I think I've held back all of my life because I'm afraid of what He'll tell me to do if I let go of all control. What if He asks me to do something really scary like going to a war-torn country to help fugitives escape? Or what if he asks me to approach a complete stranger to tell them about Jesus? (I don't know about you, but I might actually choose the war-torn country over trying to evangelize a complete stranger.)
What if God wants me to give up something I really love? What if he wants me to give up coffee as a sacrifice, to fast for someone's salvation?
This is me without coffee. Seriously.
The thing is, we've all heard stories where God asks people to give up beloved habits or possessions - or even people - or where He has asked them to do difficult things.
At the retreat I attended this past weekend, one woman shared that, when she was a newlywed, she and her husband were asked to open their home to have some young single people live with them...during their first year of marriage. She said it was one of the hardest years of her life. When God asked her to consider a second year, her automatic reaction was NO!!! But her husband asked her to reconsider (i.e. pray about it some more), she was able to say yes to the Lord and she felt much more peaceful about entering a second year of the situation that had been so stressful the first time around.
This past year, a dear friend's father had an unfortunate accident and fell into a coma. His wife, while praying for God's hand to be upon her husband, ultimately said to the Lord, "your will be done." Her husband died a few days after the accident. Of course, she went through the normal grief of losing someone so suddenly. But she had peace to accept God's will, and grace to see her through a very difficult time.
Neither of those situations is fun or easy, but God will always, always, always meet us with grace when we say yes and accept His will.
God really drove this point home for me this weekend:
The hardest thing that God will ever ask you to do is to say, "yes."
As soon as you say yes, His grace flows in and gives you what you need to handle what he places before you. Saying yes doesn't mean it won't hurt, or it won't be difficult, but saying yes opens your heart to allow all of the grace God has for you to get through the circumstance to which he has called you. Life is so much harder when you're struggling against God's will, against what He has put before you in your life.
Sometimes, when God asks us to do something for Him, we can say no. He gave us the free will to do that. But sometimes, God simply allows something to happen to us without asking us first - I mean, He is God, after all - and then asks us to say yes anyway, to peacefully accept what has come to us and not try to run away from it and not try to fight against it.
Another friend of mine has a mantra that I love to remember. When going through a hard time, she says, "Lean into it." Instead of pulling the other way, as in a tug of war, lean into the direction God is leading you, and trust that He will be enough to pull you through.