Written by Craig Denison
Can you remember a time that God asked you for something? Do you recall how it made you feel— or whether an internal debate happened in your heart?
For the past few months I’ve been a little bit of a “negative ned” with God. Last fall I wrapped up writing the initial content for First15 while at the same time Rachel and I felt led to step down as worship pastors of our church here in Dallas. Initially the rest from a long season of writing and leading worship every weekend was a huge relief. But as the weeks have gone by I’ve realized a few things about myself that I flat out don’t like.
The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with some real feelings of inadequacy. After a couple days where these feelings wouldn’t subside I went to God with my journal in hand to deal with whatever was going on. Have you ever had times where you went to God expecting to feel better and ended up feeling a little bit worse?
In my time with God I realized that I was feeling inadequate because what had previously made me feel adequate, writing and leading worship, weren’t a part of my life anymore. I discovered just how much of my identity— of my validity was wrapped up in what I was doing rather than my identity as a child of God. Man, not fun stuff. Needless to say I went to work that day with a clear picture of some issues that were rearing their old, ugly head.
In the days to follow I repeatedly went to God with these issues only to discover that while God had absolutely called Rachel and me to a season of rest from outward focused ministry, I had some real work to do internally. God is calling me to step away from focusing on the walls of my church and focus on the walls I’ve built up around my heart. He’s asking me for something— something I’m not too keen on giving up. He’s asking me to stop seeking validation from what I do by letting go of those things I’ve had my identity in for far too long. And while he’s doing so in love— it sure is difficult to give up that which you’ve allowed to define you. After all, when I give up who I’ve thought myself to be— I have to trust him to provide a new definition, a new sense of identity, and that’s just a little scary.
Where might God be calling you inward today? What’s plagued your life for far too long?
Blessed be our Lord God who cares more about how we’re doing than what we can accomplish for him. Bless him that he asks us to give him those things that will only harm us in the end. Bless him that he calls us inward before he calls us outward.
May God grant us the courage and faith to give him what he asks for that all that we are might be entirely his.
“It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-10