Are you really sure? I mean, really, there are only a few hours of Wednesday left. I haven’t finished half of the jobs I started today. And… I’m really tired. Can’t this wait until I’m on my game to write this one? It deserves more than my left-over strength, doesn’t it?
And there it is… I need to type this tonight.
I need to type this to hear it (again) myself. I need to type this for those of you meant to read this no matter the day.
Sometimes you have to surrender your strength.
Which seems like quite the thing for me to say… (trust me, I’ve been hearing myself say these words for over a week now. It doesn’t matter the variation, they’ve hit me hard. Almost square in my ego and tender-heart both at once.)
Surrender my strength?
What in the world does that mean. It sure is hard enough for me, in my weaknesses, to surrender to God. But now… now you are asking for my strength too?
What will I have left? I’ll have nothing!
When God asks me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength what else is there left of me? He wants all of me. All of me. Nothing held back.
(wow- the air is getting heavy here. As well it should.)
Nothing held back.
But what if God sees my mess?
He already does. Try as I might to hide. Try as I might to deny. Try as I might to avoid. Scripture is clear: God knows my weakness, God knows my sinfulness, God knows that left to myself I am dead in my transgressions.
Before I close the door in the despair of those words I remember scripture continues with a truth so good, so beyond imagining that I often cannot fathom the depth of this statement:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
I want to say more but that scripture speaks and I don’t need to… so read it again. Breathe it in. Feel it in the deepest places of your spirit.
Love deeper than your deepest struggle. Love bigger than the depths of your sins. Love stronger than the bonds of death.
Love that didn’t wait until we were ready. Love that didn’t wait until we were good enough. Love that met us right in the dirty, lowest of imaginable lows and gave His life for us so we could have life.
Love borne in an act we call grace, poured extravagantly out for us in our weakness. We couldn’t earn it. No, the scripture is clear, that love, that grace act was not given as reward for our worthiness but given in mercy despite our desperate weakness.
And in response, God invites us into a life lived for Him. A life given in sacrificial worship of the creator, sustainer, redeemer, savior, friend… and we surrender- in our weakness- to that Love.
I come to the hardest of it. Because I find so often when I open my tight grasp on my weakness, I find I have my fist clenched even closer on my strength.
And God calls me to surrender that to Him as well.
Because, you know what, I never really had it anyway. What was my strength was never sufficient, never strong enough, never complete enough, never BIG enough to sustain me. In fact, when I’m really honest, what I viewed as my strength was so often my weaknesses in disguise.
Yet, I find myself afraid to surrender my strength because if I give it up, what will I have left? What will hold me together, what will keep my weaknesses in check, what will keep me from going under?
And I face this reality: my strength was never strong enough to do that anyway. Some days I come face-to-face with truth that hits in the gut and fills the deepest needs of my soul in one motion. And I know I need to surrender my all: weaknesses, strengths and everything in between.
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Surrender my weaknesses because God already knows them, his mercy has made a way for grace to cover them. Surrender my strength because it never was sufficient. And there I find myself face to face with the truth that “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
God’s plan for our lives is perfect, not because we are, but because He is. As grammatically incorrect as that statement may be, I write it that way on purpose. And no matter our struggles with our weaknesses or our masquerade of strengths, his power is made perfect in weakness.
Where is God calling you to surrender?
Oh Father- my prayer is that these words speak to all of us who need to hear the truth from your word of who you are, who we are and how your love calls us to surrender our all to you. Give us peace where we quake in fear of our weaknesses exposed. Give us clarity as you speak truth of our strengths. Give us comfort as we embrace your love, grace, and mercy.
9 thoughts on “Wednesdays with Jillene: surrendering your strength”
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