I apologize for my absence the last week. We had a trip that took more of me than I thought – driving 1,600 miles. Whew! It was great, but I’m happy to be home.
Today, I’m going to share a Christian vocabulary lesson with you. I’m answering the question of “How do you give it all to God?”
It’s funny that I mentioned the story of driving 1,600 miles. Driving is often a time I pray. The act of focusing my attention on something mundane allows me time to process my thoughts. I find driving (alone) calming, but since that doesn’t happen very often, I’ve learned to pray while my children are occupied.
When children are restrained 🙂 Mama gets a small break. You wouldn’t believe the bag of “things I want to do” that goes with us on long road trips. It’s unattainable, but I bring it anyway. But I digress.
One of the reasons I love praying while driving is that I get to see God’s glory all around. There’s nothing more soul-filling than driving into the sunset or seeing the majesty of a storm front. Just this past week, we saw the most vibrant rainbow as we were on our journey.
I think “journey” is part of why I like to pray in motion. I get to experience something bigger than myself when I’m in creation. It awakens my imagination and gives me hope.
I can tell you that some of my biggest prayers were when I was in the driver’s seat. I can pinpoint these prayers as revolutionary in my journey.
Faith Is a Journey
The journey is something to keep in mind when you “give it all to God.” Life is not just a one-time deal. And neither is faith. We’re called to have faith in the moment.
The Israelites were given a test in Exodus 16 to gather what they needed (manna and quail) for a day. They weren’t supposed to store it up (except on the day before the Sabbath). The test was faith. Did they have enough faith to depend on God day by day?
If we don’t depend on God day-by-day, how are we really in relationship with him? If we store up our burdens, are we depending on Him?
We Don’t Have the Capacity for Carrying Large Burdens
Have you ever carried a baby who is just a few months old? They aren’t heavy until you carry them for an hour or more. And they don’t spread out so you can balance the load. That’s why we have carriers and strollers. Our bodies aren’t meant to carry large loads. Neither are our hearts.
I believe the people who followed Jesus around were looking for the answer to this heart burden. Their hearts were so heavy, they were living at probably a tenth of their capacity. When we carry the weight of sin and worry and shame, we’re downtrodden. The journey seems unbearable, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s peace and joy in dumping it all at the cross.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
How to Know You’ve Given It All to God
“Giving it all to God” is an act of speaking the burden, laying it at the foot of the cross and trusting He will make things right. You may not feel that this is enough, but faith is not a feeling. When you really do lay it all down, you will sense the lightness in your spirit. You’ll gain a new perspective or see doors open that weren’t there before. There’s peace in confession and processing your thoughts and fears. That’s what God wants you to do every day. He wants that intimacy. He wants you to curl up next to Him and speak what’s on your heart.
Work is Required
God gave us work as a means of sanctification. And faith doesn’t get a pass. It requires work – confession, repentance, study, prayer, thanksgiving. The visual of growing crops is so fitting for this.
- Clear away the stones to dig (sin and shame) – confession and.
- Clear the land of grass and weeds and examine the soil – repentance.
- Work the soil – study.
- Plant the seeds – faith.
- Water the seeds – confession, prayer, study.
- Watch the plants grow and nurture them – reflection and prayer.
- Reap the harvest – celebrate and thanksgiving.
This work is not easy. This work is slow and tiring, but it is soul-filling work. Giving it all to God means that you trust He is doing the real work.
When you cultivate a relationship with Him, He changes you. He gives you fruit. He takes away the things that keep you from growing. Yet sometimes this work is painful – blisters and soreness and too many days in the sun.
But when you look up, you will see change and peace. You will be proud that you don’t have to shoulder that burden of sin. You have freedom to be the person He made you to be.
Do you have a hard time understanding what to give to God?
Write a list of all the things that stress, worry and occupy your mind. This is what He wants to carry for you. Pray over that list. Ask Him to take these burdens. Keep a blessings journal. This will give you the fortitude to keep bringing those burdens to that cross. When you see the hope and grace, you’ll gain a habit and a deeper faith.
For Discussion: What does “give it all to God” mean to you? Do you ever feel this is a Christian platitude? How would you help someone struggling with this concept?