Do you ever live through a week that leaves you feeling like you are barely holding on? I felt like by Friday I was limping along, just trying to make it to the weekend.
As that week came to a close, I began processing what had just happened to bring me to that point and the Lord really started to reveal an area in my life that was not glorifying to Him. I realized that I had become consumed with a desire to control “the next thing”. Can you relate?
I was finding that the moment I reached a destination, a meeting, a goal, or completed a task, my mind was already onto the “the next thing.” I was scientifically calculating how much energy I’d need to muster up for what’s next. I was also asking myself if there were unpredictable variables that I would need to prepare for or if I could easily handle it on my own.
We all have a bad day or two here and there, but that week felt like a constant torrent of feeling defeated. No matter how much I prepared or tried to stand my ground, I lost. I found myself waking up and arming myself for battle. Unfortunately, this battle was usually one where I was the only soldier. My enemies were time, tantrums, traffic, my own forgetfulness and expectations (which I honestly put on myself).
That armor of control was heavy. And the moment I put it on I had already been defeated. I never stood a chance in that battle fighting by myself.
Are you a lone soldier as well? Do you find yourself waking up, dawning your armor and approaching the day as an enemy to defeat? And what’s the goal? To come to the end of the day with the knowledge that everything went according to your plan? All circumstances, people, traffic and time were obedient to you? I can’t help but smile even as I break apart this idyllic dream.
Contrary to what many of us believe, we are not in control. And I think we are missing it day after day when we quickly cast blame the moment “our control” falls apart. I don’t think that controlling “the next thing” is really the key to a good day, let alone a good life.
What is it then? I believe it’s when we wake up and surrender our calendars, lists, people and plans to God that our day is destined to be great. It’s not destined to go the way we want it to, but if we’ve really given the Lord control to lead our day, it will be greater in the long run because it’s His perfect plan. It will be rejoiced over in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Imagine with me just how much more we will appreciate if we slow down and trust the Lord, moment by moment. Will it help us notice the sunshine more, or the sound of the rain on the car? Will it help us see the faces of those around us and give us some insight into what’s going on in their lives? Will it encourage us to savor moments with children, even if it’s during a badly timed tantrum, because these tantrums will eventually stop and maybe one day we will miss that sound?
God wants to meet us in every moment of our day, but so often we are consumed with “the next thing” that we miss seeing His hand guiding our steps right now.
Now before you read the following verses, I want to challenge you to do something…pretend you are reading them for the first time. So often we come to these core, popular verses and skim them. We think, “Oh I know this one! I got this!” But do we? If we are so sure, do our lives reflect these verses? Take a moment and pray that the Lord helps you to see them in a new light.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
What’s going through your mind now? We are in pretty good hands aren’t we? Our Creator, who made the world and made you and knows your tomorrow, is in control. So let’s stop trying to fight these battles alone, and trust Him to guide us one step at a time. Let’s surrender our desire for control and instead spend that energy on prayer and loving Him and others well.
As things felt like they were spiraling out of control the other week and I was barely gripping on, I heard Casting Crowns’ song, “Just be Held” (https://youtu.be/tIZitK6_IMQ) and these lyrics, sung from God’s point of view, jumped out to me,
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees
and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
God holds all of our “next things.” We need to trust Him, let go, and experience the freedom and joy that are only found in Him alone.