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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.