The older I have become, the more I have realized that my momma truly knows what she is talking about and that I truly do not know what I am talking about.
Something the Lord has been teaching me is that the world does not revolve around me.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hold up! You mean to say that Lauren is not the center of our universe??????”
I hate to break it to y’all, but yes, it is true that I am not the foundation on which this world stands upon. In all seriousness, my two greatest struggle areas, that have become overwhelmingly obvious in the last couple of months, have been pride and fear.
Out of fear, I have wanted everything to go as I wanted it to go.
This is what I want…
I’M going to do this…
I think this…
I feel this…
Now, thinking for yourself, feeling a certain way, or making your own decisions are not always bad. However, when they begin to replace or contradict what God thinks, feels, or decides, then you have an issue. It wasn’t until my momma and I hit a bump in our relationship that I realized this grossness of pride and fear was a strong stench I was wearing in my life. My mom could see it though.
Out of love, a woman who knows me better than I know myself, who has shouldered more pain with me than either of us would like to admit, sat me down and confronted my sin.
As I reflected on her remarks and concerns, the hidden pieces of my sin were unraveled farther than I expected. These were not areas of struggle that only recently popped up. No, these were areas of sin that I had been hiding in the deepest, darkest places of my heart for years. I had been welcoming lies that downplayed my God-given abilities and “drenched the fire of my callings.” (Beth Moore) I had been too afraid of what I did not know and could not see that I began to stop saying “yes” to God, and instead began to say “yes” to my flesh. I let the enemy play me and I eventually let it manifest itself into my relationships with other people.
In complete vulnerability, I confess that I turned from listening to God and listened to myself. I confess that I inhaled the lies that the enemy breathed my way like an asthmatic. I confess that there were mornings where I read my Bible and sifted through passages to confirm what I had already decided to do. I was addicted to doing my own thing, living by my rules, and being my own boss.
But let me tell you something, beloved. The Lord is a jealous and just God. When His children do not have their priorities straight, He will hunt them down like a dog and bring their ugly sin patterns to a screeching halt.
Can I encourage y’all today to learn from my mistakes? Or, if you are already here, can I encourage you with what the Lord has taught me in just these last few weeks?
There are two things I know the majority of us want: freedom to live happily and peace about our future.
Innately, we believe freedom is found by our own self-paved paths. Our culture has convinced us that the only person we should and need to be obedient to is our own self. However, when we follow the world’s idea of freedom, we develop a debilitating sense of entitlement. We puff ourselves up with pride and cripple our ability to bear any sort of godly fruit. Friends, we must understand that the only true source of actual freedom is found in Jesus.
“the truth will set you free…so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
(John 8:32, 36)
When we keep God’s commandments, as He has called us to do, and when we follow His leading hand, we experience more freedom and more life than we could ever experience on our own.
I want to pose a question to you that has ministered to my heart tremendously: Why would we choose our insignificant, powerless, limited-knowing, flesh designed plans over God’s mighty, powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing, miracle producing, good, glorifying plans?
Trust me, I get it. Saying “yes” to God is difficult, scary, and may seem like the exact opposite way to find real freedom. However, whether we realize it or not, when we limit our future to our finite, ill-equipped hands, we are telling God His plans are not good enough. As silent as that may be, it is hauntingly loud to God.
As followers of Christ and children of God we must stop being afraid! That’s much easier said than done, but here is why God explicitly declares 350 times that His children be not afraid. God declares “the end from the beginning and from long ago what is not yet done, saying ‘my plan will take place, and I will do all my will’” (Isaiah 46:10)
God knows what tomorrow holds, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, etc. He knows how everything is going to turn out and He has the absolute best in store for his children.
Jesus says in Luke 12:32 to “Fear not, little flock for it is your Father’s [God’s] good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
The Lord is a good God and there is no one like Him. He has and never will fail us, and He has not given us a “spirit of fear.” (2 Timothy 1:7) God has called us to not fear because He is our Redeemer, Maker, Keeper, Helper, Peace, and Strength. Moreover, our God is with us and He is for us.
So, dear friends, do not lose heart. Keep seeking the Lord because “even though [we] walk through the valley of the shadow of death, [we] will fear no evil, for [God is] with [us], [His] rod and staff, they comfort [us].” (Psalm 23:4)
Lord, there is no one like You. In You, we have eternal life, true joy, complete freedom, and total security. Thank You for being the God of the whole earth. Thank You for holding everything in Your right hand. You know everything, I do not. Please allow me to dwell in Your presence all the days of my life to gaze upon Your beauty and to inquire in Your temple. Fill me with Your desires; convict me when my desires do not align with Your’s. Replace every square inch of fear in my life with complete faith in You. All to You, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.