Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What is God asking you to surrender?

I am on (written Saturday night) my bed in a hotel in Pennsylvania. Just returned from hearing Ann Voskamp share what God had spoken to her heart to share with us at Relevant.
I'm not completely sure where to start. I am emotionally drained and yet I am at peace and in a sweet place with Him and there is no where else that I would rather be. Oh, there is so much I want to share from this time - I imagine it will be trickling out over the next days and weeks. Longer, I pray!

Near the end of her sharing time, she asked us to take a few quiet moments and pray. To ask God what He would like us to surrender. I grabbed my journal and jotted down a few thoughts of a prayer to Him.

What do You want me to surrender?

I waited.

It was quiet.

I listened.

The theme I had noticed while she was talking was that I was telling myself that she wasn't really talking to me. She was saying we as bloggers are artists. We are writing words of healing. We are worshippers. And, as she said each of those things, I knew she didn't really know me and she couldn't be talking about me.

And, in the waiting and in the quiet and the listening. I heard.

"I think You want me to see my identity in You. I want to go deeper and lower and be in a holy place. I want to write for an audience of One."


Ann says next, "Are you thinking your words aren't great? Are you thinking you don't create art?"

(yes)

"Why is it so hard to believe that what we make is any good? Why can't we believe that God's grace has made me good? That in Christ, He sees me as perfect?"

I'm near sobs and just trying to hold it together to get back to our room where I seem unable to turn off the faucet to the tears that are coming. I tell my room-mate that I know what God wants me to give up is this idea that I am never good enough.

How? I have long been known for being very hard on myself and never feeling like I did enough or what I give is good enough. I want to see the beauty that He sees. To see myself the way He sees me.

The first thing I need to do is to surrender. Surrender the comfort (yes, there is a comfort in it as it has been my companion for so long) of that voice that is constantly putting myself down or building myself up falsely. Get rid of the voice that speaks untruth and therefore is wounding to my spirit.

My friend and room-mate, Megan hands me something she picked up at the free Dayspring table:

I try to get her to keep it. But, she insists that I keep it. It is so beautiful and as soon as I admit that it is beautiful, God impresses on my heart that in Him - I am too.

I gaze at it again and try to soak in that truth that God sees me as beautiful and wonderful because I am just the way He made me to be. And, I notice something ~

A small place that has been sliced through the canvas - it hasn't ruined the picture, Megan says she can't even see it and I am struck with how perfect this is for what I am learning! It's not even possible for me to get a good picture of the spot as its so hard to see.

I have wounds and flaws and God still sees me as beautiful. This painting had a wound and Megan couldn't even see it. How many times do I listen to this voice in my head and then magnify what it says so that I think everyone can see it?

When you stand back and look at the beauty in this painting - you cannot see anything less than the beautiful whole. I will put this in a place that is near where I work on my blog so I can look at it and be reminded that God sees me as beautiful. To remind me that I am not writing to gain fame and followers and money. I am writing for Him. For what He is doing in me through these words.

Do you see yourself as beautiful in Him? What is it that is hindering you from that? What is He asking you to surrender?

17 comments:

Ruth said...

What a Word from the Lord, today. I recently had to surrender some things at church that were taking me away from my time with the Lord and my family. I am one of those people that anything that needs done, I'm there with my hand raised,saying "I'll do it." I was taking on too much. My spiritual life and family life was suffering. God (and my husband) desired me to let go of some responsibilities, and focus on what He wants of me. I have not given up everything, just did some weeding. God showed me that there are those whom He has called to those jobs, who were being robbed of blessings by saying "No, not me."
I'm still very active at church, but just had to say, "No" to what was not in God's plan of service for me.
Monica, your blog is ALWAYS a ministering tool in my day. Never doubt that. As SAHM's, often our community in a day is the blogs we read. Your words from the Lord are always inspiring to me. Thanks, with love!

Tina Leigh said...

Funny how HE does things like that..using a picture to make a point..yes I feel broken all the time.

Wendi said...

"I have long been known for being very hard on myself and never feeling like I did enough or what I give is good enough. I want to see the beauty that He sees. To see myself the way He sees me."

It was a moment of holding my breath when I read this statement. I am so hard on myself. I am quiet and not overly confident in myself. I always struggle with feeling like I am good enough.

After a very hard day this week I left for some time for myself. I am sitting in the parking lot pouring out my heart in a journal and crying out to Him when my sister calls me. I then pour it all out to her and after listening to me she says "Wendi, you are to hard on yourself." She reminds me that I am not the only one that feels this way. That life is hard and we are not expected to be perfect; only to do our best.

