toska

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Toska – noun /ˈtō-skə/ – a Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness, etc.

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In preparing to write this blog post, I sat down and tried to think of one single word to best describe what I’ve been dealing with, struggling with…wanting to talk about but not knowing how to put words to it. All I could think of was ‘yearning’ so I did a google search of the word and happened upon an article titled “45 Beautifully Untranslatable Words That Describe Exactly How You’re Feeling.”
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Bold claim,” I thought to myself. “Not even I know how I’m feeling.
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But I clicked on it anyway, and began skimming through these words, and found some of them to be actually, truly beautiful. For example, there’s Komorebi, a Japanese word that describes the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees. There’s Tretår,  a Swedish word that means a second refill or “threefill” of coffee (if someone out there doesn’t start a coffee shop and name it that, I’m going to have to). There’s Duende, a Spanish words that defines the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person. And on and on this list went, giving words to things that the English language has no word for.
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And this is where I discovered toska.
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Vladimir Nabokov said it best when he wrote, “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning…”
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A dull ache of the soul. A longing with nothing to long for. Vague restlessness. Yearning. These are the things I have struggled with for the better part of two years now. There are times when the emotions abate, or are at least masked by full schedules and distractions. But lately—particularly during these last six weeks—they’ve been hitting me full force.
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What’s happened in the last six weeks you ask? Everything and nothing. Everything, because I’ve gotten married and moved in with a male and have started a huge new chapter of my life. Nothing, because now that the wedding planning and wedding showers and wedding wedding wedding things are over, life has become…slower…with more time to think, more time to dwell, and more time to overanalyze.
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For the last couple of years I have found myself regularly fighting the weight and anxiety that I now call toska. It comes in waves, but at its most intense it manifests itself in the form of questioning. What am I missing in life? What’s next? What will bring me fulfillment? What career should I search for? Why am I a photographer? What am I even skilled at? As described by Nabokov, it most often feels like a longing—a deep, soul-wrenching yearning—for something I can’t identify. I want more, but I don’t know what of. I want change, but I don’t know which direction. I want purpose, but I don’t know where to find it.
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As a believer it’s obvious that these thoughts and questions are not from the Lord. They’re not holy, they’re not uplifting. They’re the work of the enemy. Because, in the Lord, I am made whole. I am given purpose and I am given identity. I am a new creation, made in the image of my Creator; a vessel of God. And although I know all of this to be true, it is because of my sin nature that I struggle to remember these truths when toska hits. Sometimes I’ll just be driving in the car and start feeling an overwhelming restlessness with life. Will I ever life out west like I want so badly? Will I learn how to be a good wife and serve Max well? Sometimes I’ll be editing a client’s pictures and start second-guessing my skills and talents as a photographer. Am I really talented enough to make a career out of this? Why hasn’t anyone booked me in months? What career should I pursue if not this? Sometimes I’ll be sitting in the living room, not doing anything at all, longing. But for what? And when? And why?
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As I sit and write this all out for the first time, a thought has occurred to me that I hadn’t considered before. Perhaps toska—this intense longing, yearning, restlessness—has simply been distorted by the world. Perhaps the depravity of a fallen earth has made it into something unholy, but it started as something that has its roots in scripture…
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“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” // 1 Peter 2:11
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“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” // Philippians 3:20
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“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” // Hebrews 11:13
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It’s just about as cliché as a Christian phrase can get, but this world is not our home. This earthly life is but a moment, a fleeting point of time in the tapestry of eternity. We were made for something better, something more beautiful, something whole. We were made for Heaven. St. Augustine said that we were created for God, and that our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him. Perhaps this is what toska really is. Perhaps it is the dull ache of a soul that is temporarily living the life of a nomad, awaiting the day when it shall be called Home. Perhaps it is a longing, but with a very specific something—Heaven—to long for. Perhaps it is the vague restlessness of a heart that knows truth but must patiently fight the lies of the enemy until he can speak them no more. Perhaps it is the quiet yearning for the redemption of creation, and for that glorious day that will bring the return of the King.
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Presently, I am a regenerate believer living in a Genesis 3 world. I am washed by the blood, but the shadows of sin still surround me. It is for these reasons that toska penetrates my mind as a cruel affliction, a persistent nagging, an anxiety-inducing emotion. These last six weeks have been slower and much less busy, and I have felt the weight of it more heavily than ever before. But I cling to the promises of Scripture and to the Truths of the Savior. I look not to the day when these anxieties will be resolved (although that will certainly be a byproduct of such a day), but to the day when my longings for more will be surpassed by even my wildest dreams. I look to the day when, like the thousands of saints who came before me, I will sing with the angels and walk in the presence of Jesus Himself.
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Whether it be physical death or the second coming, I will one day be reunited with my homeland, a wanderer no more, with a soul freed from sin and from all the filth of a fallen world. And I will suffer from toska no more.

