Mine was always a dominant personality, “Leo Queen of the jungleeeee” I would chime as a child frolicking in my big backyard in the country. The line was my adaptation of the theme song from one of my favorite cartoons whose title and protagonist was the fearless ‘Leo the Lion’. This ancestor of Mufasa and Simba, more commonly known thanks to Disney, had not just my admiration but inspired a deep a sense of kinship. You see, I learnt early that I ruled under a zodiac symbolized by this ferocious feline (rightly or wrongly so is debatable however, this is not the focus of this tale). This bit of knowledge I held on to with pride that no doubt influenced my proclivity to ‘take charge’. Domineering, stubborn, strong-willed, “own way”, selfish were all adjectives I recollect mom chiding as she heeded the teachings of Proverbs 29:15. I wish I could say I have put away childish things but there remains residual evidence of these traits that thankfully I have assurance the Holy Spirit will continue to address.

In addition to my childish ferocity paraded as self-assuredness, independence, bright-sparkedness (made this one up), I was also a dreamer. Joseph had nothing on me and Rhianna’s diamonds would pale in comparison to the glitzy constellations that were the building blocks of a world fashioned by my mind and believed to be a certain reality that would surely manifest itself in due season.

Now this propensity to dream I blame on the story books I pored over as a child. I agree with Joshuah Lievman; “And they lived happily ever after is one of the most tragic sentences in literature…” You see these fairy tales from childhood helped to trigger imaginings that would evolve into deep-seated desires that would become the glorified end fueling all my pursuits. If I was brave enough to climb high enough up the beanstalk of corporate, I could acquire a hen that lays golden eggs. If I am sensible in my pursuits then no big bad wolf will succeed in their attack and if this fails rest assured Prince Charming will come gallantly riding in to rescue me and right all the ills I’ve suffered and we will live happily ever after. Right!

I am not a pessimist by any means and I appreciate the inevitable triumph of good over evil that these stories purport however, I have come to realize that my strong-willed nature and my relentless pursuit of my big dreams might not always be reflective of the Christ like character I am called to exude. Now before you rebuke me listen. I am not saying we are to be complacent and passively accept whatever life throws at us and live without purpose, throw our hands up and say whatever the Lord wills. Far from it, the bible does not teach this. We were created in the image of God to rule and reign, this too I grasped early in childhood. Instead what I wish to share is that as I walk with Christ, I have come to realize that I struggle with surrendering some of my deepest desires to the one who knows and loves me better than anyone ever could.

The issue I discovered is that I had dreams that had become so woven into my very being; a subliminal part of my existence yearning for manifestation, an extension of myself not yet birthed. Faced with the threat of letting go of deep desires feels like losing a limb or vital organ… like losing a part of myself. Desires longed for, prayed for in faith, still waiting for, have made my heart sick. I wrestled with this for some time… Was my striving for this ever elusive utopia, a reflection of my failure to accept that God is enough and He is sovereign? Could this agonizing discontent be self-rule rearing its ugly head? Like the children of Israel, am I rebelling against the rule of God in my life and instead submitting to the rule of my desires, have I elected them king? I wanted to surrender but I felt chained to my dreams. So I sought the Lord. Here some of my discoveries from examining stories of people in the bible who were in some way challenged to let go of their precious things.

Hannah

Hannah wanted more than anything to have a child. Barrenness was frowned upon in her society but to make matters worse, she had a malicious and braggadocios matey (Jamaicans will get this) that made her life miserable. Love from her husband was no consolation in this matter. After years of petitioning God for a child, Hannah came to the point where she vowed to God that if He blessed her with this most precious gift, she would return the gift to Him. That gift from God that Hannah faithfully returned to Him was Samuel. Samuel grew up to be God’s voice and a mediator in a time when no one else in the land but him was worthy of that calling. This same Samuel anointed Israel’s first King and through his intercession brought a nation through victories over many enemies. God used Hannah’s son mightily but He didn’t stop there, He blessed Hannah with five other children; three sons and two daughters all because she faithfully surrendered one! (1 Samuel 1:4-28, 2:21, 3-4:1, 7-10).

Abraham

God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, a miracle only the hand of God could work considering Abraham’s and Sarah’s age. God does not lie; Sarah gave birth to Isaac, then when Isaac was a young boy God told Abraham to take this promised son, this precious thing up to Mount Moriah to offer him as sacrifice unto the Lord. How twisted is that? What must Abraham have been thinking? Well we know his response, he was obedient and for his obedience he received not only the spared life of his son and the fulfillment of God’s promise but he received the honor of being called a righteous friend of God. Today we are seeds of Abraham sharing in the blessings his faith and God’s love provided for us. (Genesis 12:1-9, 15:1-5, 17:1-7, 15-22, 18:10-15, 21:1-3, 22:1-18).

The Widow of Zarephath

When the brook by which Elijah took refuge on his run from the evil King Ahab dried up due to drought, God directed him to go to Zarephath. “I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” The Lord proclaimed. Now one would think this widow would be the Iron Chef of Sidon, operating the most successful food establishment of the day, instead, all the widow had, was a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. She was about to prepare one last meal for her and her son and then they would wait for the certain death that would come from starvation. If that morsel wasn’t precious then I don’t know what is. The prophet instructed her to first make for him a loaf of bread then a meal for her and her son and assured her of God’s promise for her act of obedience; the flour and oil would not run out until God sent rain on the land. And so it was. Later in the story, Elijah would pray to God to raise the woman’s son from the dead. Imagine if she refused to give up her precious thing, then both her and her son would have been long dead instead abundant blessings were hers because in faith she released her most precious thing (1 Kings 17 :7-16).

I could go on about the little boy who gave his precious lunch of two fish and five loaves or the Shunamite woman who gave up precious space in her home to accommodate the prophet Elisha, or Mary who took an expensive bottle of perfume to wash Jesus’ feet, Daniel and the other Hebrew boys who gave up choice foods from the King’s table (Matt 14:13-21, 2 Kings 4:8-17, Matt 26:6-13, Daniel 1:3-21). I am yet to find an account in scripture where a prized possession, something of great value was given to God and not restored more abundantly, multiplied beyond our wildest imaginations and transformed into outrageous blessings!

Kadiene (a work in progress – story still unfolding)

These accounts of scripture have helped this lioness become less territorial over her dreams and brave enough to loosen her grip on her deepest desires. With outstretched arms a roar of surrender she is learning to lay them all down, wait and watch with great anticipation as God accepts her precious things and transforms them into remarkable tales for His honor and glory!