Willing

Am I willing? 

Simple question right? But not always an easy one to answer.

Willing is the act of not refusing to do something. It's being quick to respond when called, or being ready to do something without being persuaded. It's about being eager to serve when an opportunity presents itself. Our willingness is the the true test of the heart's motivation. We can say all the right things, fake our way through the right attitudes, have a list of quotes ready to go in case we have to respond to something... but when the time really comes and it's our turn for our true test of faith or opportunity to serve, are we really willing?

Willing to do the day to day, seemingly mundane chores of running a household? Sure. Willing to drop off dinner or clean for a friend who is stretched and strained to the fullest with life? Absolutely. Willing to facilitate a Bible study discussion group with an amazing group of women? Yes, with some momentary nervousness, but yes. Willing to make some sacrifices in order to help others in need? You bet. Willing to drop everything and leave the comforts I know or let go of those I love the most? Yes, but it would be tough. Willing to truly surrender my so carefully "engineered life" for God's will for me - regardless of what that requires? I'm working hard to say yes.

I've been wrestling with this concept for some time and have had this word literally burned into my subconscious for weeks. It won't go away. So I know there is something the Lord is trying to teach me and possibly something He is prompting me to write for someone that may read this post. As I've been turning this word over and over in my head, it is consistently met with the phrase that Jenny and I constantly remind ourselves of... "It's not about me." That is the motivation behind knowing how to answer the simple question "Am I willing?" If my life is "all about me" then I cannot answer that question the way I should and the way the Lord commands me to.

Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’.
— Luke 9:23

Am I willing to surrender my will, take up my cross (the burdens and sufferings He allows me to go through for His glory and my growth) and follow the Lord - wherever He may lead? Especially as we prepare for Good Friday and the celebration of Easter, this carries so much more weight, so much responsibility, and so much more promise. As we follow Him, we can count on being led through some difficult situations, heartbreak, even suffering. He went to the cross for us... took on the sins of the world, experienced the most horrendous pain and suffering imaginable, and conquered death so that we could have life. He asks that we surrender ourselves in order to fully accept and grow in His grace and mercy. Any trials we are led through are a part of that growth and a chance for Him to reveal His glory and almighty power through us in order to bring others to know Him. 

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
— 1 Peter 3:17-18

Keeping that perspective fresh definitely helps make the decision to surrender my own will easier. It's not a simple thing to let go of and is something we have to let go of daily. But, we have the promise of what awaits us on the other side of the journey. We know there is joy in our salvation and life that can only be fully reached through being willing. Life only comes through a willing spirit, and joy comes with it!

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
— Psalm 51:12

When I find myself hesitant to do what I know what God is asking of me, I have to question if I have yet again made life all about me. Usually, that is the case. I am once again hesitant because it will cause me to surrender my carefully constructed life and just trust Him to lead. I have to surrender control so that He can give me a life with so much more fullness and meaning. I have to be willing because to not be willing cheapens the grace that He made the ultimate sacrifice to give. In the quest to always be truly willing to do God's will I have to adopt a prayer inspired by advice Solomon was given. 

And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.
— 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

So at the end of the day... that simple question is the true test of our heart's devotion.

Am I willing? Are you willing?

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
— 2 Corinthians 8:11-12