For me, fear is often a signal that the opposite of my fear is something I am cherishing more than Christ in my heart. When I see a lot of fear, I know I need to lay things before God on the altar. I also need to check my heart for unbelief in God and ask God to help increase my faith. (I am going to give some examples of the fears I had and the idols I had at the beginning of my journey – but you can replace my fears and idols with any fears or idols below.)
I had to personally get to the place (over time after MUCH wrestling) where I could genuinely pray like this:
I am so afraid my husband will never want to interact with me again. I am afraid he will be unplugged, unloving, and passive for the rest of our lives. I am afraid he doesn’t love me. I am afraid he doesn’t want me in his life. I am afraid he wouldn’t even notice or care if I were to die. I want his love. I want his affection. I want his attention. I want to feel secure in our marriage. I want reassurance from him. I want him to be interested in me physically. But I can’t make him do these things.
God, even if my husband never changes, even if he never loves me, even if I feel alone in this marriage – I am going to trust You.
I am going to depend totally on You for my security. No matter what my husband does. I have You and I want You more than I want my husband or anyone or anything else. He can’t satisfy me. He can’t meet the deepest needs of my heart – even if You heal us both. He is not God. Only You can meet the deepest needs of my life. No man can ever be Christ to me. I can’t put my trust and hope in my husband and his actions or inactions. I can’t put my hope and trust and faith in his affirmation of me or his affection toward me.
I am going to put 100% of my faith in You from now on – even if my husband doesn’t change.
You are my Rock. “I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name!” I want to learn to live in the sufficiency of Christ! I want to be stable and unshakable in You whether my husband lives or dies, whether he gets very sick, whether he has an affair, whether he leaves me, whether he loves me or not… this is about You and me. It is about where I will put all of my faith and trust. It isn’t about him.
I lay down my fears. I acknowledge that I have been putting my desires for my husband above You in my heart and that is sin. I acknowledge my sin of unbelief in You, Lord. Please forgive me!!! I don’t want to live like this anymore! I am going to begin to trust You starting today even though I am afraid and have never done this before. I have spent my life trusting self and trusting other people and things. This is idolatry and it is so wrong! I don’t want to put anything above You in my heart any more.
Help me tear out these idols. Help me build on Christ, Your truth, and Your Word alone. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:12) – even if it means I am unloved, unappreciated, unwanted, and ignored by my husband. If Paul (through the power of the Holy Spirit) can be content in plenty or in poverty physically – I can be content in You whether I have lots of love and attention from my husband or no attention and love from him. My husband is not my primary provider and source of all good things. You are.
If I have You – I have everything that really matters.
I lay my husband and our broken marriage on the altar before You. Do what You believe is best with him and with our marriage in Your timing. I lay everything I am and all that I have before You. I want Your will, even if I don’t understand it. Even if it is painful. Even if it takes a long time. I grieve over my dream for my marriage and family and I lay it down before You and take my hands off of it. I lay down all of my dreams and entrust them to You. I will be content whether I get what I want or not in my marriage as long as I have You. I won’t run ahead of You anymore. I want to only do what You want me to. I only want to please You!
Bring the most honor and glory to Yourself in our family and in my life. Beginning today, I will wait on You. I want Your will. I need Your wisdom. You are totally sovereign. You can heal my marriage. You can heal my husband. I want to stop fighting You. I want to get out of Your way so that You can work unimpeded in my husband’s life. I trust You with the results. But most of all, I want You to change ME! Transform me! Conform me to the image of Christ! Use this time of pain and trial to grow me in my faith. I don’t want to miss any of the treasures You have hidden for me in this time of fiery trial. I yield to the refining fire. I welcome Your pruning shears. You know what is best. You have all wisdom. I do not. I humble myself before You. I want to be emptied of self so that I can be full of You!
Whatever it takes.
Whatever it costs.
You are worthy of all of my devotion. You are worthy of me to give up everything and everyone else in my life. I receive that my old self is dead to this world and to my sinful nature because it has been crucified with Christ (Romans 6). I receive that I am now alive to God through Jesus and that I have Your Spirit and Your new nature and that the purpose of my life is to bring joy and glory to You. My desire is to walk in holiness, obedience, and in the power of Your Spirit. Change my heart and mind. I desire the mind of Christ, the heart of Christ, and I receive all that You have done for me on the cross, Jesus!
Show me every sin. I want to repent of it all. Show me anything ungodly I am clinging to and cherishing in my heart that grieves You. It all has to go. I want Your Spirit. I have to have You. I have to have Your presence. I have to have Your fellowship. I want total oneness with You. I want to know You more! That is eternal life – to know You! You are the only Source of Real Love and Real Life.
If I have my husband’s love but don’t have You, I would be just as empty as I am right now. You are my greatest need. Not my husband.
I yield fully to You as Lord of everything in my life. I release control today. I give You total control. I trust Your sovereignty, not my husband’s feelings, not my feelings, not my circumstances, and not any human wisdom. You change people. You change hearts. You change circumstances. You are sovereign, I am not. I will trust You completely from this moment on. You are my Lord. You will use all of this for my ultimate good and Your glory. That is what I want. I want Your will, even if it is painful. I want Your greatest glory in my life. Change me! Fill me. Make me more like Jesus.
This is the place I need to be every day – where I lay down my desires, my will, my life, all that I have, and all that I fear – and that I am seeking Christ far above everything and everyone else. This is what it means to follow Christ. There are times of trials when this becomes much more difficult than other times. I know there will be many difficulties in the future where I will have to continue to lay things down and determine to trust God. This is a process and a journey. It is a continual dying to self. A daily taking up my cross and following Jesus.
- Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 22:23-26
- “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39
- Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-27 (The second greatest commandment is that we are to love other people. So, it is clear that Jesus doesn’t literally mean we are to “hate” our families. But the first commandment, that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls is to be FAR above our love for people. Our love for God is to be so great that – in comparison – our love for other people looks like “hate.” We cannot love our families and loved ones more than Christ. He is worthy of our highest love and devotion by a landslide!)
TWO CHOICES (This helped me so much when I was wrestling, to see what my choices really were):
1. I can choose to trust self (which is trusting Satan according to Scripture) and I can pridefully think I know best and I have control (that I do not have). I can destroy my life and my relationships with others because my flesh is in control and there is no good in my flesh.
2. I can choose to trust God and humble myself, acknowledging I don’t have the wisdom He has and that His ways are much higher than my own. I can allow God to bring healing into my life and relationships. I can empty myself of self and be filled to overflowing with all the goodness and Life of Christ!
We can pray this same kind of prayer when we face other fears, too:
- fears about not having children
- fears about our children’s health and safety
- fears about the political craziness and who will be president
- fears about the economy collapsing
- fears about our jobs
- fears about our health
- or anything else!
And we can pray this kind of prayer about any of our deepest dreams and greatest desires. God uses all kinds of trials to help us learn to live by faith, to fully trust Him, the sufficiency of Christ, living in contentment in Christ in all circumstances, and to grow in our faith.
My son has been home sick with something like the flu all week. I want to be available to him as much as possible. 🙂 Titus 2 ladies who have been on this journey for awhile and who feel led, please reach out to minister to the ladies (and men) who are hurting with prayers, love, and encouragement! I love the way everyone seeks to bless and encourage each other here! Y’all are an incredible blessing to me. 🙂
MY HOPE IS BUILT ON NOTHING LESS
THAN JESUS’ BLOOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
I DARE NOT TRUST THE SWEETEST FRAME
BUT WHOLLY TRUST IN JESUS’ NAME
Absolute Surrender – by Andrew Murray (free download)