I Signed Up to Die

It was the middle of week nine as a senior counselor on my Camp in the City team. Tuesday night, topic night, where all 32 of us go hang out and have fun. We’re in Savannah, Georgia, surrounded by Southern hospitality and water, so we were headed to the beach as a team.
Plot twist. One of our girls had lingering vision problems from a concussion a couple weeks earlier. My sweet boss needed someone to go with him to take her to the urgent care and I volunteered in a heartbeat. I jumped in before I realized I would spend the evening in the E.R. waiting room while all my friends were having fun on the beach without me. Shoot.
I crawled into the truck with a smile plastered over the tears that threatened to burst forth at any moment. Deep down, I wanted everyone to recognize my sacrifice. I wanted to be with her and walk with her through the night, but I also wanted my friends on the beach to miss me and esteem my selflessness. But a couple days later as I drove the minivan – nicknamed the intentiavan – to the church, my people-pleasing, affirmation-seeking mentality got an attitude check.
I signed up to die. Thi’sl’s song had played for weeks in the intentiavan and I always admired the courage and faith of the martyrs in the lyrics. The thing is – I already signed up to die – die to myself. The summer after my senior year of high school, when I lay sobbing on a bunk at Pine Cove Towers, I signed up to die when I decided to follow Christ as the Lord of my life. God has consistently reminded me this summer that His number one priority is His own glory, not my happiness. And praise the Lord for that. A life catered to my satisfaction is a life devoid of the unfathomable richness of fully knowing Christ. If He said yes to all my prayers, I’d be a mess and a half.
As this concept hit me like a wake-up call driving to the church at the crack of dawn, I immediately remembered my attitude driving to the urgent care Tuesday night. I signed up to die to myself, not make decisions to accrue admiration or manage perceptions.
I was reading Thursday morning, after hearing that song, in 1 Samuel 1 about Hannah’s heartache over her inability to conceive. The Lord dropped one of those sweet revelation bombs on my quiet time as I realized that I am in no way shape or form qualified to determine what is good and what is not. I felt for Hannah, unable to fulfill a woman’s dream of having a child, then wrote this in the margin of my bible: “WAIT! The Lord’s actions aren’t categorized as good or bad by us – they are good because He is good.” By the end of the chapter, Hannah had a son, Samuel, whom she would dedicate to the Lord. What to me seemed like a crushing blow to Hannah’s womanhood was the Lord’s way of bringing forth a son dedicated to His purpose.
I signed up to die – to die to myself and my own interpretations of what is and isn’t good. By God’s grace, He sent His son so that I could be a part of a sweet death that brings about new life. The Valley of Vision, a book of beautiful Puritan prayers, read this morning “Let thy Spirit help my infirmities, for I know not what to pray for as I ought. Let him produce in me wise desires by which I may ask right things, then I shall know thou hearest me.” By laying down my idols and submitting to His yolk, which is light, I get to let Him sanctify this broken heart of mine. I get to let him purge me of empty desires and replace them with a yearning for Himself.
As I’m finishing piecing together the puzzle of what the Lord’s shown me this week, I remember the Spanish moss we drove by on the way to the hospital. It’s so beautiful, but is a parasite, killing its host slowly. This is like sin. The idol of pleasing people and winning their approval is so appealing, but it’s robbing me of life and the joy of the Lord. It’s so alluring, yet so detrimental. I signed up to die, dad gummit, not to live a life chasing the wind of idols.
So here I go, dying to myself every single day. Will I succeed? Heck to the no. I have to reteach my heart and mind to operate in tune with His statues, not my own habits. But my sweet heavenly Daddy is here for that – in His word, His children, His presence. He’s given me everything I need for life and Godliness through His scriptures. I signed up to die – now it’s time to live that out.

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