Recently it occurred to me that giving God my all does not mean simply giving him myself when I’m fresh and energetic, when I’m happy and outgoing, when I’m ready for whatever comes my way. That is an aspect of full surrender, but it is not the whole story. Giving God my all means giving him all of me–the best of me, and, yes, the worst of me.
I frequently face the monster of exhaustion. It terrifies me sometimes when I think about starting a family because I know the fatigue my mother faced with four small children, and I know I am my mother’s daughter. I try to combat it with diet, exercise, and regular sleep, but when any of those three elements eludes me, my energy plummets, and I would love nothing better than to curl up on the couch and read.
Because I know what exhaustion feels like, I often hold back a piece of myself. When I ride my bike up a hill, I don’t push quite as hard as I know I can. When I run, I give up when that sinking feeling of the dread of exhaustion hits me. When I get home from work, it’s often so much easier to pull together whatever odds and ends I can find in the pantry and fridge than take the time to make a nutritious meal. It seems like the path of least resistance to leave the dishes undone and the floors unswept. But this mentality only contributes to the problem. My fatigue is compounded when I see the mountain of things undone looming ahead of me, when I feel the despair of never bettering myself, when I become lazy and stagnant.
Giving God the worst of myself means recognizing my weakness and crying out, “Oh, God, I am broken, but I am yours.” It means giving my all even when I’m afraid there’s nothing to give. Facing that hill and the miles ahead with a determination that says, “God, you put me here; you will bring me through it. Here I am. Use me.” Letting go of that little piece of myself I hold onto “just in case.”
When I give God the worst of myself, he gives me the strength to overcome. Then, maybe next time, it will be the best of myself instead.