I’ve been gone for a while, I know. God and I have been having a battle of wills about who is in charge of my life. For the past week and a half, I’ve been trying to convince Him I am. This, as you probably know, is a battle lost from the beginning. But I guess my humanity convinced me otherwise, because we really got into it.
Over the course of the past week, I have learned how much my heart is full of itself. I’ve been made aware of how much I plan for, well, myself. I’d stitched together quite a nice plan, I thought, and was quite sure God would follow along with it.
But I became increasingly aware that He wasn’t following along, and didn’t seem to have any plans to. He seemed to have other plans in mind, in fact, that were in direct opposition to mine. And that really got me riled.
Eventually, I got to a place where I could talk it out in a mature way: “God’s doing something with me,” I’d say. “I’m trying to follow along. It’s tough.” I didn’t really believe it was true, though. I tried to believe it, but not really. But deep down, I knew it was true, and that’s what really peeved me off. I wanted to be right, and I wanted it my way.
What’s interesting is how even things that don’t seem grievous on the surface—the death of our plans for our lives, for instance—still take stepping through the grieving process to be rid of them. I walked through them all in this past week: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, finally, acceptance.
Because at first I ignored it was happening at all. I was convinced I was in the right, that God would get in line with my plan eventually. You know, that He would go along, of course, because I’m one of his good kids. Or at least, if He wasn’t on board right now, after a while He would be. (That’s the bargaining part, obviously.) When neither of these things panned out—when I came to the slow, dawning realization I wasn’t ever going to win in the match against God for my life—I got angry. I told everyone around that I didn’t think God got it, that He couldn’t possibly have my best interests at heart, that He was, in fact, stingy.
After the anger and bargaining wore itself out, then came the depression. I limped along for a couple days. I didn’t have it in me to do much else. I couldn’t even think about God and what He might be trying to do. Couldn’t even fathom the truth of His words. What was the point? I was going to have to give up on what I knew about how to operate well in this life, and that seemed too large a task. How could I possibly do it? And how could He possibly expect me to pull it off? It depressed me that He didn’t seem to care. I couldn’t find His care in this whole thing.
I got to a point where I had to ask Kirk to pray for me because I could sense something was wrong. I believe in the whole Galatians 6 thing, that there’s a supernatural realm existing all around us and that it’s our part to assist with the angels in fighting for God’s side. I say this because I believe at one point spiritual warfare got involved—that the enemy actually tried to keep from happening what eventually happened.
Because what eventually happened was an intense, all-out battle of wills . . . that, in the end, I lost.
I began duking it out with God. I could actually feel Him trying to take my own will from me, but I could also tell He wouldn’t take it without my glad offer of it, and I sure wasn’t racing to do that! The thing is, my own will was all I had. It was how I’d learned to operate—my instinctual coping mechanisms for life. I knew how to make life “work,” how to be good at it, even if that didn’t seem to be working now. I was sure it eventually would, at some point. It always had before, if I just tried hard enough and pleased enough people.
No such luck. He kept at me. I don’t know why. Like I said, I could actually feel Him inviting me to hand over my will, and it felt like a huge, football-sized mound of a rubber band ball, like the kind you find underneath the top felt layers of a tennis ball. A big old mound of will, and mine was the size of a football. I was clutching it to my chest, and He was putting one hand on the ball and one hand on my arm, and saying very quietly and calmly: “Come on, Christianne. Come on. You can give it to Me. Will you let go and let Me have it?”
The thing is, when we’ve found a way of operating in the world that works—even if it is from a wrong place, like the power of our own wills—that’s something like a death knell on our souls. As Kirk and my friend Sara both like to say, the worst thing about the false self is when it actually works. My false self—the power of my own will to exist in this big world—has been alive and well for years, and has done its job very well. It had convinced me that it worked.
God, however, was going ever deeper in His plans for me. “Won’t you let it go?” He wanted to know. After about a half-hour of this literal tug-and-war fight one night, what can I say? He finally won. God won my life—at least for one new day. Will He win again today?