Dear God,

Ephesians 3:20-21
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

For as long as I can remember I’ve lived a life covered in prayer. I grew up going to church, praying before meals, memorizing Bible verses, attending church camps. Prayer was second nature. I could spit out a prayer on command and not think twice about it. And all of that was BEFORE I even became a Christian. So with the new life I was so graciously given in Christ, I was also given a renewed desire and undeniable need for constant prayer and communication with the Lord. So I would pray. And journal. And I would tell people my prayer requests. And other people would tell me their prayer requests. And I would lead others in prayers. And I would be prayed over. Prayer was everywhere.

But did I mean it? Even now, do I pray believing that the Lord hears me, and that He is mighty enough to answer?

In verse 20 of the Scripture above we see two huge observations: Christ is able to do far more than we think He can, and Christ is able to do far more than we ask Him to.

The first thing I’ll touch on is the simple fact that we don’t even understand how much the Lord is capable of. We know it’s true, and we can hear it and agree with it and believe it, but truly comprehending it is another thing entirely. Two verses prior to this (3:18) we see that we must be strengthened just to have some sort of grasp on how much Christ loves us…so how much more difficult would it be to grasp how much He loves us, and also how much He has in store for us, and how His timing works, and how His purposes are being accomplished, etc.? We can’t do it. He’s too big, and too great, and too mighty. His power knows no ends. His sovereignty stretches throughout all time.

So then we come to the second observation. We claim to believe that He is all of those wonderful, powerful things. Even though we can’t comprehend it, we have faith that it is true. So if we believe that our God is that big…why don’t we pray like He is?

If we believe we serve a mighty God, and if we believe that He is our Abba Father, a good Dad who loves us and delights in us and delights in giving us good things…why don’t we ask Him to?

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” -Luke 12:32

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” -Matthew 7:11

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” -Philippians 4:6

Not only does Scripture tell us that our Father wants to give us—and ONLY gives us—good gifts, it also tells us to ask Him for them. We are His children, and through the blood of Christ we have been made sons and heirs, able to come before the throne boldly and let our requests be made known to Him.

His answers aren’t always what we want to hear. And often, His good gifts are painful. He does what’s best for us, because He loves us…and sometimes it hurts. Our requests will not always be granted in the way we hope that they will, but they will ALWAYS be granted in the way that will bring Him glory and make us more like him. So ask Him to do just that. Tell Him what you want. Tell Him your desires. Ask Him boldly for healing, or for friendship, or to draw someone to Himself. Ask Him knowing that He is capable, and that He is big. And then trust that whatever His answer, it will only ever be absolutely, completely, ultimately, good.

A New Plan

Life hit me out of nowhere.

I was headed one way, I had a plan, everything was going how I wanted it to…and then the Lord picked me up, turned me around, and set me back down on a completely different path.

It was new. It was unknown. And it was scary.

My heart had been planning my steps, and I had become closed off to the idea of the Lord leading me anywhere else. I would have told you that I wasn’t…that I was surrendered and trusting the Lord and that I wanted His plans and not my own…but I would have been lying, even to myself. I had found something that I wanted–a relationship that made me happy–and I just knew the Lord was going to let me keep it. But He didn’t.

