Every year I am amazed life survives under the ice and snow. This winter was long, so long, hanging onto the year with its icy grip. Last weekend we had three inches of snow fall. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I took one look outside, then dived back into bed and under the covers. I couldn’t take it anymore. None of that white stuff was going to make it onto my Instagram or Facebook feed. Not this time. The snow didn’t stay though – it melted almost as quickly as it came. There’s no stopping spring now.
In a matter of days, shoots spring up out of the ground. Flowers start to bloom. Spring Peeper frogs sing in the evening. Hallelujah!
The year is moving on. Change is occurring. There is hope. Winter – give it up.
I’ve been thinking a lot about letting go of things in the last few weeks – since the trip to New York (for an account of that see two posts back, ‘Brooklyn Boot Camp’). At the end of that post I mentioned how God had spoken to me. He said, ‘Are you willing?’ That’s what I wrote, but I didn’t finish it. I dare not write it down. Something was happening in my heart that scared me. I knew exactly the words I believe He spoke to me.
‘Are you willing to give it all up for me, for a bunch of kids? Will you lay other things aside for this? Even dreams you think I gave you?’
Bam! Nothing like a direct challenge. So began a conversation like this:
‘Yes, but do you know how old I am God? If I lay those other things down, that may well be it for all of that. What you’re asking me to do is a long term thing as far as I can see.’ (Why not tell God something he doesn’t know?!)
‘And, I point you back to the question I asked before.’
‘Give it all up?’ (In my head I’m seeing myself like Abraham walking up the mountain willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, except I’m carrying all ‘those things’.)
‘Do you trust me?’
‘Yes! People are going to think I’m giving up, though, I’ve talked a lot about other stuff.’
‘Do you care what they think? Is it about that?’
‘No! No, not really.’
‘Lay them down then.’
‘I know, I’m into laying things down, my life for example…’
‘…Is your identity by any chance in ‘those things’ you’re hanging onto, or me?’
‘Okay! It’s true, sometimes I don’t know who I’ll be if I lose those things, I confess it, I might be a nobody for my whole life. I might not even be good at what you’re asking me to do.’ (Ever the drama queen.)
‘I see you, and will I ask you to do something and then not help you? Isn’t it better to be a nobody with me, than a somebody without me? And may I remind you of Philippians 2 – ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…who made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…”
‘Yep, you’ve got me there, right there. Forgive me Lord Jesus. I know your way is the only way I can go. The answer is yes, a million times, yes.’
In brief that’s how it went, how God is working on me, peeling back my fingers from things I can’t really hold onto anyway, things that without him are nothing. I’m letting them melt away, hopefully allowing what his Spirit is doing to spring up in my life instead.