Self-propelled lawnmowers are a great invention. With one lever, all you have to do it guide the mower. It will do everything else.
I forgot to engage the self-propel lever last time I cut the grass. I forgot it was there, so I had a hard time getting the mower up the hill. What a difference it made when I remembered it was there and activated it. I went from doing 90% of the work pushing the mower to merely guiding the mower where it needed to go.
This is exactly what we as humans do. We go and do – and keep on – until we wear ourselves out. We think we need to control every detail, every emotion, and every situation. We feel like we need to hide our real emotions, bite our tongue from speaking (simple) truths, and speak only things that will be acceptable to society (being politically correct). We live in self-propel mode, just trying to get through each day with some of our dignity intact.
But God says there is a better option than the self-propel option available. His strength!
God wants us to trade our busyness, our self-righteousness, our do-it-yourself attitudes, our emotional upheavals, our weaknesses, our mistakes, and our shame for His strength. His desire is “to give [us] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3). He wants to take everything that is wearing you out and running you ragged and dragging you down – and give you His grace, peace, and rest instead.
Why? Because He loves us. That’s the core of it. Everything He wants to give us and instill in us is because He loves us. For no good reason other than we are His children.
And His love is the foundation of the life change you so desperately need. Allowing Him to love you leads to bigger and better things. It’s the beginning of a new life, a new attitude, and a new outlook.
How can that be? Because it worked for Paul. When Paul begged God to remove his obstacles and challenges, God said no. But not because he didn’t love Paul or want to change Paul. It’s because He did. Because it was only when Paul came to the end of himself and stopped living in self-propel mode that God was able to reach in and begin working. Why? “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
It’s only when we stop living in self-propel mode that God can reach into our situation, our shame, our difficulties, our bad attitudes, and our challenges to help us, guide us, and free us.
He asks us to “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden.” He’s asking you to come with everything you are, everything you’ve experienced, everything that’s hurt you, and everything that bothers you. And what do you get in return? He promises that “I will give you rest … you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).
What does this rest look like? I think Isaiah 40 gives a great idea – “29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).
No need to be self-propelled. No need to hold onto hurts. No need to do anything but trust God with every minute of every day. How freeing that life would be!
So where does it start? With us coming to God with all of our self-propelled things. Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Boldly. Without fear of repercussions. Without judgment. Without fear of being rejected or turned away. Without worry of being unworthy. Without all our self-propelled ideologies.
Boldly. With confidence. With self-assurance. With trust. With hope. With joy. With strength.
So what’s the point? We aren’t designed to live in our strength, effort, or energy.
We’re to give all we are and all we need to do to Him. To sort out our priorities. To be infused with His strength. To be equipped and encouraged to go. To be reminded of the importance of walking in love.
We were created to be dependent on Him. Not independent. Not self-dependent. Not self involved. And definitely not self-propelled.
Remember how I started by saying “With one lever, all you have to do it guide the mower. It will do everything else”? That’s what faith is. All you have to do is trust God, and He’ll give you everything you need to live daily life. No more living in self-propel mode. No more relying only on yourself.
Are you ready? Will you trust Him today? He’s waiting for you.
Marie Fremin, 7/5/15 and 7/9/15