By Nathalie Flores
Although Easter looked a bit different for us this year, I pray that the hope of Christ’s resurrection still filled your heart amidst this season of lamenting and grieving.
This might seem like an odd and unusual way to start this blog post off, but roll with me for a second.
I am currently home in Nashville, Tennessee, and as I’m sure many of us do, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and read through some old journals. Also much like many of us, I came across a failed attempt to chronicle my senior year of college - a whopping two whole pages in this otherwise blank notebook. Here is one of those entries, from January 14, 2019:
“I recently had two interviews for the Capital Fellows Program in Washington, D.C. I am so incredibly nervous about the process because I want it a lot more than I’m letting myself believe and feel. I am so deathly afraid of rejection and the uncertainty that comes with not knowing what to do next. I know this is an opportunity to exercise full surrender and I’m working on laying it all down. I know He’s had his hand over this whole process and all of the people it involves. I know I need this program and the ways it can strengthen me and the ways it can help me grow, but I also know that He knows what I really need better than I do. So for this season, I’m practicing letting go of my control over the situation and letting him take care of it. I know that He’ll do what’s best for me, and now, I just wait.”
Reading this left me speechless for two reasons: 1) It is now April 2020 and we are gearing up for the end of our Fellows year (which means, yes, I did receive an acceptance), yet 2) I am once again stuck in a season of confusion, uncertainty, and anxiousness. (!?!?!?!)
As the days of this pandemic and season of social distancing progress, the more I feel the weight of plans that are unable to come to fruition and the death of my desires. The more I feel the weight of wanting to celebrate my friends’ graduations, weddings, and birthdays. The more I want to hug the Fellows and wave at my 10th grade girls in the halls of McLean Presbyterian every Sunday. The more I get frustrated waking up every day, remembering that it’s just not supposed to be this way.
And....the more I get frustrated that I just can’t control any of it.
On his knees, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
I can’t begin to count the amount of times just in this past week that I have prayed to God for things and scenarios that I so badly want to come to fruition. And I have never once followed up those desires with, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus, being fully capable and fully powerful to take control of circumstances, surrendered his desires to the Father.
Earlier this year, I experienced a lot of upheaval and unexpected occurrences in my life. Things that I so badly desired and expected were no longer there, much like we’re all still experiencing right now. I remember sitting down with Lauren Stephens, the assistant director of Capital Fellows, saying, “But Lauren, I prayed and surrendered it to God, like I should. But he took it. And I still want it. So what now?”
She helped me formulate this visual in my head, to help me comprehend what it was like to lay something at the feet of God: it’s me (surprise!), walking through life with my hands out, palms up, like the posture of prayer. The thing (or things) I want so, so badly are in the palms of my hands. They’re in my hands because I want them, they’re my desires. But my hands are open because I know the Lord can choose to grab hold of one or all and say, “let me show you something better I have planned for you.” Surrender comes in when I let him have it instead of clenching my fists, trying to hold it all together myself.
I have always thought that one moment of choosing to surrender to Christ meant that I would never struggle again and that He would work everything out the way I wanted Him to do. I mean, I trust him, but he’ll still do what I want, right? Yet, every morning I wake up, I have to choose to surrender those desires, hopes, and dreams to the Lord.
Finding the entry in my journal from a little over a year ago showed me the power of surrender, as well as the power of inviting God into your plans. But it also showed me that the one moment of surrender was something that I’m going to have to face again and again and again.
Whatever you are trying to control that isn’t yours, release it to God. Surrendering our glittery desires amongst these shattering disappointments we’re experiencing right now is never going to be easy. However, I pray that you, myself, the Fellows, and the rest of the world are able to begin to loosen the grip on those desires and dreams and welcome Him into them. If possible, Lord, bring these desires to fruition. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.
Pictures from the Week
Flowers from walks in my neighborhood, peak bloom!
East Park Donuts curbside pick-up in East Nashville!
Another curbside pick-up at one of my favorite places... Frothy Monkey!
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 31 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary offers a 40% tuition discount! You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.
If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!
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