There are some days when I just feel like I am dragging and everything I do is a huge effort. Do you feel like that some days? What do you do about it? How do you function?
Today I am exhausted. I woke up feeling like I had worked hard all night long. I remember hearing my dad say that once in awhile. My first response in the morning when I wake up that way is to be a bit grouchy. I am beginning to learn how to control that response. . . beginning. Being grouchy is not fair to those around you. It makes their day harder. My desire in those situations is to have enough self control that I can wake up, feel what I feel, and still be pleasant to those around me.
The scriptures talk about using self control. It is never just a suggestion. It is a command for us to be self controlled in all situations no matter what we feel or how we interpret what is happening in our lives. That is a tall order when you are suffering, in pain, being abused, hurt or just plain feeling miserable. It is even harder when you are afraid, panicked, or being harassed and bullied. But it is not impossible. I am always in pain. I am frequently bullied from various sources. But, I have discovered that, if I can just change my attitude to one of positive thinking and focus on God rather than what is happening in and around me, it is so much easier to handle my circumstances. My attitude makes a huge difference. We as followers of Jesus Christ are called to a higher standard than those around us. We are called to a disciplined walk with God in obedience to Him in every area of our lives. Our tendency, however, is to give Jesus part of our hearts reserving the largest part of our hearts for ourselves. In the part of the heart that we hold back from God, we hold our bad attitudes, self serving habits, sin and secrets.
Our calling is to be whole-hearted Christians. We are to be fully devoted to Christ. That means we are not to hold back any part of our hearts or our past. It all belongs to God. It was all paid for by Christ.
Here is a picture of what we typically do with our hearts and lives.
We have a box of chocolates that we want to give to someone. We bought the kind that we really like best. So we open the box and eat a few. But that looks a bit tacky so we take them all out and find an attractive way to repackage them. Then we give those leftover pieces, nicely packaged to our friend.
or. . .
We are going to give someone a birthday present. In stead of buying them a nice gift, we choose an old thing that we no longer want, make it look nice by hiding the flaws, and give that to them nicely wrapped.
We are either cheating by taking part of the gift for ourselves or cheating by giving second best. However, what we give of our selves is not a gift. It was bought with a huge sacrifice, a price. If we hold back part of our hearts, that is beyond cheating. That is outright theft. That is stealing from God Himself. He will never force us to yield our hearts fully to Him. But, there are natural consequences to theft (unyielding hearts). If you put your hand in the fire, there are consequences. You get burned. Everything in life has consequences. Some things produce good consequences and some things produce unwanted bad consequences.
Yielding our full heart to Christ is a process that we engage in as we learn who God is, and who we are in relationship to Him. It happens as we develop relationship with God. We begin to love Him more and more. As that love grows, we begin to trust Him more. The more we learn to trust Him, the more of our hearts we are willing and able to yield to Him. But we must respond to God’s invitations by stepping toward Him and beginning to make choices to give Him the parts of our hearts that He is asking for. He is patient. He is willing to wait. He invites us into fellowship with Him. He understands that we cannot yield everything all at once. But we must be willing to make the choice to yield to Him step by step as He asks, invites and shows us where He wants to work in us next. Remember, He paid for every part of your heart and life with His suffering and shed blood and death.
It might be scary to think of opening some areas of your heart to Him, but He is gentle, never forcing us, always kind and loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. The more areas of our hearts and lives we yield to Him, the better we will be and the stronger we will be. The consequences of yielding fully to our creator are blessings beyond our greatest imagining.
If you have secret areas in your heart that you have not yielded to God, ask Him to help you to open that part of yourself to Him. He will do that if you invite Him to. He will bring huge blessings into your life in very tangible ways. He will give you the strength to do what He is asking of you. He will make it possible for you to be self disciplined. Then those difficult days that come will not be as difficult because He is helping you to get through it.
May you all be richly blessed as you learn how to yield fully to God.