Saturday, August 11, 2007

Radically Sold Out for Christ

When you say to God, "I give you all that I am," what are you really saying?

Several years ago I went to a conference on worship at which the conference leaders told us that their prayer for all of us was that at least 1/3 of those attending would leave the conference having decided to be radically sold out for Christ. Knowing that I was far from being someone people would describe in that way, I said to my husband and to God, "I want to be one of those poeple. " I had no idea what that meant, or how that would affect my life, but I was sincere about my desire to be one of those people.

Not long before that conference, I had been thinking about where I stood in my faith and telling myself that I didn't want to get too caught up in "church stuff" or become one of those "crazy charismatics." So what changed? I discovered what I had been missing by keeping God at arms distance, the incredible depth and breadth and height of God's love.

I arrived at that conference with some very high walls around my heart. They had been built over a very long time of struggling with my own vulnerability in the face of the difficulties of life. I didn't like dealing with my emotions, so they were boxed up and tucked away. Mixed up in that box of pain was the heartbreak of realizing that I was losing my husband to mental illness. God eventually healed him of that, a miracle for which I will be forever deeply grateful, but at the time of that conference that hadn't happened yet, and I was refusing to be anything but strong.

Of course, God knew how to break through my walls, and the intensity of His presence at that conference, the feeling of being totally surrounded and held in His love was greater than my strength. I needed Him more than I could imagine, and I was like a piece of metal up next to a magnet. I tried to stay strong and keep my walls up but I just couldn't do it.

At first it was like the breaking of a dam. All the feelings I had been holdng off came pouring out and I cried and cried and cried. I imagine, if anyone was noticing, that I must have been quite a sight, but I think most people around me were as caught up in God as I was.

I had known God for a long time. He had been a constant presence in my life for as long as I could remember. But I hadn't really let Him in before, hadn't really gotten to know who He is and how much He loves us. Once I let Him in enough to get a taste of how great He is, I wanted more, and when the idea of being a radical follower of Christ was presented, I couldn't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to be exactly that.

Today, 5 years later, would anyone be able to tell a difference? I hope so. I said some very harsh things to people in my walled-up-heart days. I was even proud of my wicked tongue. If anyone is reading this who was hurt by that, please accept my humble apologies. If I could take it all back, I would! I pray that God is touching you deeply and brings you the wonderful kind of healing that only He can give.

He is awesome and amazing and incredible beyond words. He is worthy of all our praise and all that we can give, which is all we are, all we ever were, and all we will ever be. His, 100%. I don't think we can ever truly know exactly what is invoved in giving God all that we are. And I don't think it's a one-time event, either. For me, it's a commitment I must renew daily, acknowledging my need for forgiveness for the ways in which I have failed to allow God full control over my life. I'm human, and some days I go back to trying to tell God what I think is best. But He is patient with me, and gently reminds me that it's not about me, it's all about Him. And I am His, 100%. Thank you, God, that I am Yours.

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