Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dying Hurts

Thought I'd sweeten this post with some child deliciousness :)

Have you ever watched someone die? I did. Although I didn't see the actual death, I saw the process of my grandmother dying five years ago. It was not like she was laying there looking like she was sleeping all the time like I would have imagined. No, when the pain medication wasn't working (which in the last few days was most if not all of the time), her face would contort because of the tremendous pain. Even though her mouth could no longer utter the simplest of words, it was obvious dying hurt. And it was obvious that in this case, and perhaps many cases, dying is a process.

By nature, I am a very selfish person. I don't live my life entirely like this (or do I?), but I do often enough. I look for me time; I ask my husband or children to get me things when I could very easily get it myself; I like to try to go to my favorite restaurant, or watch my favorite movie, when I know it would bless my husband or children to do otherwise - you get the idea. By nature, I think of ME.
As the Lord is revealing this to me, He has convicted me that I need to die to self. The Bible says in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
But dying hurts.
I often imagined (and mostly expect) the act of dying to self would be as simple as uttering the words. Believe me, I have said them countless times, and will say them many, many more times I can guarantee it. Yet every.single.day, I fall back to the same old selfish ways. "But God! I surrendered! I died to self! Don't You remember I prayed that this morning? Don't You remember I went to the alter on Sunday?" Like watching my grandmother die, I expected dying to self to be more "easy", and less painful. An act of simple words, and *poof* its done.
Did you see the movie Evan Almighty? Great movie if you haven't. One of my favorite quotes is from that movie. "God" says to Evan "Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"
I'm beginning to realize that God probably won't just *poof* give me a surrendered attitude, and the ability to naturally think of others before myself. I'm understanding more and more that God is going to give me opportunities where I'm going to have to choose to do the right thing. As I spend daily time with God, I do believe I will become more like Him, and choose His ways more than mine.

As much as it would be nice for God to just give me my measure of surrender and let me move on, its not His way, and I'm beginning to get a small glimpse of why. I'll never fully understand this side of eternity, but I think the reason we have to go to God with any request, over and over, and over again, is because it makes us entirely (COMPLETELY!) dependent on Him. If I received my measure of things (as I see it) or a "yes" answer to my every request, why would I need to bother with God at all?

Yes dying to self hurts, a lot. And just when you think you are there for a moment, your eyes are opened to how terribly far you have to go, and you realize its okay. Its a process. One you cannot go alone.


My grandmother had a relationship with Jesus Christ. Although it physically was painful to leave this life for her because of her cancer, the actual moment of death was very peaceful we are told. You see, she had everything to look forward to because she was leaving this life to spend eternity with God!

Do you have the same confidence? If death was imminent for you (which do you know for certain it isn't?), where is it you would spend eternity? If you'd like to know more - read THIS.

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow