God’s Workmanship, Not Ours
One of the most difficult areas for me to learn to trust in God has been internal change. I am bit of a perfectionist . . . and when I don’t like something about myself I try my best to fix it. Before God became the center of my life, I was a slave to self-improvement. I tried endlessly to be a better and stronger person prompted from a past that left me passive, withdrawn, defensive and closed off.
I can fix me. How hard can it be? Isn’t that the one thing we do control? Isn’t that what the billion dollar industry of self-help is all about? In my stubbornness and impatience of wanting to be different right now, for years I carried the burden of trying to change and never sought God’s help. The uncertainty of His timing and if He would help at all was too great a risk. Sure, I would superficially ask for His help, but I continued to hold on to and trust my latest instant gratification scheme. We either trust Him or ourselves. Blindly, I opted for me because I didn’t know Him enough to trust Him.
As the years passed, I set out to know Him. Then one day the power of these verses drew me in and set me free from the endless unsuccessful attempts to inner transformations.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Psalm 29:1-2a Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. 2 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
God showed me how tightly I was holding onto my power to change and not attributing power to Him. He was the one to work in me and I needed to trust in His power to do so and stop trying to develop my own strength and glory. With this new awareness and finally admitting my efforts had been in vain, I vowed to stop. I started to sincerely ask for His help.
Surrendering to His timing and His methods wasn’t easy. It felt like letting go of a steering wheel going 60 miles an hour and trusting someone you can’t see to grab a hold. But I got rid of all my books, stopped trying to do it myself and let Him take the wheel. He probed into the depths of my soul and traversed places I didn’t know existed. He went to my core and worked outward. In time, I started to change for the first time, one layer at a time. My soul has become a fountain of praise for all the afflictions He has healed. Once I saw His work in a few areas it became easier to trust Him with the rest.
We, the problem, can’t fix ourselves because we are the problem. We can masquerade temporary alterations, but true change is only possible by someone outside ourselves who is bigger and more powerful working in us. We go to the symptoms and God goes to the core, a core whose details we are rarely consciously aware of until He shows us. With new awareness, I stepped aside and started giving God strength in my life by believing He would and could work in me in all areas. That journey set me on the path to freedom and continues today.
I still have to remind myself when things come up to leave the work to Him. And today I write to remind myself to let go. He works in me. It is His job. Mine is to trust in His work, rest in His promises, follow Him His lead, surrender to His timing and be still and know He is MY God.
God loves us more than we can comprehend. He doesn’t want us trapped in afflictions and states of mind that bind us. Afflictions are to motivate us to search for Him and His ways that are perfect in love and truth and set us free. He wants us to be free, healthy and thriving. But He is the one to take us there. He is the only one who can. I have pushed, tried and work long and hard enough to know my efforts are fruitless and in vain.