I woke up late afternoon and made my way downstairs to the family room. This was my normal sleep routine when I work, sleeping during the day and awake at night, the life of a night shift nurse. I found the family room empty.
At first I wondered where hubby and the kids were but after a backward glance, I noticed the basement door was partially ajar. I hadn’t noticed that when I’d passed by before. Working 12 hour night shift tends to do that to you. Anyways, I retraced my steps and followed the sudden burst of laughter to find my family seated on the basement floors surrounded by boxes and bins.
My husband had started the task of de-cluttering our storage room. This painstaking task of down sizing our collection of “I might need that” was all in preparation to finish our basement.
So there they were, sprawled out, sorting through picture albums, greeting cards and the usual collection of memorabilia. I sat down and joined in the ‘fun’, reminiscing over baby photos, weddings and old school mates. Ever so often, hubby would ask “You want this?” to which I would either give a nod for yes or a shake of my head for no.
I noticed some were easier to let go than others but I knew a lot of what we had stored away in these boxes we’d probably never use again.
As I sat there, Holy Spirit reminded me of something He had revealed to me a short while back. Something God asked me to give up but I had held on tight-fisted, keeping it in storage. I had guarded it dearly, after all, it was mine!
What was it you asked?
He asked me to surrender control to him!!
Yep, I tell myself. That’s what happens when you pray those dangerous prayers. “God I need you to change me. Help me to trust you.”
God showed up and Holy Spirit began a gentle, yet relentless pursuit, as He set in motion the answer to my prayer and beckoned me to become an active participant in that answer.
He said to me “Surrender what you have in that box.”
What does the word of God say? “Faith without works is dead.”
So I had a choice. I could retreat and keep telling God “not now” or I could pull myself together, take a deep breath and say “Ok God, I freely give what you ask of me.” With trembling lips I chose the latter.
Trembling? Yes, because change is not always easy. In fact, change can be down right scary, especially when it is the change of one’s self.
I looked at the items in my box marked “Control”. There were a few things in there, some of which I’ll share with you.
First, there was the need to make a thorough list for just about everything. Did you know that being too organized can be a sign of control. I don’t go to the groceries without a grocery list. I don’t go on vacation without a full list of all the needs, may needs and just in case. There’s a weekly budget list, my daily ‘to do’ list and the plans for the summer list.
Then there was the need to do things myself because, yep, no one else was capable of getting it done just right.
Of course my box also held those anxious thoughts about the future. Mostly the what ifs.
And let’s just add the need to have everything clean and in its rightful place.
Some of these doesn’t sound too bad now, do they? Nope. In and of themselves, these sound pretty normal (well for some people). But through the eyes of God, in my life, they led to something deeper. Tethered to the root of all these items in my box was……
Fear that if I did not have a grip on everything then I was left vulnerable and helpless. I did not have to look far to see what drove this particular fear in my life. God brought that revelation to me too. He is good that way, isn’t He?
He lovingly reveals the problem and the cause before leading us into the healing.
I shared in an earlier post about the death of my father. When I was nine years old, he had returned home, inebriated from an evening out with friends and accidentally set himself on fire. I remember the powerlessness of watching my dad, fully aflame and not knowing what to do. His eldest child, with a mother who was pregnant and I could not help him. He died almost 2 days later.
Forever imprinted in my mind, this tragic event left me, not only with feelings of great loss but with the awareness I had no control over life. And so, feeling anxious and afraid, I took control in the areas of my life where I could.
But in doing this, I had taken the steering wheel of my life and given God the passenger seat. From that traumatic event as a child, I developed trust issues and I needed to protect my world. I needed to make sure I was always prepared and ready to ward off anything that threatened to dismantle my life again.
Of course it didn’t work. That was God’s job and He was more than capable to do it. He didn’t need my help and I had become aware of this more and more. In fact, I was tired of playing God. Now my prayerful plea for Him to help me surrender meant I had to switch seats, give Him the steering wheel and trust His ability to take care of me and all that concerned me. With help of Holy Spirit, I came to realize that I needed to let go and lean into God as the source of my hope and peace and trust Him with the unknown.
“Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the God of peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philipians 4:6-7
That was almost 2 years ago. It has been and continues to be an incredible journey. Full surrender is very difficult. It goes against who I’ve been and it is a daily letting go and letting God. It is about allowing God to heal the wounds of the past and resting in the reassurance that He’s got my back. I am learning, through reading God’s word and praying, to surrender in obedience to my Father, even if it means releasing my grip on control, one finger at a time.
How about you?
Do you have an issue with control?
Is there something God is asking you to release to Him?
It may not even be an issue with control. It could be a past hurt, a relationship, an offense. Take that step of faith and trust Him, knowing that whatever it is, God knows you will be a better you once you surrender it to Him. God’s desire is for us to live in complete freedom in Him.
Come on, let us journey together by faith today. God bless you!