I have very quickly come to realize that this year of #twelve4life will challenge me in numerous ways. Last month I started, and continue, to wrestle with the idea of being vulnerable both with myself and those around me. This month we started to discuss the second step, relying on something greater than yourself. Through a lot of thinking, prayer, and listening this month, there are a few truths that have resonated with me.
To me, relying on something greater than myself means that I am completely trusting in the Lord. This is a concept that is frequently discussed among Christians. I now realize that this is an easy concept in theory, but incredibly difficult to live out on a daily basis. We are far more comfortable to remain in “control” of our lives. “Here God, you can have this part of my life…” or “Let Your will be done… in this way.” The difficulty of truly relying on God became evident to me when I started to look at it as a second step to vulnerability. If I have to be vulnerable and recognize that I am not in control first then rely on God means I am not holding anything back.
“The greatest things that I need to change, I cannot manage.” This a statement Pastor Shawn made during his sermon this week. This helped me realize that relying on God is more than something that I want to do. If I want to grow, it is something that I need to do. There is no way that I can face all of my struggles on my own. I have blind spots and battles that are too big for one person. Embracing vulnerability allows me to admit that there is an obstacle in front of me that I cannot conquer. I rely on my great and powerful God because He is the only one that can help me to the other side.
Even though I can recognize the need to rely on God, It is terrifying to actually do. In the last blog post, Falicia talked about taking that “leap of faith.” She challenged that risk is a part of faith. I started to imagine leaping into something and not landing in the cushy place I hoped for. It was a scary thought and it made me nervous to make any practical steps to completely relying on God. Later in the week, I heard a statement in a spoken word piece. “Whatever was suppose to kill you, didn’t, and what does not kill you knows who you belong to.” I belong to God and my God will not leave me nor forsake me. If I take that leap, if I let God mold me into His creation, if I hold nothing back, I will be a disciple of Christ who is forever safe in my Father’s arms.
Another Blog? Honestly, I don’t know how I get myself into these situations.
“Welcome back!” if you have read our blog before and “Welcome!” if you’re new to the whole thing.
This month our church is moving onto step 2: Relying on Something Greater than Yourself.
That “something” for us, is God.
Throughout the month of January as I struggled through the concept of “vulnerability”, I came to realize that I simply couldn’t let down my walls without help. Even when I want to, I always seem to find another wall beneath the one I’ve just taken down. I started to wonder, am I just incapable? Is this endeavor that I’ve chosen to embark on, an impossible feat to accomplish? I felt like the life embodiment of one of those Russian dolls. Then one day, I was sitting in a pew listening to Shawn preach and he said something that was so profound to me, that I think about it almost every day. He said something to the effect of, “Do you trust God enough to believe that you’ll be okay no matter the results or the outcome of the risk?”
Even writing it makes me a little emotional. When God asks me to jump, I realized that my usual response is, “Sure! I’ll jump if you catch me!” My “yes” to the Lord has always been conditional. It’s that belief that I will do as He says but only if I can come out unscathed. What a hilarious thought process when confronted with the fact that every single one of Christ’s twelve disciples suffered. This path is not for the faint of heart. It isn’t for those who desire to be nothing but comfortable. This path is impossible to walk without growth. I would even go as bold to say if you are not growing in your faith, you are dying. There is no such thing as “arriving” in the Christian faith. We never have all the right answers. Most of the time we don’t even know the right questions to ask. So how then do we navigate life?
The answer is simple, but the action is not. We must rely entirely on God. That means if He says jump, we don’t ask what’s at the bottom. If we don’t jump, we just stand on the edge of that cliff forever wondering what would have happened if we had just trusted and took the leap? Risk is a part of this faith. Growth is inevitable if you just say “yes”.
“A Leap of Faith” isn’t just a cliche. It’s a command. It’s a lifestyle.
What do you need to say “yes” to today? Will you jump or will you wonder?
We live in a world of you can do it. We are told this all of the time; in magazines, on the TV, Face Book, and the radio. Heck! I say this all of time, I preach on it more than not, and I fully believe it to a certain extent! Yes, I believe we can do more than we realize, I believe we can grow, and I believe we can be better than we were yesterday. However, I do not believe that I can do anything without being fully restored to my full potential, and it’s here that I stop believing in the “I can” and start struggling with the“God can”. I struggle with the fact that I can’t do something that directly helps me better myself, because I can’t restore myself. I have a real struggle with relying on anything that can help me, because I struggle with control. This comes from my “not enough” mentality, which pushes to be “more than enough”. This creates a very unnatural, and unhealthy dance with myself! As I continue to research and grow as I engage in the AA 12 steps, I’m realizing everything centers around step one: “I admit that I am powerless over my brokenness and my life has become unmanageable”. It makes complete sense to me that If I struggle with Step one, how could I ever come to embrace step two: “To rely on a greater power source, which can restore me”. Last month the church explored Step one with the focus on being Vulnerable! As we begin February, I’m still asking myself: what are the roads block to actually “Letting Go?” Brene Brown describes Vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We are taught that doing those things will result in some form of assault upon us (Mental and/or physical). So, it makes sense why we wouldn’t be vulnerable, unless we are missing a bigger picture. If I truly admit that I’m powerless and I can’t manage my life, then I would have to seek out another power source that could help me manage, but that would also mean that I can’t be in control. Again, my research points to this as being the main cause of addiction! I happen to believe that we are all addicts of something. I need to truly come into the realization that if I want to be restored then I can’t be in control of that. Step one: take a risk, and step into understanding that my attempts to control my life have become one addictive measure after another. This has created a false sense of self and has fed my ego and fooled me into believing that “I can”. Stepping boldly into step one leaves me open to an unlimited power source that happens in step 2. It’s in Step two that “I can” becomes “God can”, and this takes the weight off of me to allow me an opportunity to grow and be better than I was yesterday. True change happens when we let go of the person we use to be, and boldly seek out the person we are supposed to be. Join us this month as we explore Step Two: “Come to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore”!!!
Pastor Shawn R. Moore