Oh, I needed to hear that from her. It was just another reminder of how great our God is. He knew what I needed and sent my sister to help me get back on the right track. Just as He knew hearing that you struggle with some of the same things would be comforting. Another reminder that we are not alone!

Julian said...

what a timely word! Your blog is an inspiration to meas well with 6 kids from 20 to 6. I have been reading this eweek, and go throuought the day thinking about the topics youve discussed. I kept thinking yesterday...Does God REALLY have the first place in my heart?
Today, you touched on a personal matter Ive been struggling with, and also my daughter. God sees us as beautiful, why cant we?
Something to think about, and to pray over. Have a very blesssed day. Thakyou for sharing us your beautiful heart.
Christina

Megan said...

It looks pretty amazing in that spot, too. If I had brought it home it would still be in a stack of stuff I haven't dealt with yet...

Well done here!

Jason and Danielle said...

Monica that was beautiful and has given me so much to think about. Thank you so much for sharing. I think that God has a way of teaching us in the most unusual ways. Who would think that a simple picture could speak a novel to you or even to me and now all your blog readers. He knows our hearts and wants us desperately to see our selves the way He sees us. I think it is a continual effort to do, but with Him we can.

Agnes said...

this is beautiful Monica, and you are beautiful, what you write is beautiful. You make my world more beautiful each time I read your posts. thank you so much for sharing and making me a better person.
bless you.

Sheila said...

Monica,

Thank you for sharing. I think of you as such a beautiful person that it is hard to realize that you didn't have the same vision of yourself. I am talking about beauty of spirit (not that you aren't physically beautiful, too!) because that stands out so much in everything I know about you. The question of surrender is so important. I need to think about that. God is working on me. I am so thankful that He is working on me and hasn't given up. I would have given up on me a long time ago.

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful spirit with us. You are a gift from God.

Betty said...

Thank you for your honesty and transparency. I am always so challenged and encouraged by your blog. It is one of very few that I check daily. Know that God is using what you write to be a blessing to so many others.

Thank you,
Betty

knmkendall said...

Yes! I agree with the other commenters. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Such an encouragement and a wonderful reminder of the beauty God sees in us, broken and imperfect as we are. You have given me much to ponder and reflect on this day. God bless you! You ARE beautiful! Thank you for sharing from your heart, which is filled with desire to please God!

LynnMarie said...

Just the others have said here, you are a beautiful person with a Godly heart. I'm so glad that you can begin the journey of seeing yourself as He sees you. Thank you fro sharing with us what is happening to you.

Cheryl said...

Bless your heart Monica.
You are always an encouragement to me when I stop by. You remind me where I need to be ....in God's word.
I know I always stop by your blog because more often than not you are blogging about something that God wants me to read about. You share what he impresses on your heart so beautifully every day.
Praying you will let go of being so hard on yourself. I too suffered from this when I had littles.
God loves you for who you are, just the way you are.
Oh, and I didn't see where the painting was ripped or torn anywhere...It's beautiful to me.

*carrie* said...

Monica,

This makes me think that last week I was reflecting on Genesis, and was reminded that God said "it is good" upon seeing each of HIs creations.

asnipofgoodness said...

He is always asking us to surrender something more isn't He. It is the way He brings us closer, grows us, burns away the dross. It is only by emptying us of our selves that we can be filled up with Him. Thank You for sharing your heart Monica, and your experiances at the meetings.

Anonymous said...

Wow, God is so good. Thank you for sharing this Monica. I don't think I have commented before but your blog is certainly a favourite here for me in Australia. You encourage me so much in the things you do to seek & serve God, in the little ways as well as the big. I love your gift of hospitality and the way your gift for craft making is such a blessing to others and in making your house a 'home'.

I really felt to tell you how beautiful your heart is, you are a virtuous woman indeed! When you soak up God's love, you can't help but feel beautiful ; )

Anonymous said...

Monica,

I have often read yours and Ann's blog. Those are the only two I read faithfully. God has used each of you as such an encouragement to me, words cannot even express. I identify with you in your struggles, and what a blessing you are, baring your heart. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord in writing this blog.
Love,
Carey

Kaira said...

Monica,

I'm really behind in getting around to read all of the Relevant posts - I've just been in a bit of a quiet place.

I too was a wreck listening to Ann. Her message, or His message through her, is so powerful, whenever I read the words she spoke I can hear her speaking them all over again and they sink deep and they make me so weepy. I never expected to have such a deep experience at Relevant - God really met all of us there, didn't he? Such a blessing.