“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
We exist in this beautiful tension of surrender and free will. This means that we know we belong to the Lord but are also searching to use our free will. We’ve heard this verse a million times: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). We take to heart the part that says the Lord establishes our steps. Yet we COMPLETELY neglect the part that says the heart of man plans his way.
How do we walk honorably in the free will God has given us if we are supposed to be living in complete surrender?
Free Will + Surrender
Living in this tension is a virtue I literally just recently realized existed (and now I'm coming to know is essential).
God cares about your surrender. It is the most crucial part. Everything flows from surrender. Yet something the church doesn’t talk about enough is that He also cares for the desires of your heart. After all, He is the one that placed them there in the first place!
He created you with fragmented pieces of HIS glory that He longs for you to uncover.
He cares about your desires.
He cares about your creativity.
Existing in this tension means, through prayer and supplication (the surrender), we have the freedom to make our desires known to Him (the free will).
The Desires of Your Heart
Those dreams and passions that you have uncovered as deep desires in your heart were intended for goodness. If God placed those things inside of you that means He intends for them to be used, not forsaken. And it is not selfish to be specific and bold in your prayers!
He calls us into the throne room.
He calls us into authority.
He calls us into boldness.
Through our surrender, that boldness is not only encouraged but honored. And it is my belief that through our surrender, the true desires of our hearts are revealed.
These desires will be holy and persistent. That is how you will know they are from God.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
The Call to Prayer
In Phillipians, God calls us to make our requests known to Him. Thus, uncover these desires, and then be persistent and specific in bringing them to God. Delight in the freedom of cradling these desires and delight in the process of surrendering them at His feet to be fulfilled.
I’m still in the process of learning. I will be for the rest of my life, but I am so thankful for the process.
Imagine what it would be like if everyone walked in their God-given passions.
Imagine what would be accomplished in His name.
Imagine the true joy that would flow.
Haley Hill is a 2020 graduate of the School of Worship program. She currently lives in Mariposa, California with her family. In her free time, she loves to write and read on the beach or by the river.
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Let’s talk about mountain lions. I grew up in a town where it was common to see them on trails so, from the time I was young, I was taught what to do if you see one.
You don’t run (it will chase you). You don’t ignore it or turn your back (it will continue to stalk you). You don’t hide or lay down (it will attack you). No, you turn and look it in the eyes. If you have a jacket you put it over your head to make yourself appear larger. You speak firmly to it and maybe even get on someone‘s shoulders.
You face it until it leaves.
Sometimes I feel like Fear is a mountain lion. It’s been stalking me on the trail for quite some time, and I’ve hoped that by ignoring its presence it might go away. But I can feel it there, always a few steps behind me. It’s golden eyes and soft steps make my stomach tight and my heart quicken.
Recently I heard God say, “it’s time”—time to turn and look it in the eye. To face the Fear that has been haunting me. To stare it down, to raise my arms high up towards heaven for strength I don’t possess on my own, until IT flees.
Yet it’s so much harder than I could ever have imagined to face and conquer Fear. I’m not sure when I gave it so much room in my heart, but some days it knocks me out from the moment I open my eyes. I imagine it was little choices to run or cower in its presence. “I’m afraid so I won’t drive today.” “I’m afraid so I’ll order groceries online instead.” “I’m afraid so I’ll walk off stage to feel safe.”
And suddenly I’m living in a tight little world because barely anywhere feels “safe”.
Yes, God whispers to us all “it’s time!” Maybe your mountain lion is Fear. Or maybe yours is Sin or Anger or Unforgiveness you’ve let stalk you for too long. Yet the challenge to you and I is the same: can you turn, can you reach your arms towards heaven, and can you face that thing—look it right in the eyes—until it stops holding power over you—until it flees?
It’s difficult and scary. Some days it feels impossible. But we have the Holy Spirit and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead available to us—living in us. We can do hard, even impossible, things. The only way to deal with a mountain lion is to face it.
Written by Hilary Flook-Jurekovic, SOW Administrator and Dean of Women
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
I have often heard this verse quoted and many have memorized it as a type of formula. People suppose it’s about the numbers, “two or three,” but the Greek implies that it’s more about being in agreement, praying in His name.
As you can probably tell from the spelling, this is the origin of our English word, symphony, a word that means to be harmonious, or to agree. The definition gives the idea that we as His instruments are not only to be in tune with each other, but in the key of our Great Composer’s choice. Being out-of-tune produces nothing but discordance, but as we gather around Him, and play (or pray) in harmony, our eyes on Him as He conducts, He will orchestrate a beautiful, God-glorifying work.
Written by Neil Godding, SOW Media Arts Track Director