Some of  you know that I recently moved into a new apartment. And living by yourself is pretty lonely, even for an introverted loner like myself. So I got a kitten! His name is Blaze, and he’s the sweetest. But he’s young and curious and still has a lot to learn, and it’s my job to protect him from things that are going to hurt him.

For example: A couple of nights ago I was sitting in my recliner eating chocolate ice cream, and Blaze jumped up into my lap. As soon as he realized there was something edible within inches of his face, it became his life mission to get a taste of it. So he’s sniffing around and trying to ninja his way out of my hands, and looking so sad and pathetic and confused as to why I won’t let him have this delicious-smelling treat. But I knew it was bad for him. I knew it would make him sick. So I didn’t let him have the thing he wanted.

And then, sitting there in my recliner with ice cream in one hand and a squirming kitten in the other, I lost it. I just started sobbing. Because in that moment it hit me: this is what the Lord does for me. He sees things and knows things that I don’t, and He protects me from them. As badly as I wanted that relationship, He knew better. So He took it away, because He loves me. It hurt and it was confusing and it was the hardest thing that’s happened to me since becoming a Christian. But I’m thankful. Trusting the Lord doesn’t always feel easy, but it always feels right.

So I’m resting where He has me. This wasn’t what I had planned, but I’ve been forced to trust Him more than I’ve ever had to before, and it’s resulted in the sweetest peace. My favorite quote during this season has been by Charles Spurgeon: “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” He is near to the brokenhearted. And it’s in my heartbreak that I have found Him.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

On 7/14/15, I was told that a relationship I never imagined ending was being taken from me for good.

On 7/14/14, I wrote the following words in my journal: “God, You are so good. Not because I recognize it in this moment. Not because of the things You’ve given me or the suffering You’ve kept me from. Not because I feel it or see it or believe it. But because You ARE. It’s just who You are. You have always been, and You will always be, good. Teach me the meaning of that. Help me believe that. Help me get to a place where my belief of Your goodness has absolutely nothing to do with my circumstances. I want to be able to crumble in the midst of tragedy and praise You all the while. I want to be able to whisper ‘I love You’ as tears dance down my cheeks. May I learn to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages. May I learn that those waves are not to be feared. May I believe that You are good, and You have won.”

A year later, He is doing exactly that. I cannot begin to describe the ways the Lord has been good to me in this season of my life. Through the hurt and the pain, the heartache and the uncertainty, He has been faithful. The waves have come, and they have thrown me against Him, and I wouldn’t trade that for world. He reveals Himself to me in new ways every day, and He is teaching me to become more like Him. He has bid me into the inner sanctum of fellowship in His suffering. And He has answered my prayers. Have His answers been what I hoped they would be? No. But I could not be more thankful for that.

May we all continually learn to rest in His will and trust that He loves us too much to give us anything other than what’s best for us.

Beauty ≠ Worth; What I Learned During Seven Weeks Of No Makeup

This year–for the third year in a row–I gave up makeup for Lent. I always hate it at the beginning, but by the end of it I feel renewed and confident, and it’s always so easy to see the ways it’s grown me and pushed me to find my identity in the Lord.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The very first day of no makeup was welcomed by a giant cold sore on my upper lip. The added bonus of the disgusting little monster–on top of the already difficult transition of presenting myself in public settings without the usual comfort of my rosy cheeks and darkened eyelashes–seemed like a cruel joke. Whatever the Lord planned on teaching me during Lent, He wasn’t gonna let me wade into it starting in the shallow end of the pool. No no, He pushed me right into the deep end and said “Today, we’re gonna learn how to swim.”

For the first several days I found myself using the same line at the beginning of every encounter with another person: “I’m sorry I look so bad, I gave up makeup for Lent.” This of course was usually followed by some attempt at a joke about the cold sore (the one that lasted for two weeks and then gave me two more on my lower lip as its goodbye present), or a lack of sleep, or yada yada yada. Basically, I felt all different kinds of insecure, and I felt the need to immediately justify my appearance to everyone I talked to.

