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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

EVERY DAY IS INDEPENDENCE DAY

This post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme for July is “Freedom.” I am posting every Wednesday in July on the freedom theme. Follow the links to the right to see what my Christian Writer friends have to say about freedom.

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When I was a young adult, I did what most young adults do. I rebelled. (READ MY TESTIMONY ABOVE)

I didn’t know exactly what I should rebel against. The “establishment” surely, although I didn’t know precisely what the “establishment” was. I only knew I wouldn’t stand for being part of it.

Being raised as a pastor’s kid, I also knew I had no need for organized religion. Church was definitely part of the establishment. So when I got out on my own, I stopped attending church.

I could pray and believe on my own just fine, thanks. After all, I was independent. I was strong. And as a young woman, I knew everything about life.

You did, too, at that age, didn’t you?

Over the years, I understand more deeply just how little I really know. Even now. But it’s taken a while to get to that point.

One of the hardest things I had to get over when I finally did return to church was the idea of surrender.

Surrender to Christ’s will? Didn’t God make me to be a strong, intelligent woman? No way I’m gonna surrender my plans for my life to Jesus. Jesus can go ahead and save souls. God can go ahead and keep the planets spinning. The Holy Spirit can keep, uh, what does He do again? But I’ll take charge of my life, thanks.

<sigh>  

After years of bible study, reading, meditating, praying, listening to sermons, seeking God, and trusting Him, it finally sank in:  God is bigger than I am.

He’s also smarter, wiser, and able to see the big picture—His picture—and my place in it.

One day it simply clicked someplace in the middle of my heart. Surrender didn’t mean giving up. It meant giving over and trusting in the One who is trustworthy. It didn’t mean giving up my independence. It meant gaining independence because it meant finding freedom from the control and influence of the world. It meant freedom from having to do live on my own.

The day I began to surrender my life to Jesus became my Independence Day. I took hold of the freedom found in Christ. The freedom to be the woman He meant me to be. The freedom to live for Him. The freedom to praise Him and glorify Him with my life. The freedom to be for Him.

In America, we value freedom and we celebrate our political freedom every year on July fourth. It is good to have freedom. We can have that freedom in Christ when first we surrender. Every day can be Independence Day.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the free will you give us to decide freely to surrender to you. Thank you Jesus for the freedom we have from worry about sin and where we will spend eternity. Thank you Holy Spirit, for the freedom from doubt and lack of direction when we follow your guidance and listen to your counsel. Thank you God for the independence we have in you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Did you ever feel that surrender to Christ might mean an end to your own independence?

27 comments:

Debra Ann Elliott said...

A beautiful reminder. Thank you for stopping by.

Cindee Snider Re said...

I think you hit on something many of us struggle with -- the distinction between what we are called to be culturally and who we are called to be spiritually. We were never meant to be independent, but interdependent. Somewhere along the way, we lost the "inter" part and gave up the best part of what it means to be human, to be the Body of Christ, living in community, the family of God, free as He created us to be through His Son Jesus Christ. Wonderful post!!

Linda Yezak said...

I like that: "He is bigger than me." He's so big, he won't fit in anyone's box. The idea folks have that the Christian life is restrictive is a box idea. The people who hold on to it can't understand the freedom we have in him.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Debra Ann -- thank you.

@ Cindee -- yes, interdependent. That's a good way of stating it. And surrender to Him is the best form of freedom

@Linda -- I think God created in us a need to explain things, including Him. No, He won't fit in our box but I like to think that if we try to understand Him with a spirit of desiring to know Him, He'll be pleased that we have a heart for Him.

chris voanda said...

Carol, I honestly thought of independence in exactly the opposite way until reading your post, very good! There is a excellent point that we have to be independent of the influences of the world. I also must admit cracking up when you described your youth... as I wrote today about my "challenging" daughter. Thanks for a great one!

Tracy Krauss said...

Wow, this is the ultimate paradox, isn't it? True freedom means surrendering to Christ. As a side note, what beautiful vibrant colors on your blog. Love it!

Terrie said...

Carol thank you for your honesty. I think that is one thing lacking in our "Christian" mindset, somehow we think that because we are Christians we are supposed to be perfect-which we normally fail miserably. The worst part of knowing your not perfect is hearing that voice of conviction that continually affirms it. By the voice, I mean the evil one (Satan) who is out to shut us down in every way possible, unbeliever's don't have that problem because they are following him anyway. Being honest about our shortcomings and accepting God's grace as a gift-we really can stop listening to the lie we hear from the evil one-we really are free in Christ with all our foolish behavior.That what the Love of God is all about, believing and receiving it as a gift, knowing his love is unconditional. I didn't mean to go on and on, but you really inspired me. Blessings sweet friend- May the Lord continue to inspire others through your love and honesty.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Chris - thanks. I'm just heading over to read what you have to say about your Allie. Looking forward to it.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Tracy - yes, freedom is a paradox! And thanks for the color compliments!

