I grew up in the church, I married a preacher and spent decades as a preacher’s wife… I could talk about living life surrendered to God but actually doing it…
I was terrified of what might be asked of me if I gave my whole life over to God and trusted Him completely.
I’d read Jesus words…
In this world, you will have trouble. John 16:33
I know, I skipped the most important parts of the verse, and we’ll get to them … but for most of my life the “you will have trouble” words seemed like they were written in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS!
I guess that’s why I overcompensated in “right-living.”
I believed in Jesus as my Savior, did my best to obey, and prayed like crazy that would be the best way to prevent “trouble.”
But it wasn’t! “Trouble” showed up big time!
And when it did all my “good-girl” living came crashing down around me.
I was a mess. Embarrassingly so.
I needed help!
I needed the rest of the verse…
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace” and “take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In my brokenness I began to realize I didn’t need a life that was safe and easy or even one that looked good, I needed Jesus. I needed the real living presence of God in my life.
That was the first-step of surrender for me.
By God’s grace, He allowed me to come to the end of myself when I realized I didn’t have any “good-girl” right living to offer . . . all I had we my broken heart.
So, I cried, I prayed, and I picked up my Bible and started reading . . . Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus all the way through Revelation.
And for the first time, I wasn’t reading to find answers or to learn how to be the perfect “good girl” … I was desperately seeking the things I finally knew nothing in the world could give me.
The more I read, the more I prayed. And as I fell more and more in love with my Savior, Jesus, I asked God to help me give myself completely to…
The One who is able to strengthen me when I’m afraid.
The One who can pick up the pieces of my messy life and hold me together.
The One who knows my future and able to guide my days.
The One who is all I need to live with peace, comfort, and hope.
The One who gives me joy!
The One who is faithful to keep every promise.
I’ll be honest though, complete surrender is a process, it didn’t happen overnight. Well, it didn’t for me anyway. Too often, I felt like I was taking two steps closer with a stutter step back.
Fear and self-sufficiency are hard habits to break!
I still occasionally wanted to believe that if I could just get it right, just do it right . . . maybe God would get on board, fix my mess, and take away my “trouble.”
But God didn’t fix my mess … He began the work of fixing me.
I began to believe I could trust God.
Even if God didn’t fulfill my hopes and dreams?
I could trust God.
Even if His plans for me were different than mine?
I could trust God.
Even if things got worse before they got better?
I could trust God.
And He gave me this life-verse to remind me…
My heart and my flesh may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 (NIV)
Yes, several of the very “troubles” I’d feared had happened.
I started to believe I could trust God to give me everything I needed even if things got worse — and for a few years, they did!
The interesting and yes, even the best part, was that although our circumstances were worse I was surrendering more and more of myself.
As I trusted His promises.
To give me peace.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6b–7
To give me strength.
But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
To restore my joy.
Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. Psalm 126:5
To give me hope.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. Romans 5:5
And heal my broken heart.
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3
God hasn’t fixed my mess or resolved all my troubles but . . . He has healed me.
And He is able to do the same for you.
Isn’t it awesome to know…
God may not clean up the mess going on around you, but He will clean up the mess going on inside you.
And even when you and I take that backward stutter step, it’s awesome to know . . . God will not give up on us.
He wants us to know that He is … Huge. Powerful. Indescribable. Unimaginable. Loving. Caring. Personal.
He wants us to trust and love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Mark 12:30
When I gave up trying to define and explain Him. When I quit trying to manipulate and control Him. When I learned to sit quietly at His feet and allow Him to fill my heart and mind—that is when I finally knew I could trust Him.
And my fear of “trouble” was replaced with God’s perfect love.
His perfect love casts out all fear. 1 John 4:18
Maybe you can relate to my story…
Maybe you’re working hard to be “good” because you’re afraid to trust.
Maybe you’re living in fear because you’re afraid of the world’s “trouble.”
Maybe you’ve gotten the message from your church or other Christians that you need to be “good” before you can receive God’s love or theirs.
If that’s the case, I’m sorry.
Please know that believers don’t intend to give confusing messages and we don’t mean to say one thing and do another.
We’re growing and learning and we’re sinful.
We make God too small, too human.
We get the world’s lies mixed in and mixed up with God’s truth.
We judge others and excuse ourselves.
We talk more than we listen and fail to love well.
Please forgive us and turn to Jesus. You can trust Him.
Jesus said, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the One who sent me.” John 12:44–45
He is greater than your troubles. He has overcome the world!
You can overcome your fear and trust God.
Leave your prayer requests…
and stop to pray one or two of the requests listed.
Subscribe to Blog via Email
I LOVE hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts in the comments below.
And if this article blessed or helped you today — would you share it with someone? Maybe a friend, family member, coworker, or through the links below…