Intentional Dependence

My confidence is coming back. I can feel it. The light that once cracked through the dark clouds has made them completely dissipate. I feel the light on my face. It feels so good to feel so normal again. I wake up everyday with hope. I’ve put the past in the past – I’ve moved on. I am living wholeheartedly in the present, and loving every second. I am excited about the possibilities the future holds.

But, with my new found hope and confidence, I fear I’m letting go of what got me to this place…

When I encountered the storm that wrecked my ship, there was a natural reflex to hold on to God for dear life. It really was a life and death situation. I needed him. He was my life raft. If it weren’t for Him, I don’t even want to think about where I would be right now. I clung to him for security in every area of my life. I depended on Him like never before. And, for the little girl who’s first full sentence was I’ll do it myself, complete dependence was a big deal.

I’ve always found pride in my ability to take care of myself or do whatever task is at hand myself. Delegation was never a strength and could be down right painful sometimes. But, when the perfect storm hit, all of that self-dependence went right out the window and my debilitated state made me realize how much I needed God. It was sobering at first, but surprisingly, it became a relief to finally surrender to Him. It was a forced surrender, but a surrender nonetheless.

Now I’ve adjusted to the new normal of my new life, the need for God doesn’t seem as necessary. Is it okay to admit that?

God, I’m good again – I got this. I can do this myself. You can now go back to your supporting role in the script of my life.

See, this is exactly what I didn’t want to happen. After everything I’ve been through, I never imagined going back to the self-reliant, independent person I used to be. Here’s what I know:

If my God-reliance doesn’t transition from a reflex to intentional…the gravitational pull will have me right back where I started.

I can’t… I won’t let that happen.

Maybe it’s a new season in our relationship though? It’s almost as if He’s gone from carrying me, to walking beside me. We’re doing this together. He’s still with me. I can still hold tight to his hand, but maybe I don’t need to hold on as tightly as I had to in the last season. Now I can just thread my fingers in His and enjoy His presence without all the drama.

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The relationship can take on a new dynamic… one that’s focused on joy, laughter, peace and vulnerable friendship. But, just as any other human relationship, it’s going to have to be intentional. Whatever plant you water will grow, right?

So, today I will make my public declaration of intentional dependence on the God I will rely on in the midst of the storm, in the aftermath, and even more so, when the sun shines again.

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EVEN IF

I intentionally kept my political opinions off social media during this election season. No one needs to know what side of the fence I fell – nor should it matter, really. I am not defined by my political affiliations and I refuse to judge others by theirs.

The way I see it, I’m am a citizen of the Kingdom of God first and foremost. He is my King – the one I place my trust and hope in. And, I sleep peacefully at night believing no matter what politician lives in the White House – God’s still in charge. He has the final say.

But, man, after today, it’s beyond clear not everyone shares my sentiment.

My social media timeline was full of status updates from people who were either ecstatic about the results or shocked, broken-hearted, scared or pissed. I knew no matter who was elected, there would be a lot of disappointed people, but I wasn’t prepared for some reactions…

Friends told me (the reader) to unfriend them if I didn’t vote for their candidate. Some called me a racist, a bigot, ignorant, a follower of Hitler, a homophobe,  if I didn’t vote for their candidate.

To be honest, if I had voted for President elect Trump, I would have felt persecuted today. Persecuted by some of my friends, a couple of the women on The View, and most media outlets.

At first, I was hesitant to even use the word persecution to empathize with Trump supporters. The word felt too harsh. Too dramatic. Like it should only be reserved for when we’re talking about martyrs and the church. But, then I looked it up…

Persecution: Subject someone to hostility and ill-treatment, because of their race, political, or religious beliefs.

Yep. That pretty much described the seething hatred protruding from the computer screen today.

In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego found themselves in the middle of a persecution that resulted in an ultimatum:

Worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s idols or be tossed into a blazing furnace. I’ll be honest, I would need some time to think about this one. Don’t lie – you would too.

King Nebuchadnezzar: Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music,  if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?

IF.  There’s that word again.  That just exudes pressure. Pressure to bow. Pressure to bend. It’s contingent.

Their reply was brave, to say the least:

Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego: King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Even IF.   I love that.  Even IF He doesn’t ___________ , I will still give you my worship.

Even IF my candidate isn’t elected, I will hold tight to the hope that is the anchor for my soul.

Even IF my candidate is elected, I refuse to place my trust in an earthly king.

Even IF it is the end of the world as we know it, I will stand firm in faith, for I know who holds the world in His hands.

Even IF I am persecuted for my race, political or religious beliefs, I will still offer grace and love to my persecutors.

Even IF my persecutors spit in the face of my grace and love, I’ll give it to them anyway.

EVEN IF I never get married, I will worship You with the rest of my life.

EVEN IF I never have children, I will worship You through investing into my students.

EVEN IF the dreams and plans I have for my life don’t pan out how I see it, I will still choose You.

EVEN IF You strip me of my identity and rebuild me from the ground up, I will wake up everyday and choose to believe You work all things together for my good.

EVEN IF He slay me, yet will I hope in him – Job 13:15

Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego had their EVEN IF?

Job had his.

I have mine.

What’s yours?