This is not a test!

These last few weeks have been topsy-turvy. The highs and lows of life as a woman, mother, student, daughter, and Jesus follower. How does one really deal with the emotionality of it all? Sometimes it is just by listening to Skillet at top volume (and dancing), and other days it is gritting my teeth and hoping that I can control the thoughts that continuously race through my mind.

The last few blogs and rants of Facebook have just been part of the processing. What does it mean to be a woman? Why do we focus so much on the words, “beautiful, cute, sexy, or thin”? They don’t matter at all. More importantly, what does it mean to be a completely surrendered child of God? What does surrender even mean? Does surrendering mean that we have to give up our pursuit of what looks earthly? Does it mean that we need a total paradigm shift?

It actually does.

Focusing on Jesus means that we don’t focus on anything else.

Is that even possible? Suppose it hurts? Suppose we end up losing all of our friends? What if He tells us to give up pursuing a career that we think is where we belong? What if He asks us to not pursue marriage and children? What if He sends us to where no one knows our name? Or where we don’t matter at all?

I am sitting in a plane (listening to loud music and bopping) and looking down on what looks like endless golf courses. Probably fields, but who knows at 36,000 feet? But one thing is for sure, it is all small. I can only imagine what Jesus thinks when we spend all our time running in circles “searching for significance”. Really so NOT significant. It’s hard to give up isn’t it? I am kicking and screaming because I want to matter somewhere, somehow. I want to have friends who think I’m something special. I don’t want to offend anyone. I want to be thought of as pretty, covering all the horrible “whatevers” with makeup hoping no one gets too close. I want to be smart, because it’s intellect that is significant in this pathetic world. I want to make a difference because I was raised in ‘poverty’ and it would make me feel like I matter when I can help those ‘less fortunate’.

Enough confessing…

Toby Mac is telling me, “This is not a test, this is the real thing”! Yes, this life isn’t a test. We don’t have do-overs. We don’t have a second chance to serve Jesus to the fullest. We won’t be remembered as someone who was pretty. We won’t be remembered as someone who made money. We won’t be remembered as someone who saw the world and spent life sitting on all the beaches of the world (I wish).

Most of us won’t be remembered at all.

Even Jesus says that He won’t even know some of us. “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience— doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.” (Matthew 7:21-23 MSG) Even if we speak in tongues and cast demons out in His name? Isn’t that total surrender? No. These are gifts that we receive, and many use them. Many even worship the gifts, going from one Christian event and conference to another, chasing these ‘manifestations of God’. We give more attention to those that have received a ‘word’ in ‘public’. How are they more loved by Jesus than someone else? They’re not. We’re not. It is dangerous to focus on the words we hear, even when we hear them straight from the Holy Spirit. I know that I get stuck on those words of prophesy, thinking that I have to somehow live up to those words and prophecies. That somehow it’s up to me to live up to something I don’t even understand. How do I really understand His ways? Or plans?

So, how do I surrender? What does it look like? I think that we are going to start seeing what it looks like soon. Our world is getting to the point where we can’t survive as a true Jesus follower without some sort of sacrifice. Yes, one can be ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’, and many will be. But what makes that different from what is true? Even the word ‘truth’ is being debated. How does one get to the point where one is willing to die for someone? It is a total falling in love! When one gets immersed in the love of Jesus, the agape love that is all consuming, there is no choice but total surrender. Nothing else matters. That love makes one willing to sacrifice all, even what seems significant to us right now.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (John 3:16-18 MSG)

He died for me.

Am I willing to die for Him?