25 June, 2015

Submission the way to Freedom

I am currently reading The Making of an Ordinary Saint by Nathan Foster in which he writes about his walking with the disciplines one by one. Last time we touched on how submission to God, living with hands open before Him, can provide freedom from the things that enslave us (whether physical or emotional). This week, I want to look at submission as an individual action.

Surrendering Your Story

“I encountered a deep serenity from surrendering my desire and accepting life for what it is and not what I want it to be. … I accept people for who they are and not who I want them to be… When I let go, God shows up” (p.31 – Saint).

I am not the author of my story. It is not up to me to make it all work, to create my path, to cling to other’s ideas for my identity.

In letting go of the lie that my striving does any good, I am able to release my need to control or allowing outside standards define and dictate me. I release people to be who they are and realize it is not my place nor my duty to change them.

When I let go – God shows up.

Finding True Freedom

Since the Fall, the greatest lie has been that we can affect a single thing better than God can.

“Chain yourself to me and I’ll teach you how to live as you were created to live. … ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). (p, 31 – Saint)

It’s an odd idea, chaining yourself to God. But if you think of the analogy – two oxen together on a yoke – the stronger one will teach the other how to walk. There is an accountability to it. One cannot just stop or give up. They cannot go off on their own. They won’t get lost. Together they get the field plowed, they finish what they start.

So it is if we partner with God. When I read the words in Matthew 11 (Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.) I see the true heart of my Father.

We often only turn to God when we are at our wits end. We have tried to solve whatever is going on by ourselves. We have schemed, bargained, worked, run ourselves ragged – and the whole time God is offering to shoulder this load with us (for us).

It’s surrender. It’s letting go of control, it’s realizing we are not commanders of our lives. It’s acknowledging that we are not going to get our way and that there is a better way.

But we as humans are selfish and, for some reason, prefer the hard way.

“Jesus knew that as humans, we are by nature slaves – slaves to power, approvals, to escapism. So instead of leaving us bound to our selfish desires, he calls us to chain ourselves to his rule of love” (p. 32 – Saint – emphasis added).

What have I chained myself to?
It is an uncomfortable question, but one that must be answered honestly if we are ever to be free of what enslaves us.

It is a slow process to leave behind what I am told to let define me and to lean hard into God. We do not know His yardstick and we are not supposed to. It is surrender, not perfection! It’s letting go and realizing it never was about me.

What have you chained yourself to? 

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