During the Polar Vortex days of January Chris worked hard, traveled lots, and looked for a new job. The kids read under blankets when school was cancelled. I drank hot tea, ate too many tater tots, and researched danger.
Researching is my favorite phase. Anything is possible, information is everywhere, and it’s too soon to act. God’s crazy message of “2015: THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY!!” might be about stepping into courage and away from fear, but I didn’t know how to do that.
Then I read this one snowy morning:
“What is the most needed, yet the most dangerous prayer you could ever pray? It is the one prayer that takes you beyond the small-picture hopes and dreams that kidnap so much of your prayers. It is all right to pray about your job, marriage, family, finances, house, children, retirement, vacation, investments, church, health, government and the weather, but it is not enough. This kind of prayer follows the “right now-me” model of prayer…Yes, God cares about your present life….But he calls you to view yourself and your life from a perspective that goes far beyond this moment and extends far beyond your ability to diagnose what your truly need.”
I had started the daily readings in Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies and these were the words waiting for me on January 28th, my dear husband’s birthday:
“It requires you to take the long view — to let go of your hold on your life and surrender….It is captured in a few dangerous words. Why “dangerous“? Because they have the power to turn your life upside down, to make you very different than you have been.”
This is the first time I saw Danger linked to Surrender. I was eager to get to the how-to part:
“Here is what we have been called to pray: ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, right here, right now in my life as it is in heaven’ (see Matthew 6:10). It is only in the context of the surrender of these words that Jesus welcomes you to pray about your right-here, right-now needs.”
Cue the sad trombones, because this was a let-down. Those “kingdom come will be done” words are from the Lord’s Prayer. I’d been praying that for years. When I don’t know what to pray I beg God’s will be done because he knows better than me what class my kids should be in, how to stop ISIS, or if my husband is ever going to get another job. But Tripp continued:
“So pray that prayer because its dangerous grace is really what you (and I) need. Don’t hesitate. Do it now.”
He recommended Luke 22:39-48 for more insights. That’s the story of Jesus praying on the Mount of Olives, after the Last Supper and before his execution. He prayed:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.“
Again, that’s not new news. I reviewed all the extensive definitions and synonyms for Danger. The promise of harm, injury, peril were top of mind. I wrote out my questions for God:
- What are you asking me to risk?
- What are you asking me to surrender?
- What will be “harmed/injured” [according to the thesaurus] in me? My pride? My comfort? My plans?
- If I do choose to live in a surrendered way, what will be “harmed”? My status quo? Habits? Sins? Long-held beliefs? Reputation?
- Is “The Year of Living Dangerously” a warning or a command?
- Will it be Dangerous because I’ll make more bad choices and need rescue?
- Will it be Dangerous because I’ll be facing my demons? fighting for my family? fighting for justice?
- How do you want me to Live Dangerously today?
Then my mind went blank. I had been thinking and scribbling for hours. I was done. I made a cup of miso and took a shower. I’m a smart consultant who knows how to assess problems and implement visions. I had been trying to figure out Danger, but now with this new info I could focus on Surrender. I was going to look at Surrender objectively, choose the best way to do it and make a plan.
But I don’t think we can ever be objective about our own hearts. We might think we can be FEMA or SWAT, but even at our most objective we are the distraught neighbor trying to pull a child out of rubble. In the coming weeks God was going to ask me to look at my own heart and surrender everything I saw there. It was going to be very hard, and I was going to need the “dangerous grace” I just read about.
I will be unfolding this story and the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October.
Yesterday’s story of Surrender: Context
To read more about our shared spiritual journey and questions, you can read here: Soul
You are loved.
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015.