I am someone who loves to be in control. I love having a plan and knowing what to expect. I live by routine and let me tell you when something doesn’t happen the way I expected or planned, boy does it ruffle my feathers. Can anyone relate?
While being a person of routine and habit can be a good thing at times, it can also bring about some challenges in my life. My desire to be in control has caused me to enter seasons that are tough. They are tough because so many things in life are completely outside of my control, despite my greatest efforts. I have also learned that needing to be in control can have side effects. One of them being negativity. It’s hard to be positive about something when it isn’t going the way you want.
I was having a conversation with my husband about my struggle with control and he said, “I want you to close your eyes for me. Imagine you are in a car with God.” I closed my eyes. I saw myself sitting in the car with God. We were cruising along and having some good conversation. They he asked, “Okay, now who is driving?” My eyes immediately shot open. The entire time I was thinking of myself in a car with God, I subconsciously had him in the passenger seat. Dang. That didn’t feel good. Without even realizing it, I had taken the wheel from God and pushed him aside so that I could be the one in control.
So often I have found myself planning out my life and what I want to happen and when I want it to happen and how I want it to happen. There’s that verse in the Bible that says the Lord will give you your heart’s desires, right? Well, I would think of that verse and say, “Here you go God, here are my heart’s desires. Go ahead and give them to me.” I have found myself planning it all out and just expecting God to place his stamp of approval on it and send me on my merry way. Have you ever done this? You know what I realized that does? That puts God in a box. That doesn’t allow Him to freely move in our lives and do the miracles He has planned specifically for us. When we try to be in control of our lives, we leave very little room for faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1
Needing to be in control is saying “Hey God, I have got this, thanks though!” Do we believe that our plan, our idea, our timing is better than God’s? Do we trust that God has our best interest in mind and knows what is best for us?
As I have been working through this area of my life, there is a word that I believe God has been teaching me. That word is SURRENDER. I need to surrender my plans, my timeline, my fears, my need for control, my life to God. When I surrender all of that to God, He can take the broken human that I am, use it for His glory and my good and bring me into the land He has promised. Just like the Israelites. But, just like with the Israelites, surrender is hard.
God promised the Israelites that He would give them a land flowing with milk and honey, but the Israelites also spent 40 years in the wilderness waiting to enter into that land. The people were a stubborn people that soon after being delivered from slavery in Egypt, forgot all that God had done for them and the mercy he had showed them. They complained, they grumbled, they were bitter, they were hostile, they created idols to worship, they were stubborn and they were filled with fear. I can’t help but think that they might have a little struggle with control too.
And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.Numbers 23:13
The Lord made the Israelites wander for FORTY years because he wanted the generation that was complaining, grumbling, bitter, hostile, worshipping idols, stubborn, and full of fear to die off. Sometimes God brings us through a wilderness season to allow certain things within our hearts to die before we can step into his promise.
As I am learning to surrender my control to God, I am learning that God wants my need for control and the negativity that can so easily come with it to die. I have been holding on to control with a firm fist not willing to let go. I have to open my hands and surrender. There is not room for that where God is taking me.
I think we all have the propensity to hold onto something a little too tightly. Maybe you hold onto control like I do. Maybe it is something else. Whatever you are holding tightly I want to encourage you. God has the best plan and his timing is always perfect. He knows exactly what we need and will provide it exactly when we need it.
Open your hand.
Let it go.
Angela Davis, Author
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