Guest Writer: Ruthie White
Aside from writing the occasional blog post, Ruthie is a harpist and songwriter.
What does it mean to “lay it down?” When we say we’re laying something down and giving it over to the Lord, what are we really saying? I’ve heard that phrase a million times, but lately it has been smacking me in the face over and over, and Christ has made me see it in a new way.
If you follow this blog or personally follow me, @ruthiejowhite, on social media, you might remember my post about my time away from romantic relationships. (Anyone remember the phrase “man-vegan??” I sure do. Shout out to my sweet friend Aubrie for coining that term.) That time of purposeful singleness was transformative in my life. Now, I’m more independent. I’m more confident. I won’t settle. I’m thankful to be single (most days). I manage my time better. And most importantly, I have grown to love God more. If any of you ever want to talk about overcoming idolizing relationships, I’m your girl. I would love to share more deeply how God has changed my heart and life this past year, and I would love to listen to your struggles. I’m gonna pull a Mason (or actually a Bob Goff?) and give you my number. Call me maybe, 502-321-8108.
Although I’ve grown a ton through this experience, unfortunately, I’m not perfect. Who knew, right? Along the way, in my quest to be completely single, I started making it about me and not God. God did use this time for so much good in my life, no doubt, but the sin in me created other issues. Instead of laying down my desires and pursuing Christ, I became proud of “my self-control.”
Out of this pride, I developed too much feist (It’s a word, I promise.) My Momma always tells me that I’m a “sweet little sugar loaf of goodness and love, who’s also feisty.” She usually means this in a good way. Spunk and independence can be awesome things, but they can also be harmful if let out of control. I’m gonna let y’all in on something personal about me that I have just started to realize. I have a lot of buried bitterness towards relationships, guys, dating, etc.…probably because relationships never seem to work out for me. Although I have begun to experience thankfulness in my singleness because of Christ and this time of growth in my life, sin is still crouching right outside the door ready to get me as soon as I take my eyes off Jesus.
Since my time of being “man-vegan” was so beneficial to my walk with the Lord in many ways, I became blind to the fact that I was developing too much pride in my singleness. My pride, aka my feist, became destructive as the general attitude of my heart started erring on the side of disrespect and non-submissiveness to my brothers (and sisters) in Christ. I thought I was totally in control of my love life, and I took pride in the fact that I was hard-to-get. Sometimes I even started to think I was better than others because I was taking time to be single and “focus on Christ.” Okay, I’m about to roast myself: How stupid is it to think that I am better than someone else because I have placed specific discipline in my life to help me overcome sin (specifically the idolatry of relationships)?? How can I even find pride in that??? Wouldn’t that make people who don’t have to have that kind of discipline be better than me? (Jk not comparing here)…but you jiving with what I’m saying?? Sin is so deceptive. It often doesn’t make sense when we really look at it.
The other day, I was talking to my best friend. I was telling her the perils of my confused love life and emotions and whined, “Man, it was so much easier when I just didn’t let myself have anything to do with relationships…stuff like this is the wooorst.” She smiled and said, “Ruthie, please don’t be man-vegan again.” And I was like “WHAT? What do mean? What’s wrong with that?” She said, “It was so good for you then, but now you’re in a different place. You know what your standards are. You know to wait on the Lord.” The essence of what I heard her say next was, “Stop trying to take control. Stop trying to decide when you’re ready. Stop trying to make things happen (or not happen). Let God write your story.”
A couple days ago, I was praying in my car (which is my fav thing to do). I was praying about how to look at romantic relationships in my life right now. As I was praying for thankfulness for the 1000thtime, the Lord impressed upon my heart that I need to “lay it down.” Lay what down? Lay down relationships. Lay down control. Lay down pride.
I have the great blessing of being involved in a thriving college ministry in Jackson, TN. A few nights ago, the speaker told us all to “lay down” the sin in our lives that is holding us back from seeing Christ more clearly. As soon as he said “lay down,” I was a goner. I’ve never heard Christ’s words to me more clearly than when they were repeated in the message that night and then again in the song we sang. “Lay down your burdens. Lay down your shame…”
Last year, Christ worked on ridding me of the idolatry of relationships. Now He’s using that same subject, relationships, to teach me I must lay everything down at His feet. That means I don’t go trying to make some fantasy happen. But that also means I don’t run away when God is clearly bringing something into my life. Thankfully, laying everything down means that I don’t have to know all the answers. Laying it all at His feet is surrender. And isn’t that the goal of our lives—to surrender everything to Jesus?
Lay it down.