Yesterday, my husband bombshelled my normal routine with an unexpected text message. “I have a lunch meeting, then…Surprise!” the screen flashed in tiny, luminous, letters. He was bringing home a surprise, just for me! (Insert girlish squeal here)
The transformative power of the simple word, “surprise” was incredible. It’s amazing what the prospect of some undeserved and unknown goodness coming around the corner can do for a person’s mood. What had been a ho-hum routine of “check the box” chores now became a wonderland of infinite possibilities. I felt giddy, like a kid on Christmas Eve.
As I went about my day fueled by my newfound enthusiasm, eagerly anticipating the deep rumble of my husband’s truck pulling into the driveway, I was hit with the realization that this attitude of expectancy and joy is what the Christian life should look like on a daily basis.
Logically speaking, when we have surrendered our lives to the One who offers to do for us, “immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine,” (1) shouldn’t we expect to be stupefied by otherworldly glory on a daily basis? When we are inhabited and directed by the same Spirit who shocked the world by cheating death, we would be foolish not to live on the edge of our seats. “Ordinary life” and “follower of Jesus Christ” should not belong in the same sentence.
So, again logically speaking, I was forced to ask myself why I hadn’t been experiencing this sort of toe-tapping excitement recently. The answer was both convicting and inspiring.
If it is within God’s nature to tell only thrilling tales, then a lack of His whimsy in our lives is not due to a lack of His willingness to show up, but a lack of expectancy and surrender on our part.
I believe one of the enemy’s greatest tactics is to make us believe that we are living fully surrendered lives, when in reality, we have only handed God the “big” overarching details. For most of us, our game plan for successful Christian living goes something like this–“I will give God control of my finances, career moves, health, and the safety of my children. I will then live out the everyday details of my life in a generally ‘good’ manner, avoiding the ‘major’ sins, and God will take care of me. I can live a comfortable, successful, worry free life.”
This is a “crossless” surrender and nothing more than the Prosperity Gospel under the guise of righteousness. It requires no real sacrifice on our part and no real daily, intimate connection with Christ. When we exempt our everyday lives from the authority of the cross, we don’t leave any room for God to step in and surprise us!
As a new stay at home mom, it has become easy to think that my days, where I consider brushing my teeth and changing my clothes a major accomplishment…don’t really count for anything.
A Francis Chan sermon, (that I watched somewhere around 3 AM during a feeding) reminded me of the value of EVERY day. He recalled a conversation with a fellow preacher who told him that he acts as if everyday, every moment, has the potential to be the best one that he’s every lived. “I wake up everyday and say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life,”…and it usually is.” his friend told him. Chan explains how, before this conversation, he used to feel that somedays were just “throw aways,” and discounted their potential to be used and filled up by Christ.
We can begin to live fully, even in the most duldrum of circumstances, when we begin to understand that there are no “throw away days” in the Kingdom of God.
When we grow to grasp that our “everydays,” no matter how boring the agenda, are designed to be arenas to display God’s creative power, we begin to take surrender seriously and anticipate God showing up.
And He will.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering….You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12: 1,2b MSG
Priscilla Shirer once explained that God has infinite adventure waiting for us, but in order for us to “come to the party,” we have to get into the “car” of surrender. It is in this posture of surrender that, “He will just plain ol, flat out, surprise you. Where He sets you up to be blown away at the unbelievable ways He is taking care of you, and covering you, and providing for you. He wants to bring solutions into your lives that honestly you didn’t even pray for, because the best request you could come up with didn’t even touch the fringe of possibility of what God had in mind.”
Walking with Jesus is meant to be one perpetual, Christmas Eve, where we await with breathless anticipation the manner in which He is going to show up in our lives today. His unknown, undeserved goodness is always coming around the corner for us!
When my husband finally arrived home, he wrapped his arms around me and said, “You know I love surprising you right?”
I’d imagine if Jesus could wrap us in His arms, He would tell us the same thing.
The only one who can limit God’s Presence in your life…is you.
(1) Ephesians 3:20