Playing God

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“You know, Lizzie, it’s really hard to hear God sometimes when you’re good at a lot of things.”

I don’t think my friend knew she was releasing an emotional earthquake and the tsunami that soon followed. Because what I heard and what she said were two completely different things. What I heard the Holy Spirit say to me was, “Lizzie, it’s really easy to play God when He has equipped you to do great things.”

Now, let me make this very clear. I believe EVERY person on planet Earth has been CREATED to do GREAT things. Every. Single. Person. You, me, your brother, your mother, your kids, your neighbor, the man at the homeless shelter, the kid who dropped out of high school, the kid who achieved perfection on the SAT, and every one else in between.

I’m not special or on the A-team. And neither are you. But we are both on God’s team and we have been uniquely created to do good works for Him and His kingdom.

Okay, now that the air has oxygen in it again, let’s carry on.

If I were a superhero, I would probably be the Incredible Hulk. No, I don’t turn green when I’m angry, just really red! However, I have something in common with the Incredible Hulk: self-sufficiency.

The struggle that drains me the most is doing things in my own strength. Consumes me. It started about 37 years ago when I was born. Probably even before then. Definitely before then. Self sufficiency is my strong suit. Call it what you want, perseverance, stubbornness, determination, controlling, etc. It can be such a struggle.

But, the crazy thing is that one of my top five strengths on the Strengths Finder Assessment is just that, command. Command leads me to take charge. To be compelled to move forward. So what makes this an issue? What is the struggle? Isn’t that a good thing? How can a good thing get me in so much hot water?

Well, yes it is a very good thing. But, and this is a very large but, the problem develops when I’m driving and I’m telling God where I’m going and what I’m gonna do. Yes. I do that. Often. Well, to be honest, less often that I used to, but still too often.

And it gets me in a lot of trouble. I get in over my head and I drown in very hot water. Then I’m like, “God, help!”. I can be like impetuous Peter. Or zealous Paul. Or managing Martha. All in the same 5 minutes!

Playing God or acting as if you are in control of your life is truly an illusion of epic proportions.

I know what Peter felt like when he started sinking. When he took his eyes off Jesus and attempted to walk on water in his own strength. I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I know I’m operating out of Lizzie’s strength and not in the all sufficiency of Christ.

Self-sufficiency is sort of like drinking salty water. You’re drinking a lot of water, but you’re still thirsty. Your tank seems full, but you are running on empty.

Then you crash and start thrashing wildly in the waves that have enveloped you. Or hopefully, you realize before you crash that you are trying to run the show and you decide to stop before you crash. That’s where I’ve been in my walk with the Lord.

Recently, I was trying to make a decision about something and I kept hitting a brick wall {crashing}. I was trying to figure everything out in my own strength. I went to God and prayed about my struggle. He showed me that my struggle had nothing to do with what I thought it was about and my true struggle was with my heart. My heart wasn’t in the right place. Once I repented and submitted my plans to the Lord, He quickly revealed to me what His desires were for me. And much to my delight, they lined up with my desires. {Sidenote: I am positive every situation will not end this way, but this one did.}

In this process of stopping to PRAY, I learned four valuable actions that help me release control of my life to the Lord:

1) Pause – this forces me to stop right now, in the present, and take notice of who or Who’s driving.

2) Release – giving my plans and desires, my past, to my Father.

3) Acknowledge – knowing Who is really in control and telling Him that I am not in control of my life by repenting.

4) Yield – trusting that whatever He has for me is the very best. This is where I surrender the future and all that it holds to my Lord.

This 4 step intentional process of PRAYing was transformational for me. It has forever changed my view of one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses. When I play God, I am in control. I am driving. When I Pause, Release, Acknowledge, and Yield, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me! (Galatians 2:20)

From this day forward, I plan to focus on PRAYing and walking in Christ sufficiency instead of my own strength. For when I am weak, He is strong:

 “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” II Corinthians 12:9

I am sure there will be lots of waves, but I plan to walk on water!