Until almost two weeks in, when I finally realized I was negating the very purpose of my makeup hiatus.

If giving up makeup was supposed to teach me how to be confident in my own skin, justifying my appearance was the exact opposite of what I was aiming for. To be confident means you go forth with security, not with timidity. To be sure of your identity, it must be found in Christ alone, not in what others think of your appearance (or your talents, or your intelligence, etc.). After all, if your identity was based on the opinions of others, you’d find yourself having a new identity every hour of every single day. Once we learn to be confident in the Lord, that is when we become confident in ourselves.

Were there still days toward the end of Lent that I felt ugly or insecure? Of course. Was I glad to be able to throw some mascara on for Easter Sunday? You bet. But all in all, the lesson took hold as always.

My value does not come from earthly beauty, the opinions of others, or anything else of this world. My value comes from Christ alone.

Trust and Obey

If you had asked me three years ago what I thought my life would look like in November 2014, I would have told you pretty much anything other that what it actually turned out to be. Shoot, even if you had asked me three months ago I probably wouldn’t have been very on target. Three months ago I was just moving into my new apartment, working as a part time nanny, not getting ANY photography jobs, and barely scraping up enough money to eat twice a day. I’ve never struggled with depression, but I feel like I was headed that direction. Life seemed dark and lonely and hopeless.

“God, what are you doing? What’s the plan here? Is this really all you have for me? Do you even love me?”

 Dramatic, I know. But that’s what I was going through. At the first signs of trouble, I began questioning the God who loves me and who’s pulled through for me every. single. time. Why would this have been any different? Why do we ever question anything in life? Three years ago I was in the process of becoming a new creation, and was also fighting a broken heart. Did I trust that the Lord would heal me? Two years ago I was finishing up my next to last semester at Samford University. Did I trust that the Lord would show me what to do next? One year ago I was in the middle of the Fellows Program. Did I trust that the Lord was actually going to teach me anything by the end of it? Three months ago did I trust that he’d provide my next meal? A week ago did I trust that He’d forgive me for the ways I’d sinned that day?

No. Despite the fact that he’s done nothing but prove himself faithful to me over and over and over again, I doubt him so quickly. Why did it take my life finally starting to come together (by MY definition I might point out) before I realized he was there all along? Sure, life is so much easier now. I have two jobs that I LOVE, I’m feeling much more settled into my apartment, I’m dating an amazing guy, I’m surrounded by incredible friends, and my photography is starting to take off. Things seem good. And so, now, I trust again.

“Okay Lord. You pulled through for me. Thank you for not letting me down. I really appreciate it. Now I trust you again.”

But how wrong is that! He owed me nothing. He could have made my life worse and worse and worse and still deserved all of my trust and praise and love. The status and circumstances of my life should NEVER dictate how I relate to my King. Even when they seem hopeless. Even when you don’t understand the what or why or how. It always starts with trust. And he always comes through. We just have to trust and obey.

We See Through a Glass Darkly

Every year on this day I post something to social media. And I hesitate every time. “Who really cares? I’ve been posting about this for as long as anyone can remember. It’s not new. He’s been gone for 13 years now. They’re over it. No one cares anymore. Stop whining.” I’m not sure how or why these thoughts began pervading my mind, but each year I post something anyway, and tell the thoughts to be quiet. Because when I write about my daddy, his memory becomes more alive, and I can celebrate his life and his death through the beauty of the written word.

Each passing year brings with it new release and harder acceptance. It sounds contradictory, yes. But doesn’t the healing of a wound almost always leave a scar? The Lord gave and the Lord took away. I don’t question that. I even rejoice in it. His perfect plan being carried out through the life, sickness, and passing away of my very own earthly father. What a beautifully difficult thing to have been a part of. I’m thankful for it, for what it taught my dad, for how it brought him closer to the Lord, for how it forced him to trust wholly in his Dad. I’m thankful for what it taught my mom, my brothers, my sister. I’m thankful for how it messed me up. For how it affected my life to the point that I eventually came to know Christ personally. I’m thankful for all of that, but I also hurt. Each year brings 365 days of new adventures, new life experiences, new questions, new hardships, new joys, and new stories that I wish I could tell him. I wish he was here to be a part of all of that. I wish he was here to tell me he loves me, that he’s proud of me, that I’m his little girl. I wish I could hear his voice again.

