A God-Sized Agenda by Crystal Stine
There is a workout move I learned to do last year called a "surrender." Standing with dumbbells in each hand, resting on your shoulders or held high above your head, you step forward with your right foot, kneel on your left knee and then your right. With the weights still in your hands you then bring your left foot forward to push yourself back up to standing. Over and over again for a minute. Step. Kneel. Stand. Repeat.
I didn't realize it at the time, but God knew how badly I needed to learn the slow process of surrender over the last year. It was a move I thought I'd never be good at - it was too hard, too painful, and at the beginning I couldn't get back to my feet without using my hands for assistance.
But the more you surrender, the stronger you become.
I'd always viewed surrender as a sign of weakness, a sign to the world that I was giving up because I couldn't do whatever the it was I was supposed to be doing. I viewed it as a sign that someone else was in control, and for this type-A, hates a group project, self-motivated, possibly a control-freak introvert, that was nearly impossible to accept.
However, in the crazy upside-down economy of God's kingdom on here on earth, surrendering to the One who can do more in our lives than we could ever ask or imagine isn't weakness - it's strength. And allowing God to be in control over the pieces of my life that I've been desperate to control hasn't been giving up - it's been giving it all to the only One who can make beauty from ashes.
Because I've had my own agenda for years. I've had these dreams to write and be published, to be a speaker and to have maybe just one person recognize me at Target for something wonderful I wrote online. I tried to do it all, in my own power, and God closed the doors. I patched together enough of my story to submit a book proposal, only to receive every "no" you could imagine - because God knew I wasn't wholly healed enough to share any of it with the world.
I worked tirelessly to tell the world I was available for speaking engagements, saying "yes" to every invitation and ignoring my frustration and hurt feelings when the topics were outside of my passions and only six women showed up to hear me speak. Until God stopped allowing the invitations to come at all.
I've tried every avenue of content creation imaginable to try to find that golden ticket to online success. I'm an early adopter of all the latest and greatest social media. I love Instagram. I think Periscope and Facebook live chats are amazing. I'm not afraid to jump on a Blab chat, and I've tried every possible blogging niche you could think of to find my voice. And yet God keeps me small. Unknown. Because He's protecting me from what He knows I can't handle in this season.
And He's given me opportunities that I didn't know I wanted, haven't been sure I've been ready for, and more group projects than I'd care to say "yes" to - because He knows that's the only way it will ever be about Him, and not me. As my body has practiced physically surrendering over the last year, my heart has had to emotionally and spiritually surrender to an agenda that gives God the glory.
Surrender, in this season, is moving from a "what's in it for me" to-do list to a "giving God the glory" agenda, and I'm stronger for it.
CRYSTAL STINE writes at crystalstine.me and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 4 year-old daughter. Crystal is also the Editorial & Marketing Manager for (in)courage, author of "Creative Basics," a health & wellness coach and host of the Write 31 Days challenge. You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter!