Breaking My Autonomy with God

Breaking My Autonomy with God

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:17 ESV

Over the last few months, I have been consciously working with the Lord to break my high autonomy. The Holy Spirit has recently shown me where my need for independence and control is sabotaging my walk with the Lord and putting me into disobedience. He has shown me that I must work to break this stronghold within me so He can use me and take me where He wants me to go. 

 

He asked me to write about what He told me last night. I hope it helps you become more obedient to the Lord and opens your eyes to His marvelous and brilliant ways that sometimes don’t make sense until they do.

 

Last night at around 9 pm or later, the Father spoke to me. He told me, “I am going to break your autonomy. Your autonomy is a part of your flesh, not of me. It is hindering you greatly, and it’s time we crucify it. You asked me to remove every vine that does not produce life from you, and that is what I am going to do. The question is are you going to work with me or against me?” He said all of this after I had worked a 12-hour day and was just about to get in bed. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was do more work. 

First, let me share some of my desires with you. I want to be obedient to the Lord. I want to grow my faith and operate in the mind of Christ. I want to turn away from the world's ways and do God's way. I want the Father to prune me of my fleshly and selfish ways. I want to build a ministry that helps people grow stronger in the Lord. I want to join with the Father to develop Warriors for Christ.

Recently, I have been working with the Father to prune me, and I have grown tremendously by having this desire in my heart. I have asked Him to help remove every dead branch from me (John 15:2). I have meant it in my heart, which is necessary for God to work in you. I told the Lord I was willing to do whatever He needed me to do. The number one thing I want more than anything is to do God’s will in my life. 

 

Once I heard the Lord speak to me about my autonomy last night, I shared it with my husband after writing it down. You see, writing down what the Lord was telling me was the obedience and sanctification part of breaking the core parts of my autonomy. God wanted me to write down what He was telling me, so I could write about it later. Initially, I didn’t want to capture what He was saying. 

Can we say LAZY!?

Typically, when I am in the Spirit, receiving connections and revitalizations, I lazily ask the Holy Spirit to remember it so I can do what I want to do. Why? Well, because usually, it is at a time that I see as very inconvenient. Do you hear the self-righteousness in my thinking? Yuck, Father, God forgive me. I repent!

 

 The Holy Spirit usually reminds me, but always in another inconvenient time where I would rather be doing something else. You would think I would have caught on to this insight sooner since the Lord has been doing this for the last 7 years, but I did not. I was foolish. Again and again, I would not do what the Holy Spirit continued prompting me to do. Ultimately, this caused me to forget the insight, or the insight would come across flat once I did share it. However, this time, I understood what God was getting me to do. I finally got it! 

 

He was using these inconvenient times to break my autonomy, teach me about commitment, and show me how to work for Him. (I used to struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, and the fear of discomfort. These are all ingredients that can lead one to lack commitment or responsibility). Since I don’t have a boss and can easily not do what I need to do, I need the Father to help hold me accountable. Especially because Renew Ministries is not mine, it’s the Lord’s, and I must steward this ministry well. 

You see, my flesh desired to do life one way, and it was against God's way. Anything that is against God is anti-Christ!

I have never done well working for a boss. I do not know why, but the second I am micromanaged or work for a company that lacks vision or leadership, I quickly start butting heads with them. Now, I am a very loyal person, but I don’t do well when I see corruption in a company or when I care more about the company than it appears the owners do. What I have learned is for me to grow this ministry, I have to learn how to work for the Lord in a way that represents Christ. I have to let go of my assumptions and judgments and do what God tells me to do. It’s not my job to judge people. And allowing other’s sin to stop me from doing right is foolishness. It’s just like what Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24:

 

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

Therefore, sometimes what the verse above means is doing things you don’t want to do. At times, you definitely don’t want to do it. 

On top of that, God is working to break the fear of poverty and the employee mindset within me. I need Him to do this because much of what the Lord is asking me to do does not bring immediate income. Therefore, God has been trying to teach me how to let Him guide my time and schedule instead of what the world says I should or should not do. That means doing things that may seem weird, awkward, or contrary to what the world says. If you have a fear of man, this will be hard to do. I encourage you to trust the Lord and not focus on what people may say about you. Besides, do you really care what a human has to say about you over the Father? 

My high autonomy has caused a great deal of tension and unnecessary stress in my life. I have been fired from jobs, I have refused to work, half-assed things I didn’t want to do, allowed fear of perfectionism to isolate me, allowed fear of failure to paralyze me, and I have thought I was better than I was. Just like a horse must be broken, my autonomy and pride needed to be broken. Earlier this year, the Lord told me my pride would break this year, and I welcomed the sanctification. I am so happy I agreed to let the Lord break it because it has been so freeing and amazing. 

What I have now learned is:

  1. God will ask you to do things when you don’t want to do them in your flesh. He is not necessarily going to follow the 9-5 schedule. Sorry. He’s not. He is going to tell you to do things when He wants you to do them. Sometimes it will work with your schedule, and other times, it’s going to feel like you are wasting your time.
  2. One reason you aren’t doing what God is asking you to do might be because you feel uncomfortable doing it. You will need to decide if you are going to trust yourself or the Lord.
  3. God may ask you to sacrifice something important to you so you can do what is essential and helpful for His Kingdom, which does not revolve around you.
  4. When God asks you to do things you don’t want to do, what He is actually doing is helping to grow and prune you to be more like Christ. Never tell God to wait. Tell your flesh to wait instead.
  5. Lastly, you are going to need to decide who your master is going to be. Is it going to be your flesh or the Father? Are you going to serve your flesh or the Father? Remember, you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). 

The more you choose to obey God and do what He asks, the more you will grow in Christ and produce great fruit that will survive the fire. The fruit the Father produces is the MOST satisfying fruit there is. It is easy for humans to grow fruit we believe is essential to God, but it’s hindering our walk with the Lord in reality. Sometimes we think we are doing right when what we are really doing is being self-righteous. I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit where you are falling into your flesh. The answer will save your life. 

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, please highlight where my flesh is getting in the way of the Father’s will for my life. Father, I ask you to prune me. Cut off every branch that is dead and show me how I can work with you in the pruning of the good vines. Thank you for everything you do for me. I pray that in everything I do, your will is done and not my will. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Let’s Talk Recognition…. Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from God More?

Let's Talk Recognition... Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from the Father more?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven

Jesus, Matthew 6:1

What type of recognition do you crave? Recognition from the Father or humans? Would you say it is a mix of the two? Or can you confidently say that you are free from fear of man and the sin of competition, bitterness, envy, jealousy, perfectionism, or other sins that can cause you to crave human acknowledgment?

I ask these deep and layered questions to get you thinking. At first glance, it is easy to say: “I only care about what the Father thinks, not humans.” But, then on a second look, you may find yourself metaphorically dancing in front of humans to impress them or to get them to like you.

Have you ever done this?

I have, and that is why I want to share with you what the Lord told me by providing my latest example of where sin overtook me in a sneaky way.

Now before we dive into this, let me first explain recognition in a psychometric stance.

Someone with high recognition wants to be viewed as a socially desirable person to people. He or she may need the approval of others and is quite concerned about his or her reputation. Such a person’s reputation is a large part of what drives him or her to achieve acknowledgment.

However, a person with low recognition is unconcerned with his or her reputation and does not crave acknowledgment from others. He or she does not usually seek approval and recognition from others.

Where do you think you fall? It may be difficult for you to provide yourself with a clear-cut answer, as other psychometrics can mold this psychometric, but do your best to give yourself a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

As for me, I am someone who once had a very high recognition score. Over the years, the Father and I have been working to lower my fleshly need for human recognition, and we have had great success. I have walked out of a handful of bad habits and grown more secure with the Father’s love. Big picture, I care more about what God says than humans do now, but it has taken me some time to walk out my need for human recognition, and I still fail. While I do not stumble like I once did, I still do stumble. However, now my stumbling is a little bit more subtle than it used to be.

One of my favorite things to do at night with the Father is to spend time reflecting on the day with Him. I like to invite Him in, and I ask Him and the Holy Spirit to highlight any worldly behaviorisms I partook in and anything I need to repent for, and where I could do things more like Christ.

I did this a few days ago regarding Rochester. The Father answered my invitation by showing me where I sought after human recognition over His recognition. It surprised me too because it was so subtle. The devil can be so sneaky sometimes.

It was my mom’s and my first Friday in Rochester, MN. I had gone with her to an appointment that would take about an hour and a half. Sometimes I could go back with my mom for the appointments, but this one I could not. After the nurse came and got her, I asked God, “How would you like me to spend my time?” I heard God answer by saying, “Why don’t you go across the street and get yourself a Starbucks Passion Fruit Tea. I know you like those, so go get yourself a treat.” That is what I did.

As I was leaving Starbucks, I heard a megaphone. I decided to follow the sound. Immediately I began thinking to myself, “hmmm…, is there a protest going on? I thought Rochester was a nice town.” (Not to imply non-nice towns have protests, but Rochester is the friendliest & calmest town I have ever been to. Therefore I was surprised when I heard someone on a megaphone).

As I was thinking that and following the noise, I began walking next to two nurses questioning the noise. We started talking, and the next thing I heard was the word “revival.” I knew it was street preaching or a street revival. I had to introduce myself. I got so excited. Before I continue with this story, let me first tell you the assumptions I fell for without asking God what He wanted me to do.

When I get excited, I can be impulsive, can you?

First, I assumed that since God wanted me to get Starbucks, He wanted me to go over and say hi because everything God-related must be from God. Well, we know that not to be true. But it’s an easy ploy to fall for, but we have to remember the Father did not want every church that exists to exist.

Secondly, I got caught up in the excitement of what these people were doing and forgot to ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. I do try to remember to always pray to God before speaking, but I forgot. I try to do my best to let the Father’s light shine through me, but this time I (accidentally) allowed my flesh to take control. Nonetheless, hanging out with these people was awesome. Their faith, boldness, and love for the Lord genuinely exude out of them. It was a huge encouragement to talk with brothers and sisters in Christ-like these. Together we prayed for a nurse and a police officer. We also had a great conversation with one another. I know my faith, boldness, courage, and fearlessness for the Lord grew with this street fellowship.

However, amid this fantastic experience for me, I was falling into my flesh quite a bit. Of course, it took me a few weeks of meditating with the Lord for me to see it, as this is how sly the devil can be. You can automatically agree with his schemes, not even realizing you are doing it.

These individuals were much braver than I was; at least, that is what it looked like. They seem to be more obedient to the Father too. I was amazed and encouraged by their obedience to the Father, and if I am honest, I found myself feeling less than and a bit jealous and envious, which is the fruit of the devil, not the Spirit. The couple I spoke with was from Florida, and they would travel around the U.S.A. and go where the Father told them to go. They didn’t worry about their finances, as they knew where God sends one, He provides too (Isaiah 58:11). I found this to all be so encouraging and faith-building for me. I was so encouraged. I began to buy the lies that I was not good enough. I felt like I needed to prove myself to them and show them what I was doing for God’s kingdom. I began to compare myself and the path God has given me to their course. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to do more. While I can do more for God, the intentions were a bit wrong, if I am honest.

If I reflect with the lens of the Holy Spirit, I see my fleshly actions much clearer. I wanted the glory instead of giving it to the Father. There were numerous times where I was trying to show off my skills, capabilities, talents, and knowledge of the Word. I was falling into spiritual pride, and I wanted them to recognize my abilities. I was trying to get their approval.

Do you see all the self-righteousness I was doing?

I wanted to be the focus instead of letting God be the focus. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Where you were so inspired and encouraged by someone, you began competing with them. Perhaps it was by trying to “top” their story, or maybe you kept bragging about what you were doing as opposed to listening. Whatever it was where you were trying to get favor with them, the humans, or the Father?

Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 6. He begins His sermon by warning against the temptation to parade one’s devoutness by performing deeds to be seen by others. In Matthew 6:2, Jesus continues by saying when people do such a thing, their only reward is the reputation/recognition they gain while on earth.

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get (Matthew 6:1,2 NLT).

Admittedly, I fell into this. The Holy Spirit showed me that the Father would have rather me listened to them, loved them, & encouraged them. He wanted me to observe them and let them know I was listening. God told me earlier this year that humility and illumination were my words. What I see now is He was using that experience to help grow me in humility and meekness. Instead, I got caught up in the excitement of it all, which, I believe, is what caused me to fall into my flesh. I wanted to share with them about me and what I was doing for the Lord when God only asked me to listen, observe, and love them. Righteously so, as Philippians 2:3,4 tells us not to do what I did!

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (NLT).

Even 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against our souls (NLT).

I am delighted I obeyed the Lord and went and got Starbucks. I am thankful for the experience I had. I am incredibly appreciative of the Holy Spirit taking that opportunity to teach me how to act more like Christ and represent Christ better. Sometimes, the only way we can learn is by messing up and then allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the only one who can change you, and when the Spirit convicts you, change will come about if you let it. I am so grateful for this growth!

In closing, where do you fall into selfishness? What creates envy and jealousy inside of you? Where do you crave human recognition over the Father’s? I encourage you today to pray to the Holy Spirit to help you learn these answers about yourself and then ask the Spirit to help change your heart. It is easy to be fooled by this world, but with the guidance and discernment of the Holy Spirit, you can quickly detect the world’s schemes, but you have to listen and pay attention to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son, Jesus, to save me. I know there are times where I crave human recognition overdoing things Your way. Please Forgive me. I ask You to help me turn away from sinful and fleshly desires and only do what You want me to do. Please help me to see when I am participating in my flesh and not in my Spirit. Thank You for growing me, and thank You for using every opportunity to make me more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen!