Asking or Allowing?
To end our Trusting Wholly, Holy Trust series on our blog, we're treated once again to hear from Ragan Riddle. Since she wasn't able to be with us there, we were able to video her telling us her amazing story. There's a bit more she wants to share with us though! If you weren't able to hear her story at the brunch, you're encouraged to go over to Ragan's blog to read her journey of battling cancer in college. It's a true gift for you to read. Thanks again Ragan!
Selfish probably isn't the word you'd use to describe the girl on the video the weekend before last talking about her experience with cancer at 21 years old.
When I originally agreed to speak at the event, I did so somewhat reluctantly. I really do enjoy sharing the story the Lord has given me, but I knew that on this occasion, I'd be coming back from an international trip. I figured jet lag probably wouldn't be on my side.
When the ice storm came, the date got moved and I was in a wedding for the weekend on which it was rescheduled. After some discussion, the opportunity came around for me to speak again, doing a video to present the Lord's message. Here I am, with an incredible testimony of which I'm so undeserving. The Lord is SO evident in it all that it's completely undeniable. There I was saying, "Well that's great. I deleted my notes off my phone because I thought I wasn't going to speak. And I have to get ready for this wedding after drowning in work to catch up from being gone for two weeks. I don't have time for this!"
And then the day came for me to record the video, and I came down with the stomach flu. I felt so incredibly miserable. I thought, "Well, I have to go do this because I agreed. But I wish I didn't have to." We postponed the video taping. Twenty-four hours passed and I still could barely sit up in bed. I wasn't able to keep anything down. I wasn't in the best mood on the ride to the taping. I prayed that the Lord would speak through me because I hadn't prepared...If he wanted me to do this, which he so obviously did despite everything I had going on, he was going to have to be the one to do it.
And that was the moment, when the taping began, it hit me like a ton of bricks. How SELFISH was I being in every single moment that I didn't want to speak?! I was thinking that it was MY time and I had things to do. The Lord very clearly spoke in my ear: "Ragan, when will you realize that this is NOT about you? It has NEVER been about you, and it will NEVER be about you!" The story of Moses comes to mind. He wasn't prepared for what the Lord was calling him to. But the Lord had already prepared the way. He just needed Moses to get out from his own thoughts and go with the Lord's plan! He was ALLOWING me to be used, not ASKING me! It was a blessing, not a privilege.
How many times is it easier to put our own agendas in front of the Lord's? We say, "Lord, that's my time/my relationship/my project. I don't have TIME or CAPACITY for what you are asking of me right now!" We get aggravated and annoyed. We put off what he wants us to do. I continue to remind myself that the most freedom comes from following God and letting everything else fall into place. We cannot orchestrate our lives because we're not capable of having any nature other than being sinful! It's when we are willing to do what he asks that we get to be a part of a story and journey that is bigger than us. It involves making him famous, known, and adored. It's about offering people a HOPE that they otherwise would be without. It's about getting out of our own way to let God be first. Always.
If anything throughout the experience, the Lord continued to show me that I'm not nearly to the place where he is calling me. It is a daily struggle and adventure to give up my sinful nature and wholeheartedly seek his will for my life, even when it's HARD. I've been so blessed by the people who came to know Jesus a little better through the event, but it certainly required me to give up my flesh and challenge myself to live fully for Jesus. I'm thankful for a gracious God who still embraces us when we turn back to him after we're embarrassed by our own selfish and sinful actions. And you know what? He's there with open arms. Every. Single. Time. My journey with cancer may be over, but my journey to seek the Lord's will has to be carried out with intention. And you know what? He's kind enough to allow me to be a part of this huge, awesome, amazing story-and can even make beauty out of my selfishness.