But even in the midst of all of that, I hold on to a truth so sweet, so secure, and so uplifting that it transforms my tears from tears of sorrow to tears of delight. I do have a Father who loves me and who is proud of me. I am His little girl. My Jesus died for me and conquered death because of how much He loves me. He brought me to Himself and will never let me go. He goes with me and before me. He delights in me, and I in Him. Maybe He’s not here to give me dating advice or teach me how to change my oil or walk me down the aisle one day. But how selfish would I be if I wished my dad was still here to do those things for me instead of breathing and walking with new lungs, new legs, free of ALS, free of earthly restraints, free of sin…soaking in the light of Heaven and living in eternal joy with the King?

I don’t understand the ways of the Lord. I don’t know what His plan is or all the ways He’s used my dad’s death to work His will in other ways. My dad didn’t either, but that didn’t scare him. Below is a clip from his testimony that he gave not long before he passed away. May it leave you encouraged and uplifted, remembering that God is good and to be trusted. Regardless of our circumstances.

“Don’t try to figure it all out and understand all the events that are gonna come into your life. You never will. You never will. Don’t try to figure each one out; don’t try to come to an understanding of why each thing happened. It only leads to frustration, it only leads to discord in your life and upset when you cannot figure out these things that happen. Sometimes you’ll see the reason; most of the times you may not. It just depends on how the Lord works in your life and how He chooses to reveal it. You know what the Bible tells us, we see through a glass darkly right now. We see through a glass darkly. It is not for us to understand each of these things, to understand His hand. We know that He is in charge, and when you release that to Him there is an incredible freedom in it. There’s incredible freedom when you know that you are not in control of it, and that you don’t have to worry about it.”

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The sound bite tattoo I got a year ago today. Pulled from his testimony, this is my dad’s voice saying “we see through a glass darkly.”

A Moment to Process

To those who have supported me emotionally, financially, relationally, and in prayer over the last 9 months:

The Fellows program has come to an end. Our graduation was this past Friday; after an emotional evening of goodbyes I turned right around (literally…I was with the Fellows until 3am, came home to pack, and left at 5:30am) and hit the road for Beach Project. My Saturday arrival was already a week later than the other team leaders, but I jumped right in. Only now in this moment have I had a minute to stop, breathe, reflect on the last nine months, and prepare for the next two.

There are not enough words (or enough of you with attention spans long enough) to describe what all the Fellows Program has taught me and will continue to teach me for the rest of my life. I learned what it’s like to come to love people who are nothing like me. I learned what it means to seek the will of God in every aspect of my life. I learned what it means to view my work as unto the Lord. I learned what it means to open my heart to people. I learned what it means to fail. I learned what it  means to be a wretched sinner. I learned what it means to be content in my identity in Christ, and I learned what it looks like when I’m not. I learned what a God-fearing man and husband should be, and I got to see that lived out in six of my brothers in Christ.

My heart aches that it is over. My heart aches at the thought of not seeing my people every day. My heart aches for the ways I used my time foolishly. My heart aches at the relationships I did not care to put effort into. But Christ has redeemed it all. His blood covers me. His blood makes all things new. And He brought me to the Fellows Program for a reason, and for my good. I am so grateful. I could not have asked for a better transition out of college. The program was hard, but it was necessary. It was not always fun, but it was always, always good.