MGalloway said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Carol's Quill said...

@ Terrie - Thanks for your commments. Since God knows I'm imperfect, I might as well be honest with everyone else, too. Am not even close to Jesus-like but evidently God still loves me and that's good enough reason to keep trying, right?

MGalloway said...

Great post.

Like Tracy said, it is a paradox...one that is amazing to experience, but even more difficult to explain to someone else.

Adam Collings said...

Nice take on the subject of freedom Carol. Our freedom in Christ is a fascinating thing to get your head around. It's great to see how God worked in your life. I will have to go back and read your testimony.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Mike - paradoxes are brain stranglers and heart menders

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Adam - I'm happy to hear you'll look at my testimony. My path may not be as dramatic as some folks, but it's mine and reflects my holding Jesus' hand tighter every day.

Victor Travison said...

It just goes to show you, what people think is freedom is slavery, and vice versa. My blog entry will deal with a similar phenomenon: "freedom" from moral living is really a trap. Is it any wonder God asks us to lean not on our own understanding?

~ VT

TraciB said...

Rebelled as a young adult? I was rebelling in some way or other ever since I was old enough to talk - my fist word apparently was "no." ;)

The Lord was patient, though, and He finally brought me to that place of surrender (I even visualized myself waving a white flag as He spoke to my heart that day). Each day, it's still a choice to surrender to Him, but I do it now as a bondservant - one who has been freed and has chosen to remain with her Master out of love - rather than as a slave who has no choice but to yield.

Thanks for a great post, Carol. Keep on writing your wonderful devotionals. :)

From Carol's Quill said...

@ VT -- you're right. And certainly our ways are not God's ways!

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Traci -- I loved hearing about your white flag. I have a feeling I'll think of you every time I sing "I Surrender All" and I'll be waving my flag, too. And dancing.

Chris Depew said...

In answering a call to ministry in my life, I have had many moments when it felt like I was losing everything that was mine. However, you are correct, when I did hand over control of something that wasn't mine to begin with, I was set free. I was able to lay down the burden of worry, worry about things that I had no control over.

Thank you for your post.

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Chris - thank you for your comments and for reminding us that nothing we have and no one we know (even ourselves) are ours. Everything belongs to God. We are only stewards and stewards might as well do what our master wishes.

Nona King said...

Carol, thank you for your post! This is such a common view of surrendering to Christ, isn't it? Either we don't want to be held accountable for our actions, or we don't want to give up our power and decision-making (yeah, because we are SO skilled at that...), or we simply don't want to believe that there are consequences to our life's path. When will we see that surrendering our heart to Christ simple means that we are partnering with Someone to help us make better decisions so that we can affect change in our life and those around us...?

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Nona - well said...partnering with Someone with a capital "S." YES!

Scott Fields said...

I never did really well with the whole "young woman" thing . . . but I was under the impression back then that I knew everything. (How ridiculous I must've seemed at the time. It wasn't until I was, like, thirty or something that I finally knew everything. . . .)

If I weren't writing something more specific to the theme of my blog, I would've considered doing something like this. I agree completely that the difference between a young person and an adult as far as their understanding of freedom and independence is as broad as the difference in perspectives between someone who's saved by Christ and someone who isn't. We're more free as slaves to Christ than we are as people raised into a national identity of independence. Freedom, like any other kind of wealth, is a relative thing. . . .

Thanks for an insightful post, Carol. ;-)

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Scott - Thanks for your thoughts. You're right that we are free as slaves. Free slaves. Slaves set free. It works however you rearrange the words.

lynnmosher said...

Carol, I'm sorry I'm so behind on commenting this month. This is an excellent post. Surrender is such a difficult thing to grasp and, yet, it is in letting go that we finally grasp it. Reminds me of zooming through the neighborhood as a kid on my bike and letting go of the handlebars! Why, I don't know. That image just popped into my head. Wonderful and thought-provoking post, Carol!

From Carol's Quill said...

@ Lynn - since I have no idea what you looked like as a child, I'm having a great time picturing you as you are now -- zooming down the street on your bike and letting go of the handlebars! You'll be happy to know I'm also picturing you wearing a helmet!