30 October 2011

Of What I Am

It would seem it's a Sunday theme for me: What I Learned in Worship Today.  It's truly remarkable that of all the teaching I take in most Sundays (which is nearly always excellent), I receive the greatest amount of revelation through song.  This is most likely because this is the only time in the week when I truly allow my brain to switch off from plan/worry/to-do mode and just allow God to truly have my mind.

This morning the song was The Stand:

"So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One Who gave it all.

So I'll stand
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered
All I am is yours."

I felt during the song it may be better to offer all I have because, truly, doesn't that include everything within me and without, but then when I really focused on the words, "All I am is yours," the question arose: "Who are you?"

Because when I offer to God all I have, I think first of all my earthly possessions, which mean little to me in true perspective.  Yet, if they are worthless to me, why would I believe them of any value to God?  He doesn't need my resources.  He needs me.  I think, then, of my abilities - my time, my talents.  He can have those, too.  But that's still not everything.

Who am I?

I am a wife.  A mother.  A teacher (whether in a classroom or in my home).  A writer (even if I can't professionally claim the title).  This is who I am.  Have I offered these to God?

Am I mothering for Him or for the sake of quiet and sanity in my home?  Am I acting as a wife for God or for my own comfort and security?  Do I take seriously my role as teacher to my children?  Do I write for His glory or my own?

These are what He wants.  He wants returned not just what He has given me, but all He has created me to be.  He wants me to be His.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

It's interesting He would give me the fullness of this lesson today, because I believe He gave me the homework earlier this week.

I had seen in Reader's Digest (my husband hears this phrase about twenty times a week) information about a contest they were hosting: write a lesson, simple advice or funny story in 150 words or less and you could win $25,000.  Well, I thought, I can do that!  No problem!  Funny stuff happens to us all the time - and I love to write about it.

So I sat down to write.  And I had nothing.  Not one inspiration.  I made a few lame attempts but I knew they were nothing that would grab anyone's attention.  The deadline was coming fast as I had heard of the contest late, so I hated to put it on the back-burner, but I needed to relax my mind in order for this writer's block to ease.  I reasoned it was like looking for something you've lost - it always seems to come to you just when you've given up.

The next morning I woke up praying about it.  And what I realized was this: I wanted to enter that contest for my glory.  I wanted to be recognized and I wanted a prize - a way to provide for the financial needs of our family.  I felt as though God had directed me to this contest, but I wanted to leave Him out of my entry because "God-stuff" doesn't tend to be gold medal material in these kinds of matters - not in a secular magazine anyway.  His writing has certain venues and this wasn't it.


This was clearly not why God gave me any ability with words - not so I could pick and choose when He was allowed to be in it.  And I realized, this contest was, like anything I write should be, not for me.  It was for Him.  It was for His glory.  Whether it was read by five people or the world, it didn't matter.  What mattered is that I honor Him with my words - no matter the audience.  The only "prize" is making His glory known.

So, this is what I came up with.  Now, you're welcome to go vote for it if you so choose, but I'm not worried about it.  

This was my assignment, and today I received the lesson: All I am is His.

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