Asheritah Ciuciu is the author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and Comfort Food: Overcoming Food Addiction with the Word of God. Asheritah grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and then studied English and Women's Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares vulnerably from her own life experiences on OneThingAlone.com. She is married to Flaviu, a web programmer and artist, and together they raise their spunky daughter in northeast Ohio.
Surrounded by dozens of women in worship, I bowed my head and held out my hands.
A sweet sister was leading us in a prayer of surrender. She invited us to surrender our bodies to God, our minds, our hearts, our spirits, our days. Leaning forward, I asked Him, "I'm all Yours. Is there anything I'm holding back, Lord?"
And He brought to mind the one thing I'd resisted giving: my afternoons.
Not that, Lord, I groaned.
You see, I've been going through a bout of tiredness and chronic fatigue, and while doctors explained it earlier this year with a mono diagnosis, this time around I knew it was something different. Good, but still... incapacitated. (And I'm not complaining--I know there are sweet friends who are suffering greater pain in their bodies than I am, and I'm in no way diminishing their suffering. I'm only sharing this to explain the circumstances around this reluctant prayer of surrender.)
As soon as I tuck my daughter in for a nap, I'm ready for a nap myself.
Except most days I don't sleep--I end up scrolling YouTube in search of mindless entertainment, something to keep me distracted for the few hours until my husband gets home from work. Do you ever do that?
Because, let's face it, some of us are pretty bad patients. I don't like to be incapacitated. I don't like having a list of things to do but no energy to do them. And I don't like feeling like my brain turns to mush right around lunchtime. But that's been the reality behind the scenes here at my house, and it's been one I've been running away from and trying to disguise with rounds of Jimmy Fallon and cheesy teenage flicks.
Not a wise media diet, and really not a good use of my time.
So when He asked for my afternoons tonight, I hesitated.
I don't know why You'd want them, I reasoned. I'm not much good.
"But if you are Mine, then your afternoons should be Mine too."
God gently whispers, "If you are Mine, then ALL OF YOU should be Mine." What are you holding back?
All I can do is lounge around and hope to catch some sleep. What could You hope to accomplish with a few hours of tiredness?
"Don't worry about that. I'll figure that part out. All I'm asking of you is to give them to Me. I want them," He insisted.
So right there, in the middle of the darkened room, prayers filling the room and sweet melody hanging around us, I said yes.
Okay, Lord. They're Yours, I whispered. I'm not sure what You're going to do with them, but I gave You my life, and I'm giving You my days. And... I trust You'll give me the energy to do whatever it is You want with my afternoons. They are Yours.
Don't worry about how God's going to pull it all together. Your job is to obey. He will work it out.
Can I be brutally honest here?
I'm still reeling from that prayer. Sure, it sounds nice, but that "yes" has me frightened out of my wits. I've become pretty comfortable with my afternoons of leisure, and I'm kind of scared with what He'll ask me to do with them. Yes, He is good, and yes, He will provide. I know that. But have you ever said "yes" to something God has asked you to do that's completely out of your comfort zone?
For me, tonight, that was giving Him my afternoons. And though I'm scared, I'm also kind of (just a little) excited--excited to see what He's calling me to, excited to experience His filling me with power and courage, excited to witness what obedience can lead to.
And I'm sharing this here tonight because I need you all to keep me accountable. Because that prayer could have easily slipped into the recesses of my personal history, just a nice little prayer at a little ladies' event, quickly gotten over and soon forgotten. But I need you all to call me to the carpet and ask me, a week from now and a month from now: "Hey, Asheritah, what are you doing with your afternoons? Are you being obedient to what God is calling you to?"
Because even if all I do is sit in contemplative silence for thirty minutes and end up falling asleep, I'm pretty sure that's more productive than watching Ella Enchanted.
So that's my "yes," and I'd appreciate your support and follow up to make sure I keep it a steady and faithful "yes" every day to God.
I'd love to hear from you: What's your yes to God tonight? What is God calling you to surrender to Him? Let's say "yes" to Him together.
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