And now I sit here in the Sandman, writing this blog post from a sand-covered love seat and hoping that the wifi doesn’t give out. Home sweet home. Beach Project has been such an instrumental part of my life, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be here a third and final time. I am incredibly excited to see what this summer holds in store. Pray that the Lord will use me and grow me. Pray for the room leaders and disciples. Pray for the staff and for their leadership and guidance this summer, as it is our biggest project to date. Pray that the Gospel will become real to people for the first time, and that the Word of God will breathe life into souls. At Beach Project, we’re about having fun. We’re about relationships and the beach and working at fast food places. But above all else we’re about the advancement of the Kingdom and about spreading the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that that would be first and foremost on our hearts regardless of what the summer brings.

Thank you again to all of you who have helped get me here. My life is about to look a lot different, and I struggle with looking to what’s next. But here and now, God is good. He is alive and He is at work. Pray for my summer, and pray for the sadness of the Fellows Program being over. I love each and every one of you. Thank you for what you’ve done in my life.

Freed from the Choice

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.” — 1 Timothy 1:12-16

I can’t stop thinking about how thankful I am that my salvation is not up to me.

If it was my job to hold on to Christ, I would have let go a long time ago. In fact, I don’t even think I would have grabbed on in the first place. If it was up to me I would have been perfectly content to continue my love affair with the world. As C.S. Lewis describes it, I would have gone on making mud pies in a slum, having no understanding what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. A life of sin was appealing to me. I enjoyed my sin. I was happy to believe the lie that death was life. I didn’t want to give it up, and even now the great Deceiver knows how to remind me how much pleasure my old life brought me. Sin was fun. Sin was attractive. But Christianity changes that, and I didn’t want to be changed. How thankful I am that I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

If it was my job to hold on to Christ, I shudder to think how quickly I would let go of Him to reach out to my sin. I shudder to think how fickle my loyalties would be. After all, in a world full of sinners, I am the foremost. My heart is sinful to the core. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. Praise the Lord for His perfect patience and steadfastness, for without the Hound of Heaven hunting me down, my shackles would still have me enslaved. I would never have chosen Jesus on my own. Praise God that I did not have to.

 

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis

I Surrender All (but this, this, and this)

1sur· ren· der: to give the control or use of (something) to someone else; to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another.

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I’m starting to think we’ve forgotten what the definition of surrender is. I know I have. Or more accurately, it’s not that I’ve forgotten what it means, it’s that over time I’ve altered the definition until it has become something more appealing to my flesh.

When I tell myself that I’ve surrendered my life to the Lord and to His plans and His timing, it’s only to make myself feel like a “good Christian.” What I’m actually doing is surrendering my plans to the Lord under the condition that He fulfill them in my way and on my timing.

“Lord, I completely trust You with my relationships. I know You have a plan for my life. So I’m content being single. I surrender my dating life to You. But I only do so because I know deep down that there’s no way You’ll actually let me stay single forever. So I surrender my dating life to You, and in return, You’ll give me a man. That’s pretty fair, right? Thank You for being a sovereign God. You’re the best.”

Whether you realize you’re doing it or not, I’d be willing to bet this has been all of us at one point or another. Bartering with God. If I do this, You do this. If I don’t do this, give me that. If I seek You here, take me there. But where is the faith in that way of thinking? Where is trust? Where is the true definition of surrender? Are we really giving up control, or are we just seeking it in more camouflaged ways?

More astonishingly, why would we NOT surrender our lives—our plans, our relationships, our careers, our dreams, everything—into the hands of an all-knowing and all-loving God? I know myself well enough to know that if my life was up to me, I would make a mess of things faster than you can blink. So by not fully surrendering, am I just using God as a safety net? I want to trust Him, but I also want to do things my way. So I do my own thing, but only because I know God’s there to clean everything up if I make a mess. What sort of Christianity is that?

Christ is trustworthy. We must tell ourselves this every morning when we wake up and every night when we go to bed. We must search the Scriptures and read the abundant evidence of the truth of that statement. We must believe it and surrender. We must believe it and give up our lives completely, in favor of another, more beautiful life cradled perfectly in the hands of Christ. The Enemy wants us to keep believing our own definitions of surrender. But there is only one definition, and it belongs to the King. He does not compromise. Why would we want Him to?