We are human, and we are afraid. We are grown men and women, and we are afraid. We are Christians, saved by grace and guaranteed a place in heaven, and we are afraid. We live in the mystery of God, and we are afraid.
We are afraid of dying, and we are afraid of living. We are afraid of failure, and we are afraid of success that leaves us empty. We are afraid of not pleasing everyone we love, but we are not afraid of letting down the one person we should be love the most. That person is ourself.
We live our lives trying to live up to a nebulous ideal that we assume will appear before our eyes one day, and then every day and every moment in our lives will make sense.
The difficulty is that enigmatic, illusive moment never quite appears. We want something or someone to sit us down and say, "Child, this is why you are here. This is who you are." We long for it. We know it would put everything in alignment if that moment would just happen now.
We try to manipulate things to make that happen, but we still wander through life trying hard to get ahead, trying hard to please everyone, trying hard to do enough to feel like we have earned a spot in forever.
Our trying is a pointless, endless jumble of threads, a web where we are trapped. Our spinning has made it impossible to find a way out. To do the one thing we know we need to do.
We know that one thing will make all the difference. That one thing will set us free to soar on wings of eagles. That one thing will open our lives to the mysteries of the universe.
It is the one thing we fear. It is the one thing we can't seem to do no matter how hard we try.
That one thing involves giving up self-effort. That one thing requires us to stop trying to control every outcome in our lives. That one thing moves us towards starting to live our lives for someone else.
That one thing is to simply lay down trying to manipulate, plead and cajole the God of the universe to let our will be done. And when things don't happen to our liking, we blame Him.
We get angry with Him. We scream at Him. We rebel against what He gently tries to lead us to do.
All along, He has been implementing, orchestrating and directing good plans for us to give us that mysterious future and hope we long for. He longs to show us, but if He did we could not contain it.
The dream, the purpose, the destiny God has for us so far exceeds anything we could ask, hope, dream or imagine. It goes beyond the universe.
That mystery we feel is our connection to a Spirit we cannot fathom. It's the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead. It's the same Spirit who makes our earthly bodies His temple.
It's the same Spirit who spoke and all of the heavens, stars, land, seas, animals, birds, fish, you and me came into existence.
That same Spirit lives inside you and me if we have accepted Christ's sacrifice for our lives. We are connected to Him and yet, we live a very limited, mortal existence. We dare not try to see beyond our bodies, our things and our money. To do so would be too hard, too mysterious, too complex.
Yet we know there is more. We know it and we long to be connected fully to that mystery we know as God. Standing between us and Him are all the hurts, wounds, scars of our past.
We have shoved them down into the cellar of our lives and tightly shut the door thinking we have them contained.
At obnoxious times they choose to come out like unwelcome belches and foul words. We try to shove them back down, but they won't be quiet without lots of unhealthy, cardiac-failure-producing food or alcohol or drugs or anything that gives us a temporary comfort fix.
Spirit beckons us to open the cellar doors and let the wounds, the hurts, the misperceptions, the lack of love, the abuse of role models, the jeers of siblings and friends begin to heal. He beckons us to lay them all at His feet.
These are the things that govern our emotions. We have tried so long to bury them, to not admit they are there. We have tried to make them go away, but it only serves to make them scream louder.
And why doesn't God help us as we writhe in our emotional slime pit?
He is there and has been there all the time. Our difficulties and our attitudes have caused disconnect. Not His.
He's been patiently waiting for us to come to Him in our own time and in our own way. He's been waiting for us to notice the lines are dead. He's been waiting for us to want to reconnect to Him.
He watches as one by one we lay down our self-effort, our striving, our plans, our control, our wills, our desires to achieve and be seen achieving, It's then that He says, "Now, My child, you are ready."
That's the day we learn to surrender every desire we've ever had to Him. That's the day we abdicate our own throne and reinstate the true King.
That's the day we learn how to be free.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of seven books, all available on Amazon. Her latest book, Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God, is available now, and Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the No. 1 Christian weight-loss memoir. She is also a writing and weight-loss coach, blogger, speaker, wife and mother. Visit her online at TeresaShieldsParker.com to find her books, coaching programs and free gifts.
This blog originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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