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Surrendering to the Lord, Not People

Author, and founder and visionary of the forthcoming "IF: Gathering," opens up about living for God.

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I've had the same sin and struggle my whole entire life—that I care to the point of worship what people think of me, and I have most of my life. I want to be accepted, and I want to be liked. I grew up in a home where it was difficult to find that approval, and I didn't know how to find it in the Lord because I wasn't a believer until I was older, so patterns of seeking people's approval became bondage. Some addictions are so obvious and lead to rehab. But no one knew my addiction—people cheered me on for it. I was living a pretty good life from the outside, but my heart was surrendered to people, not the Lord.

I didn't realize the extent to which I had been living for the approval of others until I read Katie Davis' blog. Then everything changed. Here was a young woman living for God with all her heart. It wasn't Africa, or her girls, or the hundreds she feeds—it was Katie saying, I'm not going to live for anyone else but God. In that moment, the Lord God spoke to my heart. He said, Jennie, I love you, you're going to get to heaven and you're good with me, but you're missing everything I have for you here because you love people more than you love me. It was a really hard night, but it was a freeing night. There was this peace in letting go of my bondage to anxiety when I decided I wanted God more.

Trust and obey

Through surrender I obey, and through obeying I keep being forced to surrender. It's a cycle. The obedient walk of my life has come because I surrendered. As I'm living it out, it's costly, difficult, and scary, so I keep re-surrendering and coming back to my need for Jesus. I'm a big believer in obedient risk—not for love of adventure or personal recognition, but for the sake of obedience. I need him. He has moved me deeper into risk since surrendering to him, and I'm not alone. I've seen it be true for everyone I know.

We're all prone to wander, and we would build vain, ambitious dreams if it were up to us. When we say, God, you've got me and all of my life, I believe the Holy Spirit blows and moves into that. That's what's happened as I've embarked on launching the first IF: Gathering. There's no competition for who's running the show. God is running the show, and that's humbling.

The weight of glory

Scripture's pretty clear that everything will pass away besides the souls of men and the glory of God. On the bathroom floor that night with Katie, I looked at my life and said, I know I say I believe in you, and I believe I believe in you, but I'm not living like it—I'm building my kingdom and comfort here. That's the shift that happened in me and what drives me to cheer on others: If God is real, let's live like it. Let's not just be slaves in the kingdom of God—let's be co-heirs

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From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2014, January Week 5
Posted January 29, 2014

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Surrendering to the Lord, Not People