I have a confession to make.
When I asked God to disturb me a few months ago, I didn’t really expect him to answer.
The prayer itself (Sir Francis Drake’s “Disturb Me”) is pretty powerful. When I first heard it at the Buzz Conference this past June, I was blown away. Who wouldn’t? It’s one of those kick-in-the-pants prayers that convicts everyone who hears it (unless you have a heart made of stone). My friend Alaina even shared it at her church. I remember walking away from that weekend thinking, “Yes, God, that’s what I want in my life. I want to be woken up from complacency. I want to be uncomfortable. I want to live life fully embracing the fact that I can’t take a step—or heck, even a breath—without you.”
But as is usually the case with my spiritual highs, that earnest excitement dissipated fairly quickly. I forgot all about that prayer days later. Soon it became abundantly clear that my heartfelt prayer became just nice prose, merely words on a screen.
And then something happened.
Life happened. And it got complicated fast. I was studying for and took my qualifying exam. Work got extremely busy and trying. Classes started back up. Extracurricular activities and commitments piled on top of each other. Things that came easily before required significantly more effort. Scarier for me, areas in my life that I thought I had addressed and resolved months—even years—ago were suddenly resurfacing again for no apparent reason. I was getting no more than four, five hours of sleep every night. I barely had time to go to the gym. Leftover takeout was in my fridge for months. There were piles and piles of crap in various corners of my room. I was stretched thin, drained to the point of near emptiness, physically, mentally, emotionally. And people around me started noticing that something was up. There were points when I felt like I was running on fumes. (Honestly, I hated the fact that my prayer requests at church were always for an added measure of strength and rest to do the work I had to do.) There were some things that suffered more than others, even though I tried my best to keep my priorities focused.
Serves me right to underestimate the God who can do abundantly and exceedingly above anything I could ever ask or imagine.
It didn’t hit me until the other night, actually, when I came from a meeting that completely challenged me to go beyond my normal comfort zone. But when it hit—and this is going to sound schizophrenic, but go with me anyway—it simultaneously felt like a ton of bricks hit me on the head and a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Does that even make sense?
It was the biggest duh moment I’ve had in a long, long time. Retrospect is a powerful thing.
I said that I wanted to be woken up from complacency. I said that I wanted to be uncomfortable. I said that I wanted to live life fully embracing the fact that I couldn’t take a step or even a breath without God.
God was disturbing me. He was rocking my boat. He was causing the turbulence, all so I could stop trying and surrender everything—everything—to him in reckless abandon.
To be honest, I’m still a little tentative. There are areas in my life that I have absolutely no problem handing over to God. But there are also others that I somehow refuse to surrender, largely because I’m afraid of what he would do if I did.
So now my prayers have shifted a little bit. I’m not asking for more disturbances, because seriously, I don’t think my body can handle it. What I’m asking for is the courage to live my life in reckless abandon—fully surrendered.