Thursday, January 1, 2015

Trust the Lord with all your heart.

New year - new resolution to write more. Life intrudes - but life shapes us and what we would write.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Those who know me will laugh - or at least smile - that I'm returning to this verse again. They know it's my favorite and shared again and again. A long time ago, one of my Bible study ladies was needing to make a decision. I told her the best thing I knew was this verse. She asked, and rightly so, "But what does it mean? How does that work?"

That was years and years ago, and I honestly didn't know how to really answer. I'm still learning, but I understand better than I used to. For one thing, I've discovered this same theme other places, like here:

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him.
Psalm 37:3-7a

The key parts, to me, are "in all your ways submit to Him," and "Commit your way to the Lord."  That's what I've been learning about. 

The last 18 months have been the worst of my life. I've struggled with periods of extreme depression because of things that happened. At the same time, though, I've learning to depend on God because I've had to. Without that, I would have been lost. 

"In all your ways submit to Him," isn't something you just determine to do. It's not that you stop and pray about every single thing - asking God to make the choice for you. Well, I guess that can be a step along the way, perhaps.  It's more the realization that God IS directing everything, when you want and allow Him to. 

I honestly don't think I can explain it in a way that anyone will say, "Oh, I get it!" but I'll try.

The way it's written, "In all your ways, submit to Him," sounds like an active thing you do on your part.  For me, I certainly tried for it to be a conscious thing. And, maybe that was a first step. (Don't get the idea that I'm fully there - I'm totally still learning). 

Let me interject here:  There is prayer that's easy to say, but when you pray and really mean it, I think it might be one of the scariest things you can ask for. Completely necessary but totally scary, and that's to say, "Lord, please make me the person you want me to be. Grow me into someone after your own heart."

When I look back on the events of the last few years - especially the last 18 months - I'm so glad I didn't know they were coming. God prepared me (a story for another day), but didn't give me more than I could bear.  That whole refining process? Painful. Getting your dross stripped away? Ack. Knowing that God's not done doing that? Ugg. 

When you get to the point where you are totally depending on Jesus, (usually because the alternative is unthinkable) you start to understand what that "in all your ways submit to Him" really means. You start to realize that it's not something you decide to do; it's something that God brought you to. That concept - that God is in charge of absolutely everything - is not something you can learn in any way except that He, Himself shows you. 

Now, this doesn't mean you don't have responsibility for your actions. Believe me, you can still totally screw up. I had a dream a couple years ago that kind of explains it. In the dream, I was on a rollercoaster that Jesus (a lion in the dream) had strapped me into. I was locked in - on a set path. At the same time, I was on a journey where I could have gone any way I wanted to. It was both at the same time. In real life, I probably step off God's path for me constantly, and He does what He needs to do to drag me back on. I may consciously decide that I'm going to stay on that path, but I will fail. And fail. And fail. But, I want to be on that path, and with God's help, I am. Oh, someone who could see that spiritual journey probably sees it as the path of a drunken sailor - staggering off one side and then the other, and sometimes collapsing all together. But, I have "committed my way to the Lord" and am trusting Him to get and keep me on that path until the journey's end. He is in charge, and He does all things well.


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