Are you willing to die? Are you willing to die right now, let go of everything in your life…
Your loved ones… Your children… Your family?
“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
That’s the question that became so clear to me last night when I lay down to sleep. This question that seemingly came out of nowhere, and yet one that so deeply affects…
EVERY. SINGLE. THING. THAT I DO.
It haunted me. It haunted me so much that I lay awake for hours… wrestling with who I am and where I am going in life, questioning my relationship with God, and if I am truly ready to meet the One that gave me life, that I claim to love so much.
Cue the tears. One by one, they fell into a seamless wave that would later wash over me again and again as I searched, tearing apart every thought that came to the surface.
What am I so scared of? Why do I run away from pain? Who am I to think I should escape suffering, that I can somehow keep myself shielded from having to endure more than I think I can handle? When am I going to trust God? When will I finally surrender EVERYTHING to Him? When will I allow myself to endure the pain? When will I finally accept it? When will I accept the long suffering that comes with life? When, when, when… when, when, when… oh how I here these words echoing, screaming, taunting me, killing me from the inside… tearing me apart… oh God, help me… Help me, please help me. Lord, who am I to deny you? Who am I to deny you everything that you want to do to me? Who am I to take away everything that you have worked so hard to build, to restore, to awaken in my life?
I consulted the bible with my questions, and one by one, they were defeated gracefully by the wisdom and love of God. And in the end, the final wave that came over me was unexpected and beautiful.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Peace, a peace I was not seeking. Sure, I go back and forth with my fears, knowing that God has called me to so much more. But in that moment, ready to fall asleep and put my day to rest, I was content to sit in my fear rather than crawl out of my jail cell. Whether it was me or God that chose that moment to wrestle with the devil himself, I can say that the sleep I lost was worth the peace in my heart right now.
I’m willing to die. I am willing to die. I’m willing to do whatever it takes. All day I have heard these words ringing in my head, not as a silly mantra I hope to believe one day, but instead with the resolve of a faith-filled Christian that finally, FINALLY is ready to take up the sword and not just sit scared in the corner, hoping God won’t call on me to once and for all, finally fight my fears for a chance to sit at His table. How far am I willing to go for Him? I’ve decided. I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore hoping I’ll finally muster the courage to play in the game, knowing I’m going to get tackled, knowing… knowing… knowing… that my life is completely out of my control. I’m gonna get knocked down, and I’ve always let my fears keep me out of the game because I don’t want to feel the pain… but no more. NO MORE.
We have to be willing to die to truly live. We fear pain, but renewal requires letting go. We have to embrace the change by facing the pain of fear. If we allow ourselves to stay stuck in fear, we deny something that rightfully belongs to God: every part of ourselves. Give God your fear & let God use you for His glory. With God, we can do all things. That includes letting go of everything we know about ourselves, and letting go of the only self we know.
We have to accept the pain. We have to accept the challenge that He has put before us. We have to accept all of those things we keep trying to deny out of fear. God is with you and me. Let’s be willing to walk with Him.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12