The first thing to keep in mind is never in any respect to rely on yourself. The warfare that now lies before you is extraordinarily hard, and your own human powers are altogether insufficient to carry it on. If you rely on them you will immediately be felled to the ground and have no desire to continue the battle. Only God can give you the victory you wish.
- Tito Colliander, Way of the Ascetics
There was a season of my life when I was being devoured by resentfulness. It seethed through my body like poison and no matter how hard I tried to will it away, I could find no relief. What else do you want from me God? I’d implore. I’ve tried everything!
Never before had I waged such a fierce spiritual battle. I felt deep shame at having been conquered so easily and thoroughly. I’m just weak and hypocritical, I eventually lamented. You know what God? I give up!
Only then, after owning my utter helplessness, did I sense the Holy Spirit whispering, Finally… now we can begin on the path to healing.
I learned so much through that struggle about childlike faith and surrender. Previously, at the first hint of suffering, I’d try to wrestle my thoughts into submission. I’d try to make sense of the trial consuming me until I’d drive myself insane with all my unanswered questions. My prayers were full of suggestions for how God could and should resolve what felt unresolvable.
These days, my prayers are mostly silence and listening. No attempting to figure things out or reason my way into a solution, just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, fill and comfort me.
The more empty I am of pride and expectations, the more room Christ has to enter my mind and soul and take over. Accepting that my own human powers are insufficient to battle the temptations that assail me is the ultimate freedom. I can let go. I can rest. Then Christ becomes my refuge and whatever I endure is seen as profitable for my soul.
Only God can give me victory over the warfare that lies before me. I will wait on Him, expectantly,obediently, submissively, patiently, to enlighten me and subdue my sinful passions.
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