You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. — Mark 12:30
“I’m all in!” Have you said that before? I know I have in a moment of excitement. And truly I wasn’t lying. I had the best of intentions when I said it. And then life got busy and I forgot all about it.
Being all in requires time and commitment and action and desire and persistence and doing things when you simply don’t feel like doing it. That’s some hard stuff right there. We all want to do what my friend Dr. Gordy often says jokingly, “Feel gooder.” And if it doesn’t make me feel gooder, I’m out.
In John 5 we read of a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. He, and a multitude of others who were blind, lame and paralyzed, would wait by the pool of Bethesda until the waters were stirred by an angel and then the first one in would get healed. Unfortunately for him, in 38 years, he never made it there first. So there he sat. Just waiting.
Jesus on His way to a Jewish festival walks by the pool and walks right up to him with a very important question, “Do you want to get well?”
Simple enough question. What would you respond? “Yes! I’m all in!”
And yet this man, not knowing who Jesus was, and not aware of his own inner dialogue says, “Sir, I have no one to help me in. When the waters get stirred someone else always gets in goes down ahead of me.”
No personal responsibility. You’d thing after being in that same condition for 38 years he might have watched how others were getting in first and taken a few tips. Or maybe just chosen a spot right on the very edge of the pool. So he could flip himself in the second the waters were stirred.
But no. He was only half committed to his healing. He showed up everyday for 38 years at the poolside, but he didn’t sit close enough to make it in first. He is stuck circling the mountain of blame. It’s other people’s fault why I’m like this. Can’t you see that?
Even still, Jesus intervenes with compassion and gives him an idea. “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Isn’t that just like Jesus. To overlook our frailties and unworthiness and extend love anyways? The idea makes me smile.
Maybe this man acted on a moment of clarity. Maybe he felt the energy and power of God flowing out of Jesus and it overtook his excuses for a brief second. Maybe he had a mustard seed of faith and hope rose within him and he decided to try.
Whatever the reason. He was able to suspend his mental chatter of victimhood and do as Jesus instructed. And what happened next? He walked.
These are two of my favorite verses from Proverbs 3.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
In what areas are you not trusting God with ALL of your heart? In what areas are you still trying to control the details and figure out how to solve your own problems without God’s help?
There’s no shame in admitting it. We all tend to slip into the patterns of self-sufficency. If it’s to be, it’s up to me. Well, not really.
Where you are right now is due to your own best thinking. And maybe it’s time to not lean on your own understanding anymore. Half measures will avail you nothing. Half measures of your actions and your desires and your plans without the infusion of a heart that is fully trusting in God will not yield anything.
Further, in Proverbs 19:21 the Bible says, Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
I have spent years in my Life Coaching business trying to do it all alone. Literally a decade of working by the sweat of my brow. Launching courses, writing books, putting on conferences, all without giving God one second of a thought. And my path was rocky and curvy and I got lost and had to back track and I was often frustrated. I had some successes to be sure, but not the kind promised from God. My success was hard won and I did not feel rested or light.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11: 28-30
When your heart is fully committed to trusting God, and you are fully ready to lean, not on your own ideas and understanding, but on His, and when you submit all your ways to Him, only then will He make your path straight. STRAIGHT.
What a concept! I don’t have to be confused and lost? I don’t have to zig-zag all over the place? I can be ALL IN?
All in with my faith. All in with my heart. All in with my trust. All in surrendering my plans and all in trusting His plans.
Day 20 Lenten Love Prayer:
I know I’ve held back my full trust and full commitment. I haven’t wanted to fully let go and follow Your plan. Maybe I thought that seemed irresponsible.? Maybe I didn’t understand what that looked like? Maybe I have been so used to doing it my way that consulting with You wasn’t even a part of my thought process? For that I am sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t want to circle the same mountain anymore. I don’t want to get stuck in excuses and blaming others. I accept full responsibility for my life and for the results I’ve had up to this point. I know that if I continue to do the same thing I cannot expect anything different than what I currently have. And I want more peace. I want rest for my soul. I want to learn from You. Help me to catch myself when I am tempted to fall back into self-sufficiency mode. Let me crack open the door of my heart to allow You in. Be my coach, my confidant and my co-counsel. Let me clearly hear Your voice and help me to be willing to take action even on ideas that might seem impossible. I’m willing to pick up my mat and walk. I know when I follow you, you will give me the desires of my heart. I’m all in.
Day 20 Scripture:
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
— Psalm 37:4