relinquish :: verb :: re·lin·quish ~ to give over possession or control of
I don’t know about you, but I find it so easy to fill my life with things that I think should be important and then get exhausted trying to carry them all. How can I be properly renewed in all facets of my life if I don’t first relinquish the things that I don’t actually need and make space for the Lord to work?
The first time I clearly felt God ask me to relinquish was in the car on my way home from Southern Oregon. I was singing along to a Jeremy Camp CD and was moved by the lyrics in the song “Walk By Faith.” For the first time in my life I heard God speak to me (as a voice in my head). It said something along the lines of: “So Monica, are you going to follow me wherever I want you to go, no matter what it costs or are you just going to go around the block again doing your own thing?”
You see, I had plans for my life.
Not bad plans, but not God’s plans.
I wanted financial security and comfort more than I wanted to follow God (and darn it, I still struggle with these things!). I remember confessing my selfish desires to God and through tears, verbally relinquishing my plans to him and committing to go wherever He asked me to go, no matter the cost, even if that meant I’d have to someday move to Scotland (one of the last places in the world I was interested in moving to). Funny that. Scott and I had broken up 2 or 3 months prior for several reasons (one of which was my unwillingness to move to Scotland) and had no plans to get back together. God asked me to surrender my plans and He replaced them with a renewed focus on what it meant to actually follow and serve Him. That’s the beauty of our Father. He doesn’t ask us to lay things down so that He can decimate us; He asks us to lay them down so He can prepare us for the difficult things ahead and shape us into who He has designed us to be! (Romans 8:28)
That day in the car was just the beginning of God gently calling me out when I needed to relinquish control over things that were holding me back from following Him (including but not limited to relinquishing my family, home country, finances, husband’s health, desire for children of my own, my reputation, my own health, and most recently, my adopted country).
I wish I could say relinquishing and renewal was easy, but the reality is, becoming more like Christ is a messy process. I am so thankful that He is faithful to walk with me and promises in His Word that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), because some days I feel like God and I are rocking it, but most of the time I just feel like a muddled mess!
Monica Burns has been married to her husband, Scott for 7.5 years and met him at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. They have two miracle children, Ella (4) and Euan (1). In addition to being a full-time mom, Monica works 2 days a week as a dental hygienist. While she hasn’t played in ages, Monica loves playing Ultimate Frisbee or even just playing catch with a Frisbee. She and her family have been back in the USA 10 months after living 5.5 years in Scotland and England as missionaries of Grace Chapel.