This time last year, I wrote a post about the incredible transformation we were seeing in our oldest son as a result of scripture memorization.
He was fearful.
About a lot of things.
And we were working with him to overcome this tendency to assume something scary lurked behind every nook and cranny. As a result, when we assigned each of the kids a memory verse, we gave him 2 Timothy 1:7:
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.
I love this verse. And we were seeing some fruit from the discipline of memorizing it.
But only after an experience at Family Camp, did we begin to see radical transformation. Because a very young, but wise counselor, encouraged us to stop impressing on the negative side of fear in this verse, and instead, focus on elevating the quality of self-control. (It’s OK to be afraid, but we must have self-control.)
That changed everything. And you can read about our son’s unbelievable conquest over fear here.
So when we returned to Family Camp this summer, I was confident he would own the rifle range. That he would jump into an inner tube and float down the river without any hesitation. And that he would not only want to get in a kayak, but he would want to row the boat. (By himself.)
Despite the fact that he’d found the courage to participate in all these activities the year before, when the day came for us to do them again, he was afraid.
All over again.
Hadn’t we dealt with this?
It caught me off guard.
And it felt a little bit like groundhog day.
But we assessed the situation. Took a deep breath. Used the same approach to encourage him to conquer his fear a second time.
And he did!
He even took the zip line across the canyon, something we’d not been successful convincing him to do last year!
So two steps back before three steps forward, we survived. And we made a wee bit of progress because a zip line excursion across the canyon is kind of a big deal!
I’m better for the experience. And I think he is too.
I spend a lot of time giving things over to the Lord. My worries, fears, anger, struggle – anything that causes me to stumble — because I know the Lord can set me free.
And when I offer those things up, it changes me.
I feel lighter. And I live better.
But just because I give something over to the Lord one time, doesn’t mean I won’t take it back.
In fact, rarely, am I able to be “one and done” with my surrender of these things to the Lord. Almost always, I have to fall on my knees and “Take Two.” And Three. And Four…
You get the picture.
If you do, know there is hope beyond the things that cause us to stumble.
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorites verses in all of scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
What promises to cling to when we find ourselves living in the world of groundhog day, unable to change those things that cause us to stumble over and over again!
It reminds me that God has something for us beyond the hard places. Beyond the hurts. Beyond the struggles. And even beyond those innate temperament qualities that we don’t like but we can’t seem to change.
For me, my judgmental spirit, my impatience, my anger (and a lot of other things).
For my son, his fear.
But just because we surrender those things to the Lord one time, doesn’t mean we won’t ever deal with them again.
To the contrary.
They may be a recurring theme.
And just like Paul, we may spend a lifetime wrestling with a particular “thorn” in our flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But it’s in these places of struggle that we have the opportunity to discover that God’s grace is sufficient. That God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. And that when we are weak, we are truly strong.
Is there something you find yourself having to give to God over and over again? Are you willing to embrace God’s promise that his grace is sufficient? Or are you turning a blind eye to this truth and trying to go it alone?
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)
P.S. If you want to keep up with Confessions Of A Pastor’s Family on social media, please take a minute to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.