The day after I gave my heart to the Lord, I was talking to a pastor trying to make sense of some things. I was one hungry and intense teen, I was so free after Jesus came into my heart and life – nothing was holding me back. A quiet teen like me had even walked up in front of the 60+ people that next day, took the microphone and started sharing for 10+ minutes… I’m still amazed at how the Holy Spirit moved in me to do that. Would I do let Him take over again even at my current stage in life?… I don’t know. It’s been such a long time since that day. However, God is the same and the same spirit is within me that was on that day… I think I’ve just forgotten how to fully surrender.
Anyway, back to my point of talking to a pastor… I can’t remember the context of the conversation or what I asked him. I do remember I was nervous about leaving camp and what I’d be like returning to the “reality” of life and the pressures of the world. I was so intense and passionate about this, I wanted some real answers to how to keep the Lord as the center and to not fall back into my old way of living. I’d asked the same thing of two pastors actually. I had little time to discuss much with the pastors because we were saying goodbye and there were 50 other people to say goodbye to… it frustrated me a little to not have the opportunity to go deeper. I had maybe 3 minutes with each. They were both in a hurry but one tried to encourage me with a verse. It didn’t seem to be relevant to what I was talking about, but I remembered the verse and hid it in my heart.
This morning, I don’t know why but I keep thinking about self-discipline. I prayed a short prayer last night before going to sleep. I was frustrated because once again I felt like I had completed a day with not much to show for it. I spent no personal time with God, very little prayer, and hadn’t accomplished much. I knew it was self-absorbed to also be thinking of how “little” I’d done, when the Lord orchestrates my steps and is even in the mundane… but I couldn’t help thinking I could do so much more. Not to perform or earn God’s love, but because I love Him. Like I “used” to be when I first surrendered my life to Christ. I was just passionate about more of Him and less of me, desperate and hungry but deeply satisfied just being alive in Him. Now I just meander through my days without a whole lot of that. Sure, I understand we go through seasons… but the foundation is still the same, isn’t it? So why am I not just as desperate for more of Him and just as passionate about living in Him and pursuing Him?
I’m still trying to understand a balance between complete surrender and self-control. I want God to take all of me and take control of my life… but there is also the element of “self-control” mentioned many times over in the bible. My mind keeps getting in the way of really “understanding” because I keep trying to figure out the balance. So I went to my favorite bible resource, biblegateway.com, and looked up “discipline”. Then I looked up “self discipline”… there were only three results for self discipline… and one of the verses was the verse the pastor had given me as I left the camp where Christ captured my heart:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
Years later, and I may only be starting to grasp what the pastor was trying to tell me…
I still don’t understand what God is trying to show me, but I know this is a start. It still goes back to His Spirit He gave us rather than my own efforts. All glory and praise to Him alone!