t say yes to all the requests and opportunities that come my way – no matter how good they are – because every yes spends my time.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that ‘no’ is a negative word – that it is shutting off opportunities, denying ourselves pleasure, closing doors and causing us to disappoint and offend people. But I have come to understand that every no is really a ‘yes’ to something else. A yes to what God is asking me to prioritise at that time.
In Luke 2:42-44, Jesus models this for us. He had been busy healing the sick and setting people free in the town of Capernaum. What He was doing was a good thing, a great thing actually, and understandably, the people wanted Him to say with them. But Jesus was mindful of what God had sent Him to do – which was to proclaim and demonstrate the good news in more than one place. So when they try to keep Him from leaving, He says, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
I have no doubt that His no disappointed the people of Capernaum. But if He had said yes to staying, He would have been saying no to the Father, which in turn would have caused fewer people to hear the good news of God's love. May we learn from Jesus' example and spend our time well, investing it in the people and priorities that God has for us in this season so that His Kingdom purposes can be realised in and through us.
Where is God inviting you to spend your time today?
Life isn’t like a book. Life isn’t logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess – Charles C. Colton
It is one of those days that will be forever etched into my memory. I had gone upstairs to discover that my then four-year-old had had a silent tantrum and in mere minutes, destroyed the room she shared with her sister.
The mess struck a chord with me. It felt like a metaphor for my life. Five months earlier, my life had been mostly neat and tidy and I had felt relatively in control. Circumstances had since ripped this façade away from me, exposing the shadowy mess that had been lurking in the depths of my heart.
As I spent the next hour sorting and returning everything to its rightful place, God reminded me that mess is not always bad. It can compel us to clean-up, to get rid of rubbish and re-arrange what we have decided to keep. And as we sort through the mess, we ultimately discover truth.
In John 8:32, Jesus said, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” While the journey of unveiling truth is seldom neat, tidy or predictable, when we find it, it ultimately brings us freedom. I had been fighting against anything that exposed my weaknesses or left me vulnerable, and the result was a curated life on the outside that was not replicated on the inside. Inside I was stuck in a cage of perfectionist control and keeping up appearances.
But God is not afraid of mess and His heart is to move us from the outward appearance of goodness and wholeness to that being our actual internal reality. He wants to set us free.
I threw some pretty epic tantrums myself in that season, and as God helped me to clean up the aftermath, I realised my own need for a Saviour; for the One who is THE TRUTH, whose grace is enough, who is strong when I am weak and who loves me completely - even on the days when it is all a mess. And the truth of my need was the doorway to wholeness and freedom.
If you are in a messy season, can I encourage you today not to fear it. Instead, partner with God to clean it up. Let Him shine His light and love into the depths of your heart and set you free.
Weekly nuggets of inspiration, Monday Musings are short Scripture-based thoughts to encourage you to draw close to God and pursue His purposes throughout the week. Subscribe to get them direct to your inbox here.