The Joyful Reward of Obscurity

And as we become spiritually mature we-3

“That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. – John 3:29-30 (MSG)

Obscurity: The state of being pushed in the shadows, sidelined, no longer known or unknown.

Clearly, this is not a celebrated quality in our notoriety-driven society. From very young ages we are taught the value of wealth and fame. Either directly or indirectly, we acquire values through music, entertainment, literature, family, or our peers. As young girls, we dream of being the Betty Grable of our generation, longed for, adored, and (quite literally) insured. We are told from early ages, “You can be anything you want to be”. And what we want to be is loved, desired, and even idolized.

Yet, all the while, Christ whispers to us “Come”.

He lovingly offers us his hand. If we answer, we are faced with the reality that we can not both be a god to others (or ourselves), and allow the Father to be our God. The onset of accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior also marks the beginning of a great inner-struggle, during which we learn to give up the reigns of our existence, and trust the great Designer’s purpose for our lives.

This period of spiritual maturation can make puberty look enticing.

Although we have made a personal decision to accept Christ as our Savior, years have strengthened our resolve to be master of our own lives, and sometimes, the master of others. We desire to submit ourselves to Christ, but many of us wrestle with God again, and again, in the process of surrender. If this is your story, you are not alone.

Like many of you, before I decided to turn over my life and heart to God, surrender never turned out well for me. My experience with surrendering my will was limited to other humans. And humans are at best, infinitely flawed. At worst, human relationships result in abandonment, abuse, neglect and rejection. So, based on my vast experience with human failure (most of it my own) and my limited experience with faithful, unfailing, unfaltering love, I, like many of you, found it difficult to trust God.  If we do not trust the Promise-maker, we will not trust His promises.

I reasoned that if I was responsible for my own life, then at least I would have control of the narrative. At least I could know where I was headed. But that was a lie, too. Because, in order to control the narrative, I had to be in control of everything, and everyone, around me. And I barely had control of myself.

Before we know God, trusting Him can leave us feeling weary and apprehensive, as if a person who refuses to speak is blindly leading us, to an unknown place. It can be overwhelmingly frightening. So we struggle. Our fear leads us to move without God. Our need sends us back. If we are wise, we only do this a few times, and then we fall on our face and offer up everything we are to Him. For we have learned that we can trust Him, and that He loves us. Further, the experience of our struggles and suffering has taught us that there is inexplicable freedom and peace when we willingly turn to Him, fully trusting, and allowing Him to lead us through the darkness and into the light.

Unfortunately, for the especially stubborn like me, this process can take quite a few setbacks.

So eventually, because He loves us, He allows us to experience the consequences of our pride, and of sin. And within the natural rhythm of the wrestling and pulling, and then running back to Daddy again, we learn that He is faithful, and trustworthy, forgiving and perfect love. And as we become spiritually mature we arrive at this truth: There is no life without Christ.

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 And as we become spiritually mature we arrive at this truth: There is no life without Christ.

Do you mind if I give you a private glimpse of my heart?

Everything I have and everything I am is because of His mercy and grace.

I want His Spirit to fill me and flow through my life so that I might be full of Him, and so that His power might be evident in and through my life. I desire to be used to accomplish His will every day and in every way. I have learned everything that is good and wise and true comes from Him, which means there must be more of Him, and less of me. I can relate to John who said “That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.” John expressed joy at the thought that Jesus was being sought more, while He was being sought less. He had accomplished His purpose, and he rejoiced at the reward of obscurity for a life well served.

The more that I grow in and through Christ, the more I want my desires, will, and mind to align with His. The closer that I move toward Him, the more clearly I can see my own rebelliousness, foolishness and weakness. Therefore, I pray that my eyes would see as His, and my tongue would speak as His. May my feet go as His, and my hands heal as His. May my ears hear as his, and my heart love as his! I pray that He would be known through my life, and that my natural, selfish, sinful self would ever be forgotten. If only the stubborn-hearted me, prone toward selfish ambition and sinful habits would  be sidelined. I delight in imagining the strong-willed and prideful me to be unknown, so that I would be fully able to point to Christ, unhindered by selfish ambition. For, my natural woman struggles with acceptance and validation; she is paradoxically prideful and self-centered, yet stricken with low-self value and the penchant to people please. But my spirit woman is humbly amazed that He would desire to use a broken vessel such as myself.  And as I learn to submit my life to Him, I too, have begun to rejoice at the prospect of the reward of obscurity in and through Him, for a life well-served.

For further study: 2 Corinthians 3:16-18; Romans 12:1-3; James 1

To continue to prayer on this subject go to today’s Daily Hope & a Prayer.

