All the things in my life have led me to this point. I may not like the person I’ve been in the past, but I’m starting to like the person I’m becoming. God has been so good.
|My xanga profile pic from 2008|
I’m grateful that I write. I’m grateful that I’ve kept careful record of the person I was. Of the activities in which I’ve participated. of the people with whom I’ve associated. Because knowing who I was will allow me to know who I am and who God wants me to be.
Doug’s sermon series on harnessing the power of change has been what it was meant to be, transforming. Last week's was on the power of cataclysm—what it means to surrender the self. Through the story of Jonah, Doug espoused three lessons that Jonah himself did not necessarily adhere to. Jonah was the ultimate "what-not-to-do" in terms of surrendering.
The first: let a specific desire of yours be overpowered by a specific command of God's.
He gave a few common desires as samples: to be liked, to be loved, to avoid pain, to be right, to acquire, to be noticed, for comfort, for pleasure. When I read my old journal entries, I realize that most of my activities and thoughts have centered on wanting to be loved, wanting to be right, and wanting pleasure. So now, as I receive and understand God's commands, I must be prepared to surrender those domineering desires in my life.
The second lesson: surrender not only to God's specific commands but also to His permitted outcomes.
This one's much tougher. I may be able to say, "Okay, Lord. I surrender my desire to be loved so that I may obey what you've told me." But it will be much tougher to accept that if I obey, I may not be loved by who I want to love me. I must adapt my hopes and expectations.
The third: surrender to God's passion to be gracious to anyone no matter whom, no matter when.
This one seems like it should be the easiest. It only involves loving others and extending the grace of God to others. I’m not so good at that. For someone who only desires to be loved, I certainly have a rough time loving others outside of who I deem "important" to me. But as Doug said, grace received but not expressed becomes grace forfeited.
I’ve been given a formula. I must obey, I must adapt, and I must love. And right now, right here, I choose to surrender. I surrender my desire to be loved, as hard as that is to even type, in order to follow any command God throws at me. I surrender my hopes and expectations for whatever the outcome may be. And I choose to love.
God, do what you will.