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Posts tagged ‘devil’

By SamHastings on Flickr

Yesterday, I shared in part 1 how my life has been a series of spiritual ups and downs, characterized by trying to build walls to make others think I was good, while inside I was a mess.

Well, a few weeks ago I just sort of hit bottom. I had been trying to escape reality with compulsive kinds of actions, like reading for hours on end, playing computer games, etc., while my family deteriorated around me. I didn’t know what to do, and I hated myself for the way I was and the way I had allowed things to become. The bad habits of my youth were now maturing into very nasty character flaws that I could see being mirrored in my children, and I began to realize that I had to make a choice.

But I was loath to do it. Make the choice, I mean. Because I basically had two alternatives. Either surrender to God and let Him change me, or reject God and give up on everything I believed. I just couldn’t stand staying the way I was. The problem was, the latter option was just too horrendous to contemplate. And besides, being a Christian was so ingrained into my identity that I would find myself turning to God automatically when in difficult situations–like when I turned into my driveway too early and almost went over edge of the road into a tree!

But surrender scared me.

Why did it scare me? It wasn’t because I was afraid of surrender itself. I had experienced full surrender in the past–at least, as full as I knew at the time. I remember almost having an accident, and actually not getting an adrenalin rush because I had such peace with God. I longed to have that kind of relationship again. But I was afraid of failure. I had tried so many times, and just as many times I had failed. Turned my back on God. Let go of His hand and basically said, “I’m going to do it my way.”

Then I would read verses like Hebrews 6:4-6 and wonder if maybe I was a hopeless case.  But then I knew that any yearnings in my soul for God meant that I had definitely not committed the unpardonable sin, and that meant there definitely was hope for me. (I have stored up a lot of head knowledge over the years, and in times like this it was both a comfort and a torment.)

But I still feared failure. I didn’t want to turn my life over to God and then take it back once again. I wanted to break the cycle of up and down. After talking to my friend from church that I mentioned yesterday, I got in touch with one of my old friends from several years ago and began to pour out my heart to her. In an email, I wrote this:

I realize that to surrender to the extent that I did as a youth isn’t enough anymore. In proportion to the light that I have I must yield, and I have more light now than I did then. So my surrender now must be deeper than it has ever been.

As you can see, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to surrender. But I was afraid. What if I failed again? I didn’t think I could bear it. All my head knowledge told me that God would accept me just as I was, that He would forgive me and take me back with rejoicing. All the promises of His keeping power that I had memorized kept surfacing into my consciousness; evidence of His love was everywhere I looked if I just chose to see it. I began to sense things coming to a climax. I realized that it was only a matter of time before I did make a surrender. But still I hesitated.

Looking back honestly, I think that it was deeper than just my fear of failure, even though that was a very big issue. I was also unwilling to surrender certain things. It’s a lie of the devil, the idea that if you surrender to God, He will take away the things that make you happy. I know by experience that He only takes away the things that make us miserable. But I didn’t want to let go of some of those things. And some things I wondered if He would make me give them up, when in reality He wasn’t so much interested in my things as just in having me. And as I began to take that reality to heart, I began to soften.

I realize that I may not be communicating my thoughts very well. There were so many levels to my situation that I don’t know how to explain it with words. Maybe if you try to feel with your heart what I am trying to  convey, you will understand. I’m sure if you’ve ever been where I am, you can understand. I hope by the time I finish this series, those of my readers who are in the same situation I was will have some answers. That’s my goal, my reason for opening my heart to you. Not that I have all the answers yet. But I have a few. And maybe one or two of them will help.

Tomorrow I will share some of the steps that helped get me out of this dark hole I was in. So stay tuned.