Comments

  1. I definitely feel like I can relate to this, my husband and I were led down a path of spiritual maturation during my pregnancy… I was let go from my job BECAUSE I was pregnant. It left us struggling emotionally, financially, spiritually, it led to fights between us and added more stress than we needed to the pregnancy itself. All the while we were waiting to see what direction God was leading us. Just when it felt like all hope was lost, and we felt abandoned, good things began to happen that gave us hope. We knew nothing good that was happening was without His hand in it. We still have a long ways to go before we’re totally on solid ground financially but things are getting better and looking up and we are reminded that He has been with us this entire time and will continue to be so. Thank you for the uplifting post.
    Emily recently posted…The Happiness Project: The Innovative Mama is in Nesting ModeMy Profile

    • It’s amazing how God grants us peace with the pain of the process by assuring us that we are being moved according to His plan. In the last 12 months it’s seemed like almost anything that could have gone wrong in our lives tried to, or did. But when I look back on where I was a year ago, and where I am now, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially, I have come to realize that I would not be here, if God had not taken me from where I was and through what He did. Like you, we still have a long way to go, but knowing that God loves me enough to meticulously prepare the way before me makes me love Him all the more. The more I learn that I can trust His purpose, the more I’m certain that my life, and those of my children, are in the best hands when their in His. Thanks for stopping by and may God bless you, your family, and that beautiful baby!
      Letetia recently posted…Motivate & Rejuvenate Monday Link-Up #2My Profile

  2. Hello! Coming from the Women w/ Intention Link up 🙂 Beautiful exploration of the word! This is definitely a message I was meant to hear this morning. Thank you for the reminder to embrace obscurity in favor of God’s glory.

    • Good morning!

      Thank you for stopping by and visiting me! John’s declaration that “He must become more, and I must become less” if one of my favorite scriptures in the Word. The more that I get to know Christ the more that I realize how much I need him to bed more, so that he can be and do more through me. God bless!
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – Day 11My Profile

  3. Wow, Letetia, such a truth filled and powerful post. Amen, I want Jesus to be seen through me so that others may be drawn to HIM, not me. John is such a perfect example of this. I loved the way your heart shined through in your writing. Thank you for sharing. -Abby (visiting from Dance With Jesus)
    Abby McDonald recently posted…From Shame to Rebirth {Renewal Through Christ Series}My Profile

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed this post. This is my regular prayer, and a continual desire. Especially when I make choices that I wish I go do again! LOL! Thanks for visiting and God bless!
      Letetia recently posted…Daily Hope & a Prayer – Day 13My Profile

  4. We share this, sister:

    “My natural woman struggles with acceptance and validation; she is paradoxically prideful and self-centered, yet stricken with low-self value and the penchant to people please.” and I too am amazed that He uses me and I am equally amazed that through Him I cling to the hope of obscurity in Him.

    Blessings!
    Lisa Smith recently posted…True Love is the Perfect Shade of GraceMy Profile

  5. Wow, what a truth packed post! Yes, I struggle with trusting that Unfailing Love because I too have experienced the flawed kind. Isn’t God a great Shepherd and Keeper of our souls? He allows us the space to learn this walk of faith. So, so good. Thanks for linking with Grace and Truth
    Arabah recently posted…The Cost of a Clear Conscience {With Link Up}My Profile

  6. ‘There is no life without Christ” So true. Why look for another source. Thank you for this encouraging reminder. #livefree

  7. I’m so glad I visited you today. You are a powerful and gifted woman. You know the true value of God’s will. It is the health of the universe, foundation of the earth and the pleasure of heaven. Now who wouldn’t want that? Blessings, my dear friend, blessings. ~ Chris

    • And of course, the reconciliation of man to right relationship with Him! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by and for your encouraging words! God bless you!

      Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Burrowing in BusynessMy Profile

  8. I can so relate to this. I too struggle with controlling everything around me. And really have a hard time letting it all go and know that it’s in His hands. There is no life without Him. So true!
    Such beautiful words you share and you are so spot on Letetia!
    Tiffany recently posted…5 Favorite Essential Oil combinations to diffuseMy Profile

    • I have learned that letting go of my will and surrendering to His not a single choice, but instead is the much larger commitment of a lifetime process. Somedays are better than others! LOL! Thank you for visiting.

      God bless,

      Letetia
      Letetia recently posted…Burrowing in BusynessMy Profile

  9. You filled me with “hallelujah!” again. Thank you.
    Joanne Norton recently posted…REAL LIFE IS IN HEAVEN!!My Profile

  10. This is a truth filled post! Thank you for linking up at Women With Intention Wednesdays! I look forward to what you will share this week (I’m behind on my comments, I’ve been trying to help kiddos feel better!) I appreciate your participation!
    Jenny recently posted…Today I Choose Life And HappinessMy Profile