Dying to self.
I know it's important. It's critical! It's everything. But I've been running laps around "what that looks like". Maybe you can relate: I have to know how to "DO" a thing, or at least be clear about what my job is if it isn't a "doing" kind of thing. Maybe it's just "being" instead or waiting on the Lord or maybe I have to try to . . . ? Ugh. In the midst of all the other debris floating around in my heart and mind lately, I was having a terrible time getting a lock on "what that looks like" in my life. I mean, I get the general idea, but on a Monday afternoon with the monotony and a migraine and yet another misunderstanding? Then I don't "get it" so much. I have been feeling pretty killed and I'm pretty sure a thing can only be so dead. Yes, well, God is showing me that there is more than one kind of "dead" and I get to choose which kind I'm going to be.
When I mulled this over with a great mentor one evening, she said that being "killed" means there's nothing left in a thing (or a heart?) whereas being "dead to myself" also means being alive to Christ. Aha! So it's the difference between having "nothing left" and having "absolutely everything available". I totally understand that! That's where the three different powers in Ephesians 6:10 come in - and that is exciting!
Because did I mention I'm feeling pretty killed? Does being dead to myself mean I don't care about anything? It doesn't matter that I'm killed? I don't care what happens? I don't have an opinion? She said, "Of course you care. You care more than before, but you care about what God cares about!" Yes. Nice! Thank you! That makes so much sense.
What does that "look like"? What is the mysterious mechanism for moving from where I am in the land of Twisted-Up-Angry-Knots to the land of godliness, freedom, and joy? How does a broken heart put skin on that?
Well, in His gentle goodness and perfect timing, God showed me the answer. I don't even remember when or how the Holy Spirit eased it onto the screen of my mind but there it was; Jan Karon calls it "the prayer that never fails". Jesus has already shown me "what that looks like", I had just forgotten! It's in the five little words that changed the world forever:
Not. My. Will. But. Yours.
That's the magic. That's the mechanism. That's the miracle of moving from "Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me," . . . to Calvary and Resurrection and Eternal Glory - (not just for Himself but for me)!
So now I will pray, "Lord, here's my thing (insert brokenness, hopes, desires here), nevertheless, not my will but yours be done." And so then: humility. And healing. And hope!
It was Humility that was obedient "even to death on a cross", and that's what it looks like with skin on. There is sometimes an anguish of actually caring quite a bit and wishing it was different and pleading with the Father to make it different . . . but if there is ultimately surrender and humility and obedience, then the Triumph will always follow. I pray that by God's grace He will help me live this out in my home.
And maybe it will change the world . . .