How Jesus Broke Me Free From My Need To Control
It was panic that sent me to the walking trail near my home in Seattle. I had awoken to a chaotic mind. Thoughts were racing to and fro. The “what-ifs,” fears, insecurities and uncertainties of my future swirled around and made it impossible to sit still with the Lord.
Suddenly, a quiet thought bubbled up onto the surface of my cluttered mind, “Why don’t you go take a walk?” Before I had a chance to say no, I quickly laced up my tennis shoes and hit the trail nearby, eager to surrender the built up tension that had been weighing on my heart.
As I fast-walked my way around the trail, I began pouring out all of my insecurities and fears about my future onto the Lord. I have always been the kind of person who has needed an idea or vision for my future to feel secure.Calendars and to-do lists have helped me feel confident and capable, even if they place an unwelcome burden on my heart at times. I have always prided myself on being the “responsible” one, the one who doesn’t need help but instead seeks to help others. A busy day has meant productivity in my eyes and consequently I took little time to peer into my own soul with the Lord. However, this particular day, I woke up feeling so uncertain about my life and my future. The weight of unmet desires clashed with the reality of my circumstances and I found myself frustrated with my current life situation.
Thankfully, the park was empty as I began to rant aloud: “Lord, why am I not who I imagined I would be? I want to be a stronger, more capable, more peaceful woman of God. I keep trying to do my best, but it’s just not enough. I’ve got to make some big decisions and I’m scared. I don’t know where I’m headed with school. I can’t figure out what I want to study and I’m running out of time to decide…”
Tears stung my eyes as all of the fear and anxiety about my future spilled out of my soul and into the hands of my savior. As I continued walking and praying, Jesus’s words echoed within my mind, sending every fear and uncertainty scattering.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet, I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow, is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you- you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”-Luke 12:22-31 NIV
I looked up from where my eyes were placed on the ground and noticed the massive evergreens that lined the trail. No human cared for them, yet they still grew. Their seed was placed into the ground (whether by bird or animal or wind) and with time, water, sun and patience...they developed roots and grew. They transformed from tiny seeds into mighty trunks of refuge where the animals could lay their nests. With time they fulfilled their mission on earth.
It was there that the Lord whispered into my soul, “It is the same with you, my daughter.”
I am who I am because of Jesus, not because of myself, my actions or my attempts. My sanctification, my journey on earth, my heart’s transformation are all in the hands of my merciful father. I cannot change myself. I cannot will or force myself to become all that the Lord has called me to be by my own strength… and there is freedom in resting in that truth.
It was that day that the Lord began a good work in my soul: learning to let go of the need to control.
Three Ways To Learn Surrender
My sweet friend, do you feel the need to let go of control too? There’s no shame in admitting that. The Lord loves you and wants you to be free to enjoy Him and this journey he’s placed you on. Here are the three ways that the Lord has counseled me on this journey of letting go:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”- Hebrew 4: 14-16 NIV (Emphasis mine).
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 4: 4-7 NIV (Emphasis mine).
The strongest we can ever be is when we are weak before the Lord. Our every thought, desire and “season” of our hearts are laid completely bare before Christ and it’s only in prayer that we can truly begin to surrender. Let yourself pray honest prayers and leave them in God’s hands that He will be your peace.
2. Immerse Yourself in Creation
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”- Romans 1:20 NIV
“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.”- Job 37: 5-6 NIV
“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?”- Job 37: 14-16 NIV
One of the most profound ways the Lord has silenced my fears and is loosening my grip of control is by getting outside and learning to savor nature and the created world. My perspective on God used to be so small (this is still a daily battle for me) and I often need to immerse myself in the world that he created in order for me gain perspective. I am simply a created being and am on a journey that the Lord has specifically placed me on. He is my good shepherd and the overseer of my soul. I am simply called to listen to His voice and follow Him all the days of my life.
3. Study the Lord’s Identity as the Creator through the Bible
One morning, before my shift at work, I sat in my car and stared at my Bible, hoping for some inspiration to spark. I stared at the pages unsure of what to really study or look for. I glanced up from the pages and noticed the moon and stars shining directly above me. “I should find a piece of scripture about creation,” I thought to myself. That one little thought sent me down a path that has altered my life for eternity. I found dozens of scriptures that emphasized the Lord’s identity as the Creator and it shifted my views of both Him and myself.
I no longer had to be the lord of my own life because He was already Lord over creation, and I was a part of that creation. It took the focus and pressure off of myself and allowed me to discover joy and freedom in simply relying on Him to sustain me all the days of my life. I poured over the book of Psalms and learned to enjoy the poetic nature of these words which lead me into a greater dependence upon my savior. I highly recommend taking some time to simply be still and discover the powerful beauty of His nature as the creator. He is waiting for you.
What helps you work through moments of anxiety and the need to control your circumstances?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello Friend! I'm so glad that you are here! My name is Paige: I am a 23 year old native Texan who is currently residing within the beautiful state of Washington. I am an INFP and a deeply introverted and reserved young woman, but I have a passion for loving God and loving others very deeply. I found the Lord in one of the darkest seasons of my life, but because of the grace of Jesus, I encountered a love so deep and merciful that I can't help but share the hope I found in him. I hope the words I write can serve to build you up, encourage and inspire you to seek him daily.