Lean on Your Lord {Day 6 of Sorry, Not Sorry}

It’s awkward to find yourself at odds with God in the midst of writing for 31 days.  

About a week ago I began research for posts on pride and humility.  I’d heard a sermon on “being small”  (ie humble) and that message began to reverberate in my heart and throughout my life.

Smallness.

You know how when you get a new car or color your hair purple, it seems that suddenly EVERYONE has a red Prius and purple hair?

I hear this sermon on smallness, then I’m invited to write a book on the topic, then I hear it in the talks as I stream Catalyst.  And in the book I am reading (Wherever the River Runs). And then in another podcast – from MARCH 8 – that I “happened” upon.  Then, I am listening to an online interview with Glennon (Momastery) yesterday and…yes, you know it…SMALLNESS.  I open the Bible…

Jesus and the woman at the well – Jesus and the woman caught in adultery – Jesus riding into town on a donkey – Jesus born in a manger….small, small, more small.

WHAT’s with all the SMALLNESS, Lord?

(Don’t ever ask God a question unless you want HIS answer, not your own answer.)

He begins directing my research on humility and false humility.  He sheds light on my character and its flaws.  I read this from my friend, Ali, and feel my heart inching toward understanding and surrender.  It feels equal parts freeing and scary.

So.  I remind God.  I am supposed to be writing this series for 31 days. I can’t write until I figure all this out.  Until I understand what parts of me are humble, what parts are prideful, and in what ways I am simply displaying false humility.  I need to understand smallness.  I need to surrender more fully.  I need my motives checked and rechecked. HELP!

And He reminds me…Sarah, it’s in the writing that I speak to you.  It’s in the process of preparation that you find me and hear me. It’s here on the page that you learn best.

Noted.

So today, I am putting fingers to keyboard, and sharing post six in the midst of this tension with God that I can’t shake.  And you probably won’t be surprised to know that every single post for 31 days has been titled and Day 6 just so happens to be Lean on Your Lord.

Day 6 of 31

Yes, He has me right where He wants me.  Leaning. Just leaning a LOT more than I had to lean last week, or the week before, or the week before.

But, what is leaning?  What does that even look like?  How do we “lean into” or “rely on” Jesus?  I am sure you’ve heard people say those words. I can think of songs and hymns that encourage us to lean on the everlasting arms of our Father. (Thank you, Methodist Church!)

Which is also akin to “giving it all over to Jesus”  or “surrendering.”  This is another phrase I’ve sung and relayed as advice.  Yet, recently, when someone told me to give my weight issue to Jesus, I sat down, looked heavenward, and said, “what does that even mean?”

{If you have some help here, would you comment?  We’d love to have your insight!}

When  you find yourself self-focused on suffering.  When you find yourself needing to rid yourself of…yourself. {AHEM, that’s me.} When smallness and selflessness become your prayer, there is no choice but to lean and surrender.  And to me, leaning looks like…

Prayer.

I am new to prayer.  Yes, I’ve prayed all my life first thing in the morning and last thing at night. But, I am new to the War Room, “I will pray until the cows come home” prayer.  Kelly Minter says the Amazon jungle pastors call it a prayer campaign; you pray hours and days if you have to.  You gather everyone you know to join you if you have to.  I’ve not prayed hours or days for anything, but I am moving toward it.  I want to.  And I have asked some close friends to come alongside me in praying, and I am being intentional about coming alongside them.

Right now I lean through prayers of surrender.  Often I don’t have the words, so I pray his scripture.  I just read it aloud or to myself over and over, asking God to help it sink in, take root, and grow.

And pray for opportunities to burst my bubble of safe.  I pray for God to place me in a context in which I need him.  One in which  – without Him – I will flail and flop. And while I know God sees the timidity and insecurity of my heart when I utter these words to Him, this is part of leaning – bit by bit – He gets it.

I also lean by reading His Word.  I know, nothing new or profound here.  But, I ask him for new insight and depth as I read his breath on a page.  I need a new heart that believes bigger. Eyes and ears – hands and feet – that are braver.

Leaning also requires confession and repentance. Not fun, this leaning business.  It’s hard to look at your friend and say…I am just selfish in so many ways. My motives aren’t pure here. Why do I do this?  Is it for my gain or His glory?  Why do I do that?  My gain? His glory? And then ask the same questions to Jesus and beg him for revelation…

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51: 10-12

I confess my love of comfort and safe to my friend, Marla, in Cambodia.  Because she’s emailing me about Buddhism and Angkor Wat and spiritual warfare, and I am like …WHAT??  And I know her and I know Him – and I know this is all so very real…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

She’s seeing Jesus in ways that I never ever have, and I don’t dare ask God:  Hey, why can’t I see you like THAT?  Not that it’s “fun” – it’s suffering and it’s hard).  But, I think Kelly Minter says it best:

Though I loved and served the Lord and had for many years, my Christianity seemed pale in comparison {to the Amazon jungle pastors}. Even if I set aside the material differences {between herself and those in the jungle, between me and my friend in Cambodia, between me and those I meet in Honduras}, it was the joy they had that I so envied.  I couldn’t bear to leave so much joy on the table any longer.

I want to be part of “interceding for people and seeing lives unequivocally changed and healed. That my heart would well up with love that would drive me deeper into prayer, and that I’d be more willing to put myself out there…”

It’s leaning. It’s seeing God at work and knowing that you know who He is and just what He can do. It’s a closeness with the Creator that I don’t know.  Joy I’ve left on the table.

Because if I dare ask God why I’ve not seen Him like Kelly, the jungle pastors, and Marla, I imagine that He will roll His eyes, look down at me, and say Sarah, where have you ever stepped into a context outside your comfort zone?  A context in which I could make myself more and more evident?

See? God and I – we both know the answers to these questions.  Dang it.

And so, we are at odds right now. A tug of war of sorts.  Me leaning in and then pulling back in fear. Me basking in comfort and Him saying, You need to be ALL in. Me praying for smallness and greater humility while He’s saying quit placing limits on how and when I can work.  It’s all or nothing, child. Me leaving joy on the table and Him offering it freely.

It’s deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.  Because if you’re not denying yourself, carrying your cross, and following Him, then you’re heading somewhere else, carrying something else, and engaging in your own desires.  (Matthew 16:24 and Luke 9:23)

Ouch.

Today, I lean.  I pray, I read His word, I confess and repent.  I pray, Lord, help my unbelief.  I argue with Him a bit. And I know this is the only way to Him – the only way to discarding the self-focus of suffering – the only way to witness his life-changing and life-giving greatness.  His peace.  His joy.

Leaning in,

Comments

  1. Beautiful, friend. Just lovely. May I join you in these prayers? I’m new to the War Room deal too, but I’m trying.

  2. Praying for you.

  3. Marla Taviano says:

    Love you so much.

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