You know the saying, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better”?  I usually thought of that phrase growing up when my little sister and I would clean our room.  It always seemed to look more like a tornado had gone through it in the midst of our cleaning, but the increased mess proved to be a vital step to get to the finished product, a well organized room (that would last for at least a few hours!).

As I’ve grown up this same phrase has followed me, but I’ve realized that it applies to more than just messy rooms.  The fact that things sometimes need to be broken or taken apart to be healed or repaired is something that is especially true when it comes to relationships, specifically our relationship with Jesus.

This past Sunday, we sang a song by the Passion band  in the worship service called, “More Like Jesus.”  As we sang the chorus, the truth of the words pierced my heart,

“If more of You
Means less of me
Take everything
Yes, all of You
Is all I need
Take everything”

If more of Christ means me surrendering more of myself and trusting Him with everything…if all of Christ is truly all I need, the only thing that will fulfill, take everything…take everything that I’m holding back.

What do we have to offer the Lord you might ask?  I think every day we can entrust the Creator of the universe with three main areas of our lives:

Our Pasts:

Can we hand over the guilt, the pain, and the anger from our pasts and trust Him to make something beautiful from it all?  Can we ask for His forgiveness, or for the forgiveness of another?  Can we forgive someone who has hurt us?  Can we remember that the Lord wants to carry our burdens for us?

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Do we believe that?  I believe that if we ask, the Holy Spirit will help us entrust our pasts to Jesus and help us to walk in the freedom He longs for us to experience.

Our Present:

Can we take all of our concerns, all of our busyness, and all of our aches, and with open hands offer them to our Savior as a sacrifice?  Do we trust that He truly does have our best interests at heart?  Do we believe that more of Him is all we need?  Our culture preaches the opposite message to us every day.  We need more time, more money, more friends, more success, more things, more entertainment, and more peace of mind…but that more is all falling into a bottomless pit.  It will never satisfy.  It’s an insatiable appetite.  It’s not what we were meant to worship or surrender to.  God longs for us to give Him our present…to entrust to Him today as we lean into the security of knowing He is in control.

Our Future:

Why is this one so hard?  Is it because it’s the only one of the three that still feels like it’s slightly in our control?  We can’t change our past, we feel like we are stuck in the present, but our future…the possibilities are limitless, right?  If we can just come up with the perfect plan, it has to work out, right?  If it’s what we’ve worked so hard for and dreamed of forever, there’s no way God’s plan can be better, right?  And yet the Bible teaches us the opposite.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  It’s not about our plans, it’s all about surrendering to the one who created us, knows us, loves us, and has already written the most amazing plan for our lives that will bring Him all the glory and will bring us true joy as we worship our Savior.

The song ends with these verses:

“Oh Lord
Change me like only You can
Here with my heart in your hands
Father, I pray make me more like Jesus

This world
Is dying to know who You are
You’ve shown us the way to Your heart
Father, I pray make me more like Jesus”

My prayer is that we are willing to spend some time with the Lord and be willing to get messy.  As we pray for the Lord to reveal areas of our past, present, and future that we can surrender to Him, I truly hope we remember that so often it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Bringing up hidden pain, seeking forgiveness, learning to say no and not over-commit, and entrusting your hopes and dreams, regardless of the outcome is messy.  It’s a daily process, and some days may prove harder than others.  But the end result?  The growth that comes from surrender?  Now that’s a beautiful thing.  To become more like Christ and thus a light to this world we live in…that is what we were created for.

May we learn that having hands of surrender will lead to less of us, more of Him, and thus realizing our true purpose here on this earth…to make much of Christ and share His love with others.