As I begin my first Lenten journey, I honestly am still figuring things out. Though I grew up in the church and have been a born-again Christian since first grade, Lent was never a part of the equation. But as I grow in my faith, I’ve been hearing God calling me closer to Him, to a stronger, deeper relationship. He has filled my heart with a longing to seek His will. And finally, I submitted and decided to embark on a journey of refinement. I am striving to lessen myself-my hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows-in order to allow Him to become more. To take over all that I am and show me how to live the life He created me to live.
It’s scary. But I’ve found fellowship through fellow bloggers, and together we are journeying through the book “Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten journey of refinement.”
Yesterday I started reading through this book, and honestly the jury was still out. Was this book, so highly spoken of, really going to helping me in this scary process of surrender, lessening, and refinement? But I read anyways, and ended up mouth agape, tears in my eyes. Oh how the Lord saw my need, and He provided! My fears and shame were laid out in the beginning pages, the same experiences of the author when the Lord called her to the journey I am on.
I am not alone.
I began reading more enthusiastically, joyful in the revelation that someone else knew how I felt, the struggles I had been having with the Lord. She knew the shame of trying to ignore the Lord’s calling, trying everything but what He was asking for. The author described how she had been seeking the Lord more, but was reluctant to come to Him in open-hearted surrender, bare before God. How she busied herself trying to ignore what He was asking. How she wrestled. And finally how she gave up and surrendered.
Oh how familiar that sounded.
That is exactly how I have been feeling for awhile. Though I was seeking Him out more and digging deeper into His word, there came a point where He was asking for more. And I wasn’t willing to let it go. And then, I found a blog mentioning this book and this journey, and all the pieces fell into place. It finally made sense.
You see, you can only go so far in your journey of faith before you reach a point where you want to say no to what God is asking. If you do, how can you possibly progress? I had reached that point, and finally (finally!) realized that if I wanted a closer relationship with the Creator, I needed to offer Him everything. Only when I offer it all can He lead me to do the work I was created to do. Only when I completely surrender can His dreams for me fill me up.
Another quote that got me was: “Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted.” (A.W. Tozar) This quote struck me because it ultimately defines the reality of my spiritual life for the past few years. I never turned away from God, but I was complacent. I placed other things before Him and allowed myself to become too busy. And by doing so, I fell away. But that’s done with-no more. There is no room for complacency in my relationship with God. Now is the time for desire and passion, and unquenchable thirst to be closer to Him.
And this Lenten season, I am offering my all to Him.