Creative Communion (Volume 9)
I am really good at fighting battles that aren’t actually mine to fight. I forget that God has a bigger plan than I can see, and I tend to look at the battle in front of me and think that I need to figure out how to fight it – on my own. I so easily forget that, although I may have a role to play, the war is not mine to win or lose. In fact, it’s not even in my power to wage this war in the first place.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he kept in close step with God the entire way. He knew it was not something he could do in his own power; what match was he for the entire army of Pharaoh? But God had a plan, and while it appeared to all that the Israelites were in grave danger, Moses knew that God was still in charge. In Exodus 14, we learn that God told Moses that the army would come after them and that God had planned this in order to demonstrate the glory of the Lord. When the people became terrified as they realized they were being chased down, Moses told them, Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. (Exodus 14:13-14, NLT)
How often do I need to hear this same advice? Just stand still, and watch the Lord rescue you today. Just watch, God will rescue you! The Lord will fight for you. Stay calm, keep your eyes on God. That is the job we are given. Stay calm, keep your eyes on God.
When I find myself trying to suit up to enter into battle, I want to catch myself and ask, is this my battle? What is the Lord calling me to do in this fight? Am I the one who, like Moses, must take the lead? To raise my hand to the sea so that God may part it? Or am I one of the Israelites, tasked with nothing more than to be still and watch God at work? What is God inviting me to do here?
To be clear, God seems to never want me to charge in and take it all down on my own. Never. At most, God asks me to let Holy Spirit work through me. As with Moses and his raised hand, I can allow God to use me – but I should never confuse that as something I am doing. I do not have that kind of power. God in me, though? That’s another story.
When I took the first cohort through the Painted Prayers Instructor Training, I wrapped it up with an in-person retreat at our home. If I’m being fully honest here, I was petrified going into that weekend. My health was rapidly declining and I had already been pushing myself way too hard to put the training together. I knew that I had stretched long past the limits of my own body, and I had no idea how I would even make it through the weekend – let alone lead the retreat. My prayer before everyone arrived was fairly meek. Lord, I need you to make this weekend work. I can’t do it. I’m at the end of me. Take it; it’s yours.
Imagine my surprise when God did just that. The entire weekend was packed full of incredible movements of the Lord. I really did very little aside from opening my home to them, and I got to sit still and witness God at work in and through those women. Breakthroughs and breakdowns, moments of miraculous connection, inspiration and encouragement flowed all around. It was breathtaking. Could I have tried to force myself to stick to my original plan? Sure. I would have been miserable beyond words, and all of the amazing breakthroughs we were all witness to? I can almost guarantee those would not have occurred. Because I was still, because I allowed God to do all the heavy lifting, we witnessed the Lord’s full glory that weekend.
Exodus 14 ends with this verse: When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses. (Exodus 14:31, NLT)
Even now, going on two years later, we are each filled with awe when we think back on that sacred retreat weekend. We saw the mighty power of the Lord, and while no Egyptians were harmed in the making of that retreat, we felt our faith grow deeper and richer. I believe we were all a bit changed by the experience – none more than me.
Over and over, God is kind enough (and patient enough) to remind me not to take matters into my own hands. There is no battle worth stepping into that I can win under my own power. Instead, I am to stay calm and keep my eyes on the Lord, to wait for the invitation to step into the battle that has already been planned and won.
|Brianna Heida is a mama to four kiddos (two bio, two bonus) in the beautiful chaos of a blended family. She hosts the Creative Salvation podcast and runs Painted Prayers, a nonprofit that teaches art as a spiritual practice. Ever the creative, she’s built her life, her home, and her family with intention, love, and hand-crafted goodness.