"The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven't yet come to the end of themselves...interfering with God's work within us." Tozer
Although I like to think that I can resolve things by my own reason, too often I am left with doubt. I am not a great decision maker. When it comes to me, I should clarify. I can look on another's situation objectively, ask questions, assess and come up with a solution that is usually quite effective.
But for some reason, when it comes to my own life - from small things like what color to paint a room, what kind of coat to buy or larger decisions like whether or not I should accept new positions or whether or not we should move - well, those things can stop me in my tracks.
And that's a problem. Self-will can keep us from God's blessings. It's easier to place the blame elsewhere - inadequate leadership in the church, lack of organization, lack of activities, the environment, attitudes in the church. But when it comes down to it, it's my own stubbornness, my own pride, that will keep me from flourishing in ministry.
I can easily defeat myself, knock down my confidence and enthusiasm, before I've even taken one step toward the role I feel myself called to. The power of thought is incredible - I can effectively convince myself that I'm incapable of succeeding, that I am already too busy, too tired, too physically weak, too lacking in my marriage, as a parent, as a Christian to step out and challenge myself to do anything more.
Before I've actually taken action, in my mind I can go through the entire process, projecting what will occur. Inevitably doubt creeps into the storyline and soon I find my narrative ending when I find that I've reached my limitations and when I find that I see nothing but stress, irritation and resentment on the horizon.
So what's the missing element? Surrendering. Leaving it all in God's hands. Giving it up to God. Trusting that if God has placed this conviction in my heart, he will help me succeed. That means giving up control. That means now. Not when I'm at my string's end crying out for help - knowing I've gone too far on my own, knowing that I've taken my eyes off of Him and I'm suddenly and surely sinking.
When you know God's calling you for a work, how do you say no? When you're sure in your heart that nearly your whole life you've been prepared to take on a role that God is calling you to fill, has been in a small voice oh so subtly for years, and now it's becoming clearer, can you possible turn away? Do you let fear of failure, fear of responsibility, fear of frustration keep you from doing what you know you should?
But here's the biggest question, are you sure it's God calling you or is it your own personal ambition whispering in your ear? How can you know? And how is it that this could even be a question? Like Elijah, I expect and desire to hear the voice of God loud, clear and strong - like a great noise - and unmistakable. But that's not how it works, not for most people anyway.
And so I do what we all do, when we need to hear God's voice more clearly. I go to my prayer closet and very quietly listen for that unmistakeable whisper. I go to my Bible, looking to the scriptures to give me guidance.
Romans 6:13(TEV): Give yourselves to God....Surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes.
Philippians 4:13: I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me, that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency.