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The Wake Up Call

The fresh brewed life is a spiritual journey from beginning to end. It is a wake up call that begins in a relationship with the One in whom we began. God and only God can go deep enough to rouse our sleepy souls.

I could not rouse my sleepy soul alone. I could not keep the pilot light of faith lit consistently enough to make the kind of difference I longed for. I’ve tried getting up at four thirty in the morning to have a quiet time with the Lord. Trust me: it was quiet. I have fallen asleep on God on more occasions than I would like to count. I have tried to memorize chapters of Scripture only to conclude that I must have killed off so many brain cells with artificial sweeteners, trying to be thin, that I’ll never be able to be holy. Somehow I mistakenly thought that Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you more to do than had before!” My constant struggle to be “godly” left me tired, empty, lonely, and questioning.

And the season came bringing a gentle stirring in my soul, like a whisper prompting me to lay it all down. “Jesus came to give you life.” Life? Don’t I have that? What is life if it isn’t running all the time? Peace—real peace on the inside, from all this climbing, striving, and worrying. Joy? Unabashed delight in life, regardless of the circumstances joy? What about Love? Foundational, unconditional, never-ending love? I didn’t have them; but I didn’t have to work for them; I had to surrender to them. More simply, I had to stop long enough to let them overtake me.

I let go. I surrendered. I gave up being in charge of my spiritual goodness, because I could freely admit I didn’t really have much spiritual goodness. I had worked for God for years and yet withheld my full heart from him. I’d sought to please him, treating him like a father who is hard to please, missing, or ignoring that he was pleased with me. I tried to do so many things for God that I missed being with God. Where was the goodness in that? I was the keeper of the covenant. I was the one making the sacrifice. I thought what Jesus did for me would be repaid by what I was doing for him! God must have grown weary watching my spiritual calisthenics.

If we just roll up our sleeves and try harder, we are not walking with Jesus at all. If we can do it all ourselves, why do we need God?

This first cup of fresh-brewed life is crucial. A bigger spiritual “to do” list or a calendar full of church activities will not change our lives. When we give ourselves to God—mind, body, soul, and spirit—he changes us. We cannot change ourselves. We don’t have enough spiritual stamina to change an entrenched habit, let alone our full hearts. But when the walls come down and God is given access to the deepest parts of who we are, His love courses through us, around us, and over us in a cleansing, holy, life-changing, way. Our souls become stronger, deeper, and more robust. And we are transformed.

One sip at a time,

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