Lord, I don’t know if I can do this again.
I’m weary and worn from the transitions in this military life. After all the moves, I’m too tired to pack and unpack, to say farewell to good friends, to leave the community that has become home. I don’t want to go through the roller coaster of emotions that come with orders to relocate. . .
Set my heart free from this resistance in my soul.
This is a glimpse of my conversation with God during our last move. There is a backstory that explains why moving sapped my energy.
Years ago I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease just before we moved from North Carolina to California. Hormonal fluctuations raged in my body as debilitating anxiety held me captive. Over the years, anxiety resurfaced with each move, making the mobility of military life a source of emotional exhaustion.
Do you ever struggle to live settled in a transitory life? Maybe you have also longed for stability and security in the mobility and operational tempo of military life. Deployments, job changes, and rotating neighbors–these are a few more of military transitions that call for stamina and flexibility.
God has used the transitions of military life to teach me the importance of surrender and acceptance.
This really isn’t a lesson I wanted to learn. Though I’ve seen God work in every duty station, experienced blessings in each place we’ve lived, the transitions of military life have often left my soul unsettled. I’ve had days where I was unwilling to venture to new territories and fresh seasons. Too often, I’ve gotten stuck grieving the losses rather than looking forward to new opportunities.
Accepting change is an offering of worship
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering (Romans 12:1, The Message).
Worship doesn’t always happen in a church. And it doesn’t always come in pretty packages of a life that is neat and tidy. Living a life that worships becomes a habit and a perspective that includes how we respond to the transitions we face.
Surrender, willingness, trust, and acceptance are offerings that set us free and make us brave. Choosing to worship God in the midst of change, these are disciplines of grace that make a practical difference.
There’s something in me that wants to snatch some aspect of my life off the altar of surrender. There are areas in life where I still want control, telling God what needs to happen for me to feel OK.
The temptation to seek security in my circumstance is one of the reasons why moving is hard for me. Maybe you face this struggle as well. Are you tempted to hold onto control with an iron grip that squeezes the energy out of your faith?
Too often, I wait in anxious unease, trying to settle my soul in the face of change. And too often I push and strain against acceptance, rather than choosing to trust God with a heart that rests in faith.
I long to be the girl who is brave when my world is in flux.
I want to be the one who worships, finding my security in God and spiritually settled in every circumstance. I struggle for breath in the tension between the peace I seek and the angst I feel.
This is the unease of one who has jumped off the altar, wrestling in spirit to rest and trust God in the midst of change.
Surrender is our hardest, most sacred prayer as, like Jesus, we submit our desires to God.
When I truly place my life before God as an offering, I learn to let go of the desire to get everything worked out to my preferences. I open the doors of resistance with a decision to worship despite the rip tide of my emotions.
Because here’s the truth: It is worship, not worry, that wins the war.
Romans 12 continues with these words,
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Embracing the changes God brings into my life is also the best thing I can do for me.
One of the dictionary definitions of embrace says “to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly.” Part of worship is coming to the place where my trust in God counters the current of my emotions, empowering me to be willing.
Surrender sets me free to accept the adjustments God brings into my life.
I don’t always hear God’s voice in my head, but over and over as anxiousness would rise up in my heart, I heard the Spirit speak to my thoughts, saying, “Submit to change.”
In many ways He was telling me to stay on the altar and allow Him to do something new.
Whether or not I embrace change is my choice.
Accepting God’s plan is the obedience of remaining on the altar.
Worship is the sacrifice of resistance and control, as I place myself in the position that frees God to do His greatest work in me, transforming me from the inside out… address change and all.
“O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship has ministered to my heart, reminding me to keep coming to Christ, settling my heart in His finished work.