Blog Post by: Abby McDonald
“It’s not about you.”
The words hit me with a palpable force. My pride wanted to take over and convince me that the statement was a lie.
But deep down, I know it was the truth. How long had I been running from God? Months? Years? I couldn’t remember the last time I just rested in the comfort of his presence.
Like so many young adults, my feelings toward the church had become jaded after high school. Leaders who I looked up to had let me down. I’d been hurt by people I trusted, and projected their faults onto a perfect God. I turned my back on Him and the church and for many years, I ran.
Now I had a new baby and a husband, and I knew I needed to somehow get it together. I was trying so hard to behave, to be the perfect wife and mother, but I knew I was failing miserably.
We had recently moved to a new area and begun attending a church, and I attempted to play the role I thought I was supposed to play. I abandoned destructive habits. I watched my mouth. But my heart was still guarded and hurting.
A bitter root had planted itself deep within me, and I didn’t know how to displace it.
As I was sitting on the couch one chilly fall evening, I read those words in the opening chapter of a book about our life’s purpose.
“It’s not about you.”
Something inside of me unlocked. I realized that all of my focus for so many years had been inward, but freedom comes when we fix our eyes upward.
When I turned away from God my focus was on myself. When I strove to behave and be the model church attendee, my focus was on myself. Suddenly, instead of fixating on me, I centered my thoughts on the One who gave me life.
Our sacrifices will never replace what God desires from us the most: a surrendered heart.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Humbling myself begins when I say, “God I may not understand everything that’s happened in my life or what you’re doing, but trust you.”
I trust that He is God and that if I love him, he will work it out for my good. (Romans 8:28) I trust that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts and his ways higher than my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)
With a surrendered heart, I see that God is sovereign even in the midst of uncertainty, turmoil and heartbreak. I see that because we live in a fallen world, suffering is inevitable but also a means of growth.
As I focus upward and outward instead of inward, that bitter root begins coming undone, and what was once resentment turns into gratitude.
Is there an area of your life where you’re holding on to bitterness toward God? Can I encourage you to take the following steps?
• Pray. Ask God to give you clarity. We serve a big God and our questions do not scare him away. You may receive answers and you may not, but presenting your requests to him will bring peace.
• Be honest. God already knows your heart. Don’t be afraid to tell him.
• Thank. Thank God for all the blessings in your life. One of the best ways to displace bitterness is with a thankful heart.
• Read. Immerse yourself in God’s word. His Spirit will speak to you and bring you understanding.
Friend, as you read this today, I am praying for you. I believe that God is going to do amazing things through you. There’s only one step left to take: Surrender. Find the Key to Freedom.
Until we meet again,
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