We ALL make mistakes sometimes! But there is a difference between the, “I forgot to put the clothes in the dryer” mistake, and the, “I’ve been living my life my way and trying to do God’s job” mistake. The first mistake means you might be wearing slightly damp clothes for a couple of hours or you might be wearing that outfit in the back of your closet that makes you look fat! The second mistake means you’ve likely been overwhelmed, exhausted and feeling hopeless. I have good news though! Just as quickly as the clothes can go in the dryer, God can take away your overwhelm, exhaustion, and hopelessness. All it takes is surrender. I recently had to learn this the hard way. I had to go into a deep dark hole where I thought there was no hope for me or my marriage. In the darkness I learned what it meant to surrender. When I did, I was filled and continue to be filled with peace and success.
Do you ever feel personally responsible for the salvation of others? Maybe it’s your spouse, your children, or even one of your parents that you feel a burden for. Do you ever think that if you could explain things just right, that he or she would FINALLY be convicted of his or her need for God? I have definitely felt this way! And I have tried saying things “just right” in a hundred different ways. But after YEARS of feeling responsible for my husbands’ salvation, I was overwhelmed and discouraged. Nothing was working. But out of that darkness God brought me into His light. He revealed to me that it isn’t my job to convict my husband - or anyone else for that matter - of his need for God. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. When I finally came to understand this, I surrendered it to God and I was set free! I stopped worrying about other peoples’ relationships with God and focused on my own relationship with God. And wouldn’t you know, my relationship with God grew deeper and became one of greater trust! I was also filled with a renewed sense of hope because just as God has pursued me over the years, He is also pursuing my husband. He is pursuing you! HE is doing it because it is HIS job. Not mine and not yours. This freedom and hope is not just for me. It is for you too! God wants you to surrender ALL your worries and concerns for others to Him. He is just waiting for you to do this so He can bless you with sweet, sweet peace.
Have you ever seen those moms – the ones that have it all together? They are always well dressed with their hair done, their children seem so loving and well behaved, they volunteer here and run programs there and they NEVER say anything unkind. I’ve never been that mom. But I sure have tried! I have tried to do all the right things and live according to the Bible. I have tried to lovingly discipline my kids so they will learn right from wrong. I have tried to treat those around me with the love of God and always show grace as God shows it to me. But here is what I discovered. That is EXHAUSTING! I was completely worn thin, trying to do all the right things. I had good intentions but my motivation was all wrong. I wanted to appear like a good Christian mom that had it all together. But as it turned out, I didn’t have anything together because I hadn’t surrendered to God. When I surrendered to God, that exhaustion I felt, it was gone! Overnight, gone! I was no longer trying to fight a battle that I can’t win. By my own strength and merit I cannot win the unseen spiritual battle going on around me. But by surrendering the battle to God and inviting the Holy Spirit into your life each day, you too can experience freedom from exhaustion.
How do you define a successful day? Not yelling at your kids? Getting through your entire to-do list? Cooking healthfully for your family? Making it through everything you planned for homeschool? Those are all great things and they can certainly contribute to a successful day. But just as it can be exhausting trying to always do the right things, it can also be exhausting always trying to get through everything you need to do in a day. I don’t know about you, but there have been MANY times I have looked back on a day and felt like a complete failure. I wasted time here, got distracted there, and made poor choices in all the moments in between. It seemed the more I planned my days, the harder things got! I was prepping and planning as all good moms and teachers should, so why was it getting harder instead of easier? Have you felt this inside before? That overwhelming feeling that you’ll never be organized enough or disciplined enough to get it all done so you can look back on your day feeling proud of your success. Put that laundry in the dryer my friend, and surrender your day to God. Any day surrendered to God is a successful day because you are walking in HIS way! Seeking God’s guidance throughout the day and actually asking Him, “What do you want me to do next God?” will automatically lead to success. There is no shame or guilt in a day that is led by God, even if you didn’t do the things you thought you would do. At the end of the day you are able to look back proudly knowing that you did what God called you to do that day. This is true success!
I hope you caught the ongoing theme here. Surrender. Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” Without surrendering your day to God you are sure to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and at times, hopeless. BUT, when you do surrender your day to God, you are allowing Him to lead you. God will never lead you to overwhelm and exhaustion because Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Surrender, my friend, peace and success will follow.