The past three years have been difficult for me. Struggling with my writing career, personal crossroads, personal loss, and pretty much overhauling my relationship with God have yielded a very different “new me.” Part of the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, I suppose, is the idea that with a new year, we are given a fresh start, a chance to put the past behind us and break free of the self-destructive habits that plagued us in the past.
Many New Year’s Resolutions involve losing weight, staying in shape, being better with finances—all of these things are good and honorable things to strive for. But one of the main things God has been impressing upon me the last few weeks is the selfish practice of appropriating God’s gifts of friendship, relationship, and love for myself. Is it possible to love someone too much? To hold a friendship too dear? Absolutely. When the idea of connection, relationship, of feeling for another human comes between us and the sanctification of our hearts before God, they become stumbling blocks to our gateway to communion with the living God.
The minute we begin to hold back for ourselves the thing that makes us feel loved, the thing that makes us feel safe, appreciated, secure, or valued and we invest it in/attribute it to another person, it begins to corrupt us. What does this mean, friends? Could it be that our spouse is the one who has corrupted us and become a stumbling block to further spiritual growth? Or does God demand the relinquishment of our right to ourselves—including the love for our spouse—in the all-encompassing depth of His own love for us?
Nothing we have belongs to us, including our relationships with the ones we hold most dear. Deceiving ourselves into thinking we can hold back that extra sense of security, that feeling that nothing will ever go wrong as long as we have our sweetie, is a dangerous thing. It can become our crutch, our addiction, the way we comfort ourselves in times of crisis. It is not faith in God, but rather faith in man. That special bond God gives to us and our partner becomes corrupted, and in the end, it becomes a barrier between us and the God of creation.
As I review the past few years of my life, I realize that I put too much confidence in the blessings God has given me. I realize that nothing is mine, and I need nothing but the love of Christ to sustain me. I’ve seen it happen to my friends, friends with pure hearts and the desire to serve God above all. God stripped them of every pretense of security and self-sufficiency, brought them to their knees, and filled them with a love that pales in comparison to all others.
Most of us are terrified of this kind of blessing, because we would rather sit on the couch by the fire with our self-serving and self-destructive addictions to human love and security, and let the world pass us by. Most of us will never run full-speed ahead into the hurricane with our hair on fire for Christ. Most of us will never know that kind of passion, that kind of absolute security. Most will never, because we will not pour our meager little blessings out on the ground as an offering to the Lord.
My resolution this year is to let them go. I want to have the courage to daily pour out the love and blessings of my family and friends onto the ground before the Lord and let Him fill me with His presence. It will be hard; most days I will fail. But I pray that some days, I will be able to truly relinquish the right to myself and let Him do what He will through me.Read More...