If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, could you be holding onto some of your old ways while putting on your new life in Christ? That will never work: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT).

You Want to Do What?

I was surprised at my husband’s shocked reaction to my request; but then I’d had time to think and pray about it…

I became a believer at the age of twelve, but by my late twenties, I was a divorced single mom with a successful career. For the next seventeen years I backslid into a world dominated by a cultural shift away from Christian values. Then my hairdresser invited me to a Harvest Crusade where Pastor Greg Laurie challenged the crowd: “If you died tonight, are you ready?” No, I wasn’t ready!

I cried out to God that his prodigal daughter was returning and I promised to do whatever he asked and go wherever he led.

I didn’t know then the ramifications of my vow, but my life began changing. I married a godly man, enrolled in seminary, started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, and founded About His Work Ministries. But something still didn’t feel right. I was about the Lord’s work, yet so much of me was at the core of everything I did: My ministry. My writing. My speaking. My team. My, my, my…

I opened my Bible and saw the problem and solution:

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives” (Romans 6:6 NLT).

“My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that” (Galatians 2:20-21, The Message).

Convicted, I asked my husband: “Will you pray over me to completely die to myself and only live for Christ?” I expected an enthusiastic, “Honey, that’s wonderful! Let’s do it now.” Instead, he asked, “Are you sure? You really need to pray about that.” I assured him I had prayed and I had to get me out of the way to be “About His Work.”

After praying about my request, Dave said if I was going to take such a significant spiritual step, he would take it with me. So we knelt, held hands, and prayed that God would help us die to our own agendas and live solely for him. We didn’t expect immediate selflessness—it’s a life-long process—but we did immediately feel the significance of our commitment to the Lord and to each other.

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Several years ago, I heard a couple interviewed on the Oprah show. It was a second marriage for each, and the wife raved about what a wonderful husband he was and that she never knew a man like this existed. Oprah asked the husband what he did to make his wife so happy and he said, “I died to myself.” Oprah didn’t understand what he meant, and questioned something to the effect of: What do you mean you’ve died? You look pretty alive to me! The wife explained: “As Christians, we’ve died to ourselves.” Oprah was still perplexed and confused. She shook her head and changed the subject.