I was 15 and my parents’ words forbidding me from going out with my boyfriend were not welcomed. Nor were they obeyed.
I was used to getting my way, and I determined I would this time too. After that my friend’s boyfriend picked me up and my boyfriend picked her up. Then we met and switched. When it was time to go home, we switched back. For nine months we kept up this charade—because I was determined to have my own way.
Getting my own way had been a life-long pattern for me. It affected everyone in our home. When I was getting my own way, I was happy and so everyone else could be. When I didn’t get my own way, I was miserable and I made sure everyone else was also.
The above is the opening to my personal “My Story” version of “Knowing God Personally.” I am excited to have a personalized booklet that I can use as I talk with people about Jesus.
And it really introduces what I want to share with you. My story continues:
But as I approached 16, I was introduced to someone who changed that….I learned that God had a better plan for my life—a better way.
I was challenged with the fact that God had created me just as I am, with a special plan designed for me. As long as I insisted on my own way, I would never fully discover God’s better way. Was I willing to let God begin to reveal His life for me?
….So I made a transaction that night. I exchanged living my life my way for living life God’s way. I didn’t understand all that meant, but I knew it was a genuine decision.
I would love to say that once I made the decision I never had to deal with wanting my way again. But that would not be true….
This is still a battle for me. Like yesterday—a long conversation with God, filled with raised voice and tears and questions.
I often find myself acting as God’s advisor, His counselor even. I frequently suggest to Him how things should go—in my life, in my children’s lives, in the ministry, in the world. I am sure God takes my advice and suggestions with lots of grace. He is not offended.
But He could well be saddened, because sometimes my advisor role reflects my ongoing battle with wanting my own way. Actually, He has been reminding me that I really have a problem with rebellion.
That is not a surprise. I have always been rather rebellious. (My Birkman profile affirms this.) I don’t like rules or requirements. I don’t like to be told “No” or “You must” or “Do it this way.”
I have made good progress in surrendering to His way. I know that He is God and He is good. I am sure of His love for me, of His good plans for me. Scripture assures me that “He does all things right.” He hears and answers my prayers—though often not the way I want. And I know His timing is perfect—though certainly not the timing I desire.
In other words, I know God, and I trust His character. (Yes, there is much more to know.)
But as soon as I consolidate some of my growth in trusting Him in all circumstances, He sheds more light. He turns up the fire. He reveals a new work He is doing. He shows me more areas where I am clinging to my way, evidence of the rebellion that has not been entirely rooted out.
Learning to choose God’s way has been a life-long process for me. Sometimes it is easy; other times it is very challenging. But always His way proves to be better than mine.
And I long for the day that I always and immediately say, “Not my will, but Yours, Lord.”
What about you? Where do you keep clinging to “your own way”?
C2013 Judy Douglass