I have a tripping problem. Even with the best of intention, I keep tripping. Over myself. I keep getting in the way. I’m still learning to let go of myself. I want to be a simple person, as wise Fenelon said:
A simple person allows himself to be led by the Lord Jesus. So let go of yourself with courage.
— Fenelon, The Seeking Heart
I walked slower and slower around the track. The stars were out in full force, showing off in typical Central American style. Walking and talking on a summer missions trip in the middle of Guatemala, I was having it out with God. The stars helped. I hadn’t seen the like before, being from LA where stars are of a different variety.
“Lord,” I said, “You know I gave You my life years ago at 15. Giving it at 15 is not the same thing as giving it at 25. It seems harder now, riskier.
“I don’t want to be single. Does surrendering to You mean I will never get married? Do you mind answering that question – just so I can be prepared?” I kept walking. The stars were getting a little blurry.
“You know,” I argued, “my own dear dad would not want me to remain single—do You want to go against what he wants?”
Seemed like a good argument, bringing in the Dad-card.
Silence on His end. I walked and talked and finally, stopped tripping. It didn’t make much sense to hold onto myself. Deep down I wanted to be a simple person being led by the Lord Jesus.
Oswald Chambers called non-tripping being “abandoned to God.” Self isn’t part of the equation when you abandon to God. Takes courage? Yes. Sounds scary? Feels that way, at times. It’s easier to choose the safe way—holding tightly to my cleverness, my rights, my inclinations, my perceptions. It takes courage to let go of myself.
I don’t think God called us to easy. He called us to abandon ourselves to Him. Not just abandon, but abandoned to Him. There’s a difference.
Someone said trusting God is like jumping off a cliff and finding out it was a curb. You only find that out if you jump. Even so, some curbs feel like cliffs. I can roll an ankle falling off a curb. The truth is, we’re not abandoned in the jump or the fall, wherever we land.
Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. . . because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG
Now, an old-married-lady–29 years and holding–I still find myself tripping over myself at times, daily even.
- I choose an angry retort instead of a soft answer.
- I choose a sullen look instead of a pleasing one.
- I choose an anxious thought instead of a trusting heart.
- I choose a whiny voice instead of a grateful tone.
- I choose to gain attention instead of promote another.
- I choose to win the argument rather than letting it go.
All in all, I choose the easy way instead of the courageous way. I lose out when I do. I don’t want to be a fool.
I want to leave myself behind. Jesus did. That should be good enough reason. But there’s another: when we do–when we live with courage, choosing God over self, Spirit over flesh, humility over pride—fruit comes in abundance. It’s life giving.
Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:24,25 MSG
I Choose to Let Go of Myself was first published in Bridging the Gap Conference Devotional, 2016. Available on Amazon.