One of my favorite songs lately is Ryan Stevenson’s “Holding Nothing Back”. Hit play and begin reading the article below about the story behind the song.
Ryan Stevenson: Story Behind “Holding Nothing Back” (copied from http://www.ccmmagazine.com/article/ryan-stevenson-story-behind-holding-nothing-back/)
“Holding Nothing Back” was birthed during a season of extreme personal heartache and uncertainty. On the heels of the death of my mother from bone cancer; the miscarriage of our twins; the division of our home church; and a series of setbacks in my music career—in the midst of this fiery storm—I found myself very disillusioned with God, shaking my fist at Him in anger. I remember questioning if He really actually loves me, and if He’s actually good. I was at a point where I was yelling at him saying, “I don’t trust You!”
During this time, I felt the “still, small voice” of the Lord. He began to ask me, “If you were to lose everything, would I still be enough for you as your God, as your Savior?” I was extremely convicted and began to weep, knowing I had put my hope and security in things and people rather than in Jesus. I immediately began to pray with a broken, repugnant heart, literally saying the words, “Jesus, I don’t want anything coming in between You and me; It doesn’t mater what I have to go through, I’m holding nothing back from You.”
I’ve come to understand that I can be transparent and vulnerable before the Lord. I can tell Him how I feel. I can scream and cry out in agony, because I know He can handle it. He knows how I feel and He’s never surprised by the trials I’m facing. He’s never shocked by my failures and mistakes. His ways are always higher than mine, and He’s using those circumstances to bring me into the mainstream of His purposes for my life.
My prayer is that this song encourages people to live vulnerably, to share their testimony. It’s our testimony that ministers to others who are struggling in their seasons of heartache and uncertainty. I hope that we are all encouraged daily to not hold anything back from God, but rather to come boldly to Him with confidence and pour out our hearts. He delights in our willingness to acknowledge the brokenness in our lives.
When we are weak, He is strong. He always uses the broken to do the miraculous. He uses the things that seem foolish to blow the minds of wise people.
Looking For a Hero When Jesus Is Enough by Courtney
When we go through hard times, just like the guy who wrote this song, we tend to look for a hero. We want someone to come and rescue us, someone to come and encourage us at just the right time. We think we need someone else to depend on. We face trials and troubles and wonder if God is enough. Many times, instead of turning to God, we begin to look to other people to be the hero we need.
You hear it in graduation speeches: “To my teacher who told me I could do it when no one else believed I could”. “To my best friend who gave me the confidence to apply for that school.” “To my girlfriend who was always there for me. Couldn’t live without you, babe.”
When we’re down, we post a status on Facebook so that others will encourage us or cheer us up. When we’re in a bad situation, we expect some action-film character will show up and save the day. As girls we, many times, are like Anna in Frozen who thinks that Prince Hans has come to save her from a life of being alone and without a boyfriend. Even in Hunger Games or Divergent when the main character has a chance to be the hero and step up, they still are looking for that hero to come and strengthen them and make everything okay.
As I considered this during the past week, I began realizing how much I look to other people in my life when I need to be depending on God. I’m getting ready to take a big test that will help me advance in my career and I want to be comforted and told that I’m good enough and that I can do it. When I receive criticism when I know I’m doing well, I share it with someone else because I want to be encouraged that the other person was just being overly critical. I dream of being swept off my feet and my life starting when a relationship does, though my life is already really wonderful and full and started a long time ago. Each of these areas is a place in my life that I am looking for a hero.
The wonderful realization that I came to this week though is that I already have a hero . . . or should I say Hero. When I go through hard times, I don’t need a best friend to call or a boyfriend to cry to. When a crisis arises, God has made me strong enough that I can step up and act. While I often have reason to be down and discouraged, I am able to receive the encouragement I need from myself.
Because I have a relationship with Jesus, when I’m afraid, I can pray to Him. When I don’t know what to do, I can seek His direction. When there is a crisis, He can provide me the strength and peace and wisdom to go through it and to strengthen others. When I need to be picked up, I can go to Jesus’ words in the Bible and be encouraged by all of the promises there.
I have heard it said that sometimes we just need “Jesus with skin on”. I believe that God can definitely use people in our lives and that He does so daily. I think sometimes we lean so far into this side of the spectrum that we stop looking to God for our needs and instead look only to people to fill the void that is meant only for Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 states:
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
“Every need” it says! Think of every need you’ve had even in the last 24 hours. The need for approval, the need for joy, the need for encouragement, the need for patience, the need for security, the need for kindness, the need for guidance, the need for self-control, the need for hope, the need for acceptance, the need for peace, the need for physical things like food and shelter, and the need for love. He says that He can provide for all of those.
It’s amazing because looking at all He’s done; you can imagine that He’s completely able.
In the book of Isaiah we are promised a Hero. Long before Jesus died on the cross, long before the angel told Mary that God wanted her to give birth to His Son, and long before God even created time, God planned that though we would be separated from Him by sin through our own free will, He would send us a Hero that would save us.
Isaiah 7:14 announces:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Not only did God send His Son Jesus to live on this earth and give us hope of salvation and eternal life, He planned for Jesus to take all of the punishment for our sins and be separated from God and then to conquer death and rise again.
John 3:16 tells reminds us:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Though God loves us so much, we must remember that God loved us even when we were at our most unlovable point. In the middle of actively choosing to do something that breaks God’s heart, He still loves us and offers us salvation. Even before we had any desired to be saved from a life of slavery to sin and to have eternal life in Heaven with Jesus, He was there dying on the cross.
Romans 5:8 says:
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
His great love extended so much that He wants us to come directly to Him! We no longer have to go to a priest and we don’t have to try to earn our way to be forgiven. 1 Timothy 2:5 encourages us:
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”
More than just saving us and allowing us to have a relationship with God, God cares about our needs now.
In John 10:11 we’re given a picture of how God cares for us:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Moreover, in Psalm 23 we are given an entire description of how we are the sheep and God takes care of us. He causes us to lay down when we’re restless, takes us to a peaceful and safe place and watches over us, and all around meets our needs.
As you go through this week and face everything, remember that your Hero is already here and ready if you’ll just turn to Him. Don’t hold yourself back from having a relationship with Him even when you are afraid to trust Him. Accept encouragement, love, and acceptance from others, but ask God to give you everything you need and look to Him to fill any voids in your life. Remember all that He has done for you by bringing you forgiveness for your sins, a right relationship with God now, and the promise and hope of Heaven with Him in the future. Trust God and depend on Him holding nothing back.