I was in prayer a couple days ago. Exhausted and frustrated over mountains in my life that I feel no power to climb, much less summit. I’m angry at God for, what seems in my mind at least, being inactive and entirely unhelpful. Tired of being in chains and bondage, I cried out to Him, “WHY won’t you free me, Lord??” Immediately in my spirit I heard the question, “What are you willing to do for your freedom?”
I’m not sure why this question triggered me so much, but it hit a nerve with me and I found myself getting angrier and angrier at Him. My attitude was, “DO??? DO??? What the bloody hell do you want me to do?? I’m the one in chains here and you’re the one with limitless power!!! YOU DO SOMETHING! GEEZ! How can you ask me that??” (As an aside, the Lord and I have many such exchanges. All I can say is…God is patient).
But really, it seemed like an unfair question. It seemed cruel to even ask, honestly. But the rage that poured from me surprised me and caused me to take a step back and actually consider the question. Last night as my anger calmed down a bit, I came back to the Lord with a tad more humility and said “Lord, you asked me what I was willing to do for my freedom. Well, I thought about it and here’s what I’m willing to do. I’m willing to lay down my arms. I’m willing to stop fighting you. I’m willing to be vulnerable and ask for help.”
Now, this may not seem like a lot to those of you who don’t know me. But if you DO know me, then you know this is just about the most difficult thing anyone could ever ask of me. From day one, I’ve been a fighter prone to defiance, unreasonable levels of independence, stubbornness, and resentment towards anything suggesting I can’t do something myself. In fact, my first full sentence as a child was “me do it myself” and it’s a sentiment I’ve always lived up to.
To be honest, I was born with a pair of nunchucks in my hands and it takes a lot more than a request to have me lay them down. On one hand, that fact has been a huge blessing as I was born a lamb in a den of ravenous wolves and those nunchucks are the singular reason I’m sitting here now typing out this blog. On the other hand, it has taken me three decades to consider the idea that maybe…just maybe… the whole world isn’t a den of wolves and some things don’t need to be chopped to pieces. (I’m not yet convinced, but I’m considering it…)
Needless to say, for me to lay down arms before the Lord is no small thing. But it’s all part of the journey He has me on, and that only through His love and endless patience. I’m told that coincidences don’t exist and so I want to share what happened in my life at the same moments these conversations happened…
See, the thing I was raging at him about in the beginning was a pattern I see in my life of absolute destitution, poverty, continual lack, and forced dependency (usually on abusive individuals who take advantage). It’s a continual repeat of the nightmare that was my abusive childhood and a cycle I’ve never seemed to be able to overcome despite my pleas and tries. I own a business and my rage at God came after a solid week of desperately low sales that wouldn’t even pay for the business to continue much less for me to gain a bit of independence. Thirty years worth of pent-up rage poured out to God…and his only response was to ask me that question…
So last night I answered him in my spirit, and I meant it. Today…the very next day…my business exceeded my second sales goal that I have not reached in five whole months of operation. Coincidence?
Well, I’ll let you decide. All I know is that humility does not come naturally to me, but it’s something God is teaching me. Trust does not come naturally to me, but it’s something God is teaching me. Dependency on HIM alone does not come naturally, but it’s something God is teaching me. And though I’m slow to learn and abounding in defiance and sass, God has even more patience…and let me tell you folks, that’s a lot.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9