By: Judah Thomason
I have been resilient and self-reliant since I was born. According to my parents, my first word wasn’t a word at all, but a sentence about my toys:
“Don’t touch my stuff.”
I have always been a straightforward and blunt person and sometimes, this gets me into trouble. However, I think I adapted it as a form of survival with my 8 siblings running around the house throughout the years. So in some ways, it was necessary as the oldest daughter to help keep kids in line and be mom’s best helper. I was “bossy” to them, but to me I was self sufficient and organized. “Type A” could’ve been my middle name.
However, as I’ve grown up, my self sufficiency has turned into a self reliance when it comes to vulnerability and love. I had never opened up to a friend until the middle of freshman year of high school. I thought of it as taking care of myself and as strength, but it unfortunately has meant deep weakness and the inability to trust.
Every human on this planet has in them the desire for control. It is part of our fallen world, our habits of sin, and our “survival” techniques. Why? Where did this come from? Why do we feel like we can handle it all ourselves; that we can balance all the plates in life? Where does this self-reliance come from?
In Genesis, God is walking through the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. They had closeness with God in a way no other created being had experienced. They breathed His breath and felt His presence constantly. We all know what happens next: they sinned. They hid.
But the LORD God called to them, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9)
Well ladies, OBVIOUSLY God knew where they were and what they did! So why does He ask this seemingly redundant question? He’s giving them a chance to ask for forgiveness. He’s opening the door for them to reveal themselves. He’s giving them the chance to not have to do it all on their own. He is the one who calls out.
Satan’s lie in the garden that day is the fundamental one for every one of Adam and Eve’s descendants: “Is God trustworthy? Is God who He says He is?” and other lies that spring off that one like, “I have to do it all,” or, “I am only successful if I…” or “I have to put myself together and then God and I can talk.” Even if we don’t feel like it, we all have these thoughts. But I want to tell you right now, when we doubt who God is, we are doubting who we are. Our identities are directly related to who we believe Jesus Christ is.
This has been an anthem for me these last few months- “He is trustworthy, just surrender to Him Judah, and He will do the rest.” He is taking care of me. Even when I doubt Him, His existence, His role in my life, my worth...He has never left me! I always tell people who are doubting- the fact that you are standing here right now means that you are being loved into existence. You exist because He wants you to be here. That’s it. It’s about time for me to take my own advice.
This past weekend I went on a retreat. On the retreat I was under such intense spiritual warfare that for the first time in a long time, I actually doubted God’s existence. I had let the Devil trap me. We were sitting in adoration when the speaker said to identify our dark places and our weakness so as to let God in. I was sitting there and knew where I had failed, but felt so overwhelmed in my sin that I started to despair because I couldn’t name everything that was wrong and I couldn’t name every place that needed God within me. After about an hour or more of processing, I was sitting in a cute ice cream shop called Jeni’s with all the women I had attended the retreat with. We, of course, were talking about wanting to advance in our spiritual life when, all of a sudden, I woke up. It felt as if I had been in a foggy haze the whole time. “I can’t fix anything!!” I slammed my hands on the table and all of Jeni’s seemed to look at me. I continued, “Why do I think that I can do this all on my own? Do I really think I’m that powerful? I cannot fix myself.” The lovely ladies, being also on fire for Heaven, laughed and nodded in agreement. I should’ve just started preaching right there because I was feeling the fire if you know what I mean.
Whoever is reading this, even if you’re not in the Jeni’s mood, or if you feel like a two year old holding onto your toys and wanting control saying, “Don’t touch my stuff!” He is here. Soak up His presence. I invite you to surrender your pride and resistance right now. He has never forsaken you. He is worthy of the surrender. He deserves our whole life’s worth and all of eternity’s worth of praise for the good He has done. You don’t have to do it on your own. And girl, He just wants to keep loving on you! He doesn’t get tired! One of my favorite verses on this is from Isaiah (who might be giving us some sass):
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary!” (Isaiah 40:28)
Dear Revolutionary, in conclusion to all the stories and verses, I want you to know one thing: You don’t have to do it on your own. It’s not all on your shoulders to carry.
Also know, dear friend, that I am preaching this to myself and am with you in this journey. I am trying to be like Saint John the Baptist, “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
I’m with you on this adventure of resting and asking Him to change you, and not trying to fix ourselves. Because we are human, ladies, we can’t do the supernatural. But we can say yes, which still needs His grace! So, I invite you to say yes with me to Jesus, to let Him name the dark places for us, and to teach us along the steady journey. Say no to self-reliance and self-defense. Say yes to the brilliance of Jesus that fills us just like the world is filled with the light of the sun. God’s peace and rest be to you all. I’m with you sisters!
Judah Thomason is an 18 year old disciple of Jesus who loves the sunshine, writing, soccer, sunshine, playing the ukulele, her sisters, and sunshine! Judah has a big heart for young women and is ecstatic to be an intern for BLR this year and to write for the blog. She invites you to continue to follow BLR and all the work they're doing for the women in this area.