We have got to learn to let God take things away from us.
I will be the first to admit that I am the worst with this. I don’t like it when God tells me no. I don’t like it when I have all my ideas of how things should be and God comes in and switches everything up. I don’t like it when I get comfortable with someone or something and God says it’s not the right time for that. I decide that I want something and I cling to it for dear life even if/when it becomes clear that it’s not what God wants for me.
Because you never know, right? Anything could happen!
Not right!!! I can always sense when something or someone is pulling me away from God instead of leading me towards Him. It’s one of those things you feel in your heart whether you want to or not. I have a bad habit of pushing those feelings to the very back of my mind until I absolutely can’t ignore them anymore. I like to find out on my own that something isn’t worthwhile instead of just trusting God when I know that He is trying to lead me in another direction.
I like to try and justify this by telling myself that I’m not a quitter. My persistence can really work for me and against me. It’s a great quality to have. It’s how you get things done. But it can also be detrimental if you, like me, really don’t like letting things go. Particularly things that you have already put time, effort and emotion into and you don’t want to see all that go to waste.
I find myself all the time telling God that He can’t have whatever thing in my life is separating me from Him because I’m not done with it yet.
The moment I sense something drawing my focus away from God but I continue to pursue it anyway, I am so very consciously putting it before Him in my life. The moment I realize that someone is hindering my spiritual growth but I continue to seek after them, I am prioritizing that relationship over my relationship with Christ. These things are so easy to do without even realizing what dangerous territory you are slipping into!
It is NOT easy to struggle with God over something that you want to keep but He wants you to give up. It will never feel right. There is no way around the fact that you won’t get as much fulfillment out of whatever person or thing that you have chosen to keep in your life as you would get from someone or something that you have allowed God to place in your life. He will gently remind you time and time again that He has something better, and if you’re anything like me, your response will start with “but God…”
But God, I really really want this! But God, I have been working so hard for this! But God, this may not be the best thing but it’s not bad either! But God, this is happening now and I don’t want to have to wait for something else! My personal list of examples could go on and on and on.
I wonder how much time I could’ve avoided wasting if I would’ve learned a long time ago to just follow God the second He starts leading me away from something. It’s a LOT of time, I can tell you that. Not only time, but stress and heartache and feelings of emptiness and everything else that inevitably comes along with trying to take matters into your own hands.
“Still God, You are our father. We’re the clay and You are the potter. All of us are what you’ve made us.”
-Isaiah 64:8 (The Message)
Allowing myself to be the clay and God to be the potter requires letting Him remove people and things from my life as He sees fit, not as I see fit. It requires me to trust His judgment over my own. It requires me to listen when He says “I have something better to give you. You may have to wait patiently for it, but it’s worth far more than what you have gotten for yourself.” It requires me to acknowledge my weakness and have faith in His strength.
God KNOWS how much you wanted whatever or whoever it was. (Especially if you’re like me…I sometimes like to just make absolutely sure God knows what I want- or what I think I want- by telling Him 3,000 times a day.) He knows the struggle happening in your heart. He knows how much it took for you to hand it over to Him. And He will reward you for your faithfulness!!! The feeling of freedom you get when you give something up to God is unlike anything else.
“God is not a human that He should lie or change His mind. Has He spoken and not acted? Has He made a promise and not fulfilled it?”
-Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
God is on our side. He doesn’t take things away from us because He doesn’t want us to have what we want. He does this because He wants us to have the best of the best, and we need to learn to accept that we don’t know what that is, only He does.
He won’t force us to let go of something or someone that we are unwilling to give up. It is my choice and your choice to open our hands and hearts and let Him take what He needs to. But then something so great happens!! We get to wait expectantly for Him to replace it with something infinitely better.