On the one year anniversary of my blog, I want to share something God taught me in October that I still think about almost every day…
A couple months ago on my birthday weekend, I visited a church I dearly love and used to go to all the time in college called Upper Room (you may have heard of it ;))! That Sunday night, part of what Pastor Michael Miller talked about was not being afraid to fully surrender, the seeds, or the dreams, that God has placed inside of you.
Let’s just say it cut me deep.
God wants to give us the dreams He’s placed inside of us. However, as much as it may seem like it, you don’t actually want your dream – you want God in the midst of it. He knows our dreams only work when we die to ourselves and live for Him, so, if our desires are consuming us more than He is, we’ve got to rearrange our priorities! He wants those things for us, but He will not let them have us.
Pastor Michael Miller’s message spoke to me so deeply, but not in an emotional way. I didn’t “feel” anything, but when he asked us to come up to the front if we were willing to let the seeds of our dreams die, I felt convicted and wanted to take a step. I went up to the front and knelt before the Lord, but as profound as I wanted this moment to be, it didn’t feel like anything was happening. I prayed, “God, You know I am genuinely wanting to surrender my dreams to You and I don’t want to go home the same, but I don’t even feel You. Am I holding myself back in any way?”
That night passed, and I still didn’t hear anything from God about this, but I had faith that He would speak. It just so happened that two nights later was our young adult group at my church called The Gathering. During worship, I knelt on the ground and prayed this simple prayer of surrender again, but I still didn’t hear anything from Him. At this point, I felt kind of dejected and I decided to leave early to spend some time with God alone. It was then, right as I was walking out the door, that my friend Vianca walked in and stopped me. She said that God had given her a word for me during worship, and that she would text me about it later that night! I was anxious to hear what she heard from God, and I wanted to make sure it was straight from Him so I prayed, “God, if this is truly a word from You, let me cry…no, let me bawl my eyes out.” I now realize that this sounds like a super weird prayer, but I was desperate to hear from God about this and like my Pastor, Dustin Bates, always says, “Desperation knows no decency.”
Well, Vianca texted me what God told her, and the second I read it…I wept. Like, open the flood gates, get out the ark, heave sob, crocodile tears. I realized that God heard my prayer! What was the word you ask? She saw a vision of me during worship, and then she saw soil – the Lord was causing an earthquake to break through the ground and PLANT!
My friend did not know a thing about my prayer, and yet, at probably the very moment I was kneeling on the floor crying out to God, He was giving her a vision of His answer to me. At first, I cried because I realized how much God loves me, and I was so happy that even though I didn’t feel anything when I was praying, He heard my prayers and received my offering! However…then I cried because I realized that God actually heard my prayers and received my offering. I started to feel like I was stuck in the middle of a “yes God, kill my dreams” but “can You please also make them happen really fast?” emotional roller-coaster.
I had to realize that when we surrender the seeds of our dreams to the Lord we are surrendering them to His timetable to grow. It’s not like we surrender them for a season and then God says “I now see that you have given this to me and I will therefore make everything happen the way that you desire, immediately.” He might in fact do that, but true surrender means that, even if He doesn’t, we will still surrender it all to Him. It looks like praying, “God, whatever it looks like and however long it takes, I will always, only do whatever You ask me to.”
Surrendering the seeds is surrendering your dreams to God for them to be done in His will and His way. It’s giving Him complete control because we never had it anyway.
It is a DAILY BATTLE to stay in the place of full surrender, but I am so thankful that even when we don’t realize we aren’t fully surrendered in an area, Jesus realizes and yet He patiently waits for us because He loves us. We are already justified by His blood, but sanctification happens in surrender. It’s a process!
Remember when I said my birthday was that weekend? Well, as I was still weeping and processing (for four hours, I kid you not), my eyes just happened to keep being drawn to a balloon my mom had bought me that was floating back and forth and shining “Happy Birthday” at me. At that very moment, the Lord spoke to me,
“Happy. Birth. Day. The day you die is the day you’re born.”
Cue weeping even more. When you feel like your dreams are dying and there is no guarantee that they will happen any time soon, you can know that God is the God of the Resurrection. The day you finally let those things die is the day you’re born! God is faithful to complete what He began. Laying your dreams and plans to down to die may sound counter-intuitive, but it is actually the only way to let them grow and come to life.
Surrender the seeds and watch them grow.
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.” – John 12:24
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” – Colossians 3:7, 10-11
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Galatians 6:9
“So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater.” – 1 Corinthians 6:7 (AMP)