“In some things you were led into sin without knowing it, because you had not learned how wholly Jesus wanted to rule you, and how you could not keep right for a moment unless you had Him very near you. In other things you knew what sin was, but had not the power to conquer, because you did not know or believe how entirely Jesus would take charge of you to keep and to help you. Either way, it was not long before the bright joy of your first love was lost, and your path, instead of being like the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day, became like Israel’s wandering in the desert — ever on the way, never very far, and yet always coming short of the promised rest.” –excerpt from Andrew Murray’s Abide in Christ
Yesterday in an attempt to clear my mind and generate some sort of creativity for these posts, I came across Andrew Murray’s book Abide in Christ. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Murray but one of my all time favorite books was his With Christ in the School of Prayer. I read it while on a missions trip in France with Campus Crusade, the summer I say I found myself. And so, happening upon this book seemed more than mere coincidence to me. So I’ve decided that it will provide me with topics for each day as these 31 days unfold.
And so it was in my life as Murray stated, and the apostle Paul, my flesh at war with my heart, unwilling to yield everything. Toeing the line between selfishness and selflessness, fearing that it would break me. And yet breaking me is just what it took for me to let go…of everything.
It was the beginning of classes my freshman year of college and already there was a boy who stole my heart in one glance. He literally had me at hello in that Psychology discussion group. As time would tell, even that first day he seemed to me the one my heart would love forever. It was almost three years until that fateful day when in tears it seemed the future I so wanted fell apart. With my own hands. They say a woman can tear down her house with her words and so literally I destroyed my own. Bricks to dust. My tongue did not yield and he turned in a different direction.
It left me waffling in a place I hadn’t previously known. A desperation. A sadness that somehow has never been replicated. A swallowing of self. Awaking to find I didn’t know how to go on without him. A loss of a limb in some ways. Most everything we were was intertwined, friends, life, my own imagined future. And I was so lost without him. I had the One who never goes away but I was also left with the bitter sorrow of lost love.
And as the days passed, him charting his own glowing future, I went the only place I knew, to the cross. And I struggled with new sight to see the good. To see this future that was not at all as I planned. It seemed, as the days lingered by, that God was not quite finished washing those white washed walls. And into the desert I walked, wandering about, battling my own sin and trying with all my might to right myself, put on a happy face.
Working and waiting filled the days as I tried to put the pieces back together. Frustrated and notably unfulfilled. And the Lord kept working on tearing apart every preconceived notion I had for my life. Every block I began to place upon the next He shattered moving my wall and forming His own. Slowly I learned how much easier it is to follow the road formed before you instead of starting and stopping and repaving all over again. But it took time.
And I began a mountainous trek through the valleys and up through the mountains. Rarely on steady ground, my feet rarely finding rest, I walked, fighting through the brush and undergrowth of the sin that had been trying to hold me back.
A trip overseas, binging, purging, dating all the wrong guys, ruined friendships, new friendships, death in the family, moving, and learning to love who He made me to be.
The journey that brought me to the end of myself. In just three short years.
And at the invitation of a friend I accepted to spend New Year’s surrounded by students. Knowing it was more than her invitation, it was the Spirit within bringing me home. And then I heard the words a man spoke into the microphone, not wanting to be where I was, trying only to appease and yet knowing I was right where I should be. He asked those before him to give a year to serve the One I knew with all my heart but also the One I just wasn’t sure I could trust. And before I knew what was happening I fell. On knees broken.
I couldn’t even give that day, let alone a year or a lifetime. I hadn’t even served Him that day. Out of fear. Out of bitterness. Out of utter sin and selfishness. For fear that He’d take me through harder valleys. Through more pain and more sadness. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t sure I would make it much further.
I must give the day. Yield to the One who knows all.
For I already knew Him, but this was a different. This was a “you-can-do-whatever-you will” with my life, I trust you, kind of give.
I gave everything.
I knew at that moment that wherever He would take me, be it through hard things or seemingly easy, with Him was better than apart. Over the years of reconstructing my life, He showed me that His building is not in vain. No imperfections in the walls.
Confession and consecration and restitution and forgiveness happened that day.
Weary traveler from the treacherous journey, He brought me through, stronger, wiser, and refreshed.
And I found rest, perfect rest.
entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest – andrew murray
“Come unto me, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:28-29