Monday, May 23, 2011

NATO Living

Excerpt from The Deepest Freedom by Wayne Jacobsen

The trick is learning how to live each day in the expectancy of God's working in the circumstances of my life, without giving in to the expectation that it must look any particular way to satisfy me. I have begun to taste of the freedom of that kind of trust, and it is the most incredible reality I've yet to find in His love.

Imagine the freedom of no longer having to try and manipulate God or others toward your desired outcome. Instead, you can simply find out what He is up to, and though it will often seem more painful in the short-term than you might want, His ways are always the best -- not only in resolving our circumstances but transforming us through them.

A number of years ago I read a book about a man playing the last rounds of golf with his terminally ill father around the famed courses of Scotland. Early on that trip he realized how little he enjoyed golf because his only goal was to shoot the lowest score possible. Whenever he got an unlucky bounce or hit a bad shot he'd sulk for the next few holes and play even worse.

That's when his father taught him to play NATO golf--Not Attached To Outcome. In other words, his father told him, don't worry about the score, just enjoy the challenge of hitting each shot as well as you can. When it goes off track, go find it and figure out the best shot you can hit from there. Let the score take care of itself and even if you don't have a good round you still get to enjoy a walk in a beautiful park and the friendship of your partners.

Perhaps we should learn to live each day Not Attached To Outcome. Wouldn't we be truly free if we could do the same on our own spiritual journeys? Instead of being so focused on the outcomes we desire, we could simply trust that regardless of the outcome, God is doing his work in and through us. Now instead of wasting our time with Him trying to get Him on our page, we can simply enjoy our fellowship with Him as he moves us to His. And believe me, it is a lot more peaceful walking with God on His page, than constantly trying to figure out how to get Him on yours.

A Better Agenda
What God has been doing in you since the day you came to know Him, is to liberate you from the tyranny of self. He knows that your ability to live in His rest, peace and joy, will not come when you get everything you want, but when you forsake all your wants and embrace His.

Through most of my spiritual journey, I've been an insecure person about God's love for me and my significance in the world. Most of what drove my life in those early years was trying to be successful, in my own eyes and the eyes of others. My prayer life focused around those insecurities, trying to get God to arrange my circumstances so that I would not have to be afraid or risk failure.

It always amazed me when He seemed to ignore my most ardent prayers, especially for those things I was certain were part of His vision for my life. How could He not change the things that angered and frustrated me?

Thankfully He had something far better in mind. I wanted Him to change my circumstances so I would never have the need to feel insecure or afraid. He wanted to change me so that no circumstance would ever make me afraid again. If my security was going to be based on circumstances, He knew I would never follow Him to the incredible places he wanted to take me.

How did He do that? He allowed circumstances to confront my greatest insecurities over and over again. In spite of my cries for relief, He just kept showing up for me every day, swallowing my pain with His love and gently pointing me toward a better way.

The Joy of Freedom
I feel like I can walk into most situations now with a freedom to live without catering to my agenda. I am more excited about what He might do than what I think he should do.

I don't find myself haunted by the same insecurities or plagued by the sleepless nights of anxiety. I don't walk into difficult conversations with that knot in the pit of my stomach because I know the outcome is not in my hands but His. Without all that bondage, I find it much easier to recognize His hand and flow with it.

Yes, there are still times I would like Him to change some of my circumstances in ways that would make it easier for me. Now, however, I have a healthy suspicion that the way I would go about anything in my life and the way God would are probably polar opposites. I still let Him know my requests of him, but I listen more intently for His of me. I know that what He's up to in every circumstance will be far better than anything I could conceive.

So if you find God defying some of your most passionate expectations, just consider that He is doing something more extraordinary in you than you have yet grasped. He is expressing His love to you at a deeper level so that you will no longer have to bow to the tyranny of self.
By opening your eyes to that reality He is showing you how to be truly free -- not just from legalism, works or religious obligation, but from a more powerful foe still. He wants you to be free of you, and only by doing so will you be able to know the person He created you to be.

Editor's Note
Wayne Jacobsen has written a book that I've recently read entitled, He Loves Me.  I believe we all need a new revelation of how much God truly does love us.  Within that love we will be able to fulfill the greatest commandment.  It's a free download.  Click the last link below the picture of the book.

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