Willpower vs.Willingness: A HV Lenten Devotional

I heard someone say this about someone else’s ability to resist something: “Man you have good willpower.”

It struck me. 

As a recovering addict, willpower is pretty much no longer in my vocabulary. Thankfully, willingness has replaced it.

Relying on my willpower was too much pressure. It was all me and what I could do and how much I could do it. I don’t say this to brag that I’ve got it figured out. I say it to share how I’ve learned to make a different choice. 

My Unhealthy Voice says WILLPOWER. "You got this."

My WILLINGNESS says, "God - YOU got this. I need you. Show me. Lead me." 

For me, willpower is a killer. I have to be willing to change. I have to be willing to trust. I have to be willing to look at where God is leading me. It’s not a forced will. It’s a surrender type of will.  

Iwas so done trying to cover up my insecurities with willpower. It had simply, not worked. Thinking this: “If I just do this on the outside, no one will see my inside,” could just no longer be my battlecry. 

My new one became, “Hey God, I don’t got this. I don’t have this all figured out. Forgive me for thinking I did. I know you love me, help me Lord cause I need you.” (Or at least today I know that’s where my heart is - but it took me a very long time to get there.) I had to slowly but surely learn to trust, and I STILL do. 

But here’s the beauty of willingness

God meets us right there, right when we become willing. In fact, his SWEET SPOT is our deepest pain. We somehow think with religion that he wants us to get everything right. But in relationship? He wants us to know he loves us right where we’re at. 

Luke 4:18 NLT says, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,” That is literally why he came. 

And not only that? He is the Great Healer. Psalm 147:3 NIV says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Yet isn’t it amazing? Somehow - we think we’re the ones who are supposed to bind our wounds to be good enough for him. That to me is why we’re so obsessed with willpower - because we want to get everything right.

My friend, f you are feeling stuck in insanity, you know - doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? I get it. I been there and so have a lot of other people. 

I don’t know what’s got you. But willpower isn’t going to fix it. 

God will - if you want to know God, and see God and feel God’s presence in your life - you’ve got to find that willingness. Pray for it…

One more thing, I’m taking a class online right now with Brenee Brown and lots of other lovers of her book. I’m learning a lot about shame and how shame doesn’t like to be in the light. It doesn’t want us to talk about what we’re ashamed about, so we cover it up. And when we cover it up, we end up escaping with drugs, alcohol, food, and the like. So we think we’re doing a good job of covering up our junk, when in reality - we’re stuffing it. 

We’re doing the opposite of what we need to do - which is to get that stuff into the light. I don’t mean throw it all on Facebook. I mean become willing to look at it, to feel those feelings and find those people we can share those tough roads in our life with. 

Being vulnerable is freeing - but it is SERIOUSLY not easy. Why? Because we have all been hurt. We’ve all got scars and bruises. We’ve been hurt so we don’t want to trust. I’ve been hurt just like you! And there’s that huge part of me that wants to go into total protection mode, in fact I’m definitely vulnerable to that. But I have to be WILLING to call myself on it because hiding my pain does NOTHING but hide my light.

If you look in the Bible there is quite a powerful verse on shame (the whole chapter is really good actually). This scripture has helped me a ton getting through my shame (emphasis on through cause you don't overcome it by running from it.) I highly recommend reading the whole chapter, and going back to it over and over again because I’m sharing just an excerpt.

“Instead of their shame

my people will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace

they will rejoice in their inheritance;

and so they will inherit a double portion in

their land,

and everlasting joy will be theirs.”

- Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)

One last thing, since I always post a song that's singing in my head while I write, this time it's Hillsong United and the lyrics pretty much go with the it. So check it out if you need some worship for your afternoon.