You did something hard today, sweetie. Really hard. Your heart was tightly wound around all those fleshy feelings that often keep us from doing the hard things God calls us to do. I felt that unsettled angst, too because I knew you were challenged to take a big step of faith. You knew the decision was coming and you felt such turmoil, frustration, and fear. I understand those feelings threaten your comfort zone and invade your safe place. I know what it’s like to sacrifice your selfish needs for the sake of another.
I know how difficult it can be to do what Christ calls us to do.
So, I encouraged you to pray, to fight those feelings of resistance that grew in the face of this decision. I reminded you Satan will magnify your feelings to persuade you to do otherwise because he knows this will open up space for God to be victorious once again. I told you to fight against his attacks and deny him the right to win by drawing on the strength of Christ within you to do what is right. I told you to think about the purpose God has for this choice He called you to make.
You nodded in understanding, but the battle was yours to take on. You weren’t ready for this. You didn’t feel confident or sure of anything about this big thing God called you to do, but I told you most times we never really are. That’s when we must depend on the One with whom all things are possible.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Mathew 19:26, NIV).
And then I watched as you stirred in anguish. I knew the Holy Spirit was convicting your heart in ways only He can. I ached for you because I know how painful dying to oneself can feel. I know that battle well. We wrestle with our human nature, sometimes clawing our way out of it to reach where Christ wants us to live. And sometimes the battle is too hard, and we give up and stay safe and secure in our own will, not His.
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18, NIV).
I prayed you wouldn’t give up the fight. I prayed for God to soften your heart to His great love for this person with whom you have a choice to serve. I prayed His Truth would stir in you and bring you to action despite the apprehension you felt inside.
You’re still so young in your faith, and yet, you amaze me with your willingness to pursue Christ with everything you’ve got and let me tell you something:
God is growing you, sweet girl.
Sometimes God calls us to do hard things. Things that make us uncomfortable, uneasy, and fearful—but that’s when our faith is fueled through the act of taking up His cross and following Him. That’s when the trust we have in our Heavenly Father deepens with the assurance that if He calls us to do something hard, He has a great purpose in that plan. When we are obedient to His call, we are allowing God to move the way He wants to move, but when we refuse, we limit His work in and through us.
It’s hard being obedient sometimes, especially when you’re a teen who has all kinds of hard already in your life. But Christ never said following Him would be easy. Our walk with Him will be filled with big asks and hard things because fighting our flesh is a lifelong challenge.
“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me'” (Luke 9:23, NIV).
But when we prayerfully depend on Him, the Holy Spirit will do the work we cannot. When we offer up our lives as living sacrifices for Him daily, He strengthens us with wisdom and courage to do all He asks us to do. The more we allow God to do His work in our lives and in our hearts, the more we see His glory shine and feel His presence and power grow within us. And that’s a beautiful thing.
You fought the good fight and allowed God to win, offering up your will in exchange for His. God was able to move how He wanted to move and work how He wanted to work because you were faithful and obedient.
Oh, sweet girl, I am so proud of you.
And GOD is so proud of you, too.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10, NIV).