I know, Lord, that a man’s way of life is not his own; no one who walks determines his own steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 HCSB
When I first read this verse, I said, “Yeah, yeah, I’m not in control – got it.” And almost immediately afterward, I realized that I don’t actually believe that most of the time. Deep down, I hold very tightly to the illusion of control. My hands grasp at it so tightly that they have to be near broken before they let go! That’s the truth of who I am.
In light of this rather unsurprising revelation about myself, I’d like to touch on one of the basic principles of being a disciple of Jesus Christ—it’s not my life, but His. Without this operative truth, my life in Christ doesn’t work. Simple, right? Yes and no. This isn’t difficult to understand or live it out when I get out of the way and say yes to it. But getting out of my own way is easier said than actually done.
The vast majority of my dealings with God concern me getting out of the way. Nearly every correction serves to move me out of the way. The Holy Spirit is ever bringing the Cross to answer my repetitious and ridiculous battle cry, “You’ll have to take ____ from my cold, dead hands!” As if I’m not already dead! Ridiculous. I just can’t seem to get out of the way. And that’s the daily, sometimes hourly reality that I struggle to accept.
Martha used to tell me to be a child and go play in the sandbox until God says otherwise. I was trying desperately to parent myself – and failing spectacularly – and I couldn’t even grasp what it meant to just “BE.” I didn’t realize that it was possible to wake up and NOT immediately begin scanning myself for weakness and vulnerability and then plotting responses to every possible scenario that exposed said weaknesses. I couldn’t imagine just waking up, enjoying the new day, and stepping out the door without fear of catastrophic failure. I wondered what it would be like to trust that God would correct me when I needed it, so I could stop worrying about everything that came out of my mouth or flashed across my face.
Being born again made such trust possible, and I began to experience some of the carefree wonder that children who know they’re loved tend to radiate. But getting out of the way – letting go of what I want, surrendering to the will of Another, learning to just BE – is still every day. Sometimes it’s a flash of Light on the mountaintop and sometimes it’s the agony of Gethsemane, but most days it’s the quiet, unexciting work of waiting. The simple, unremarkable days of playing in the sandbox until the Father calls me out.
It’s no small thing to get out of the way, and it takes what it takes for that to become a reality. I’m no longer ashamed of the quiet days in the sandbox, anxious that I’m the dunce left behind while everyone else is on the mountaintop. Our Father doesn’t just forget about us, so if He puts me in the sandbox, then it’s because He wants me there. I trust Him to call me when He’s ready, and I trust that I’ll hear that call.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…
John 10:27 KJV