Losing control

I was reminded this past weekend, I have so much to learn yet about my Father’s full and abundant purpose for my life. Specifically, the ongoing and very painful lesson for me is losing control. I am not sure at what precise moment I clamped down, set my grip on what I thought was control of my life. Through a series of losses we experienced personally the past 6 years, I allowed a shift to occur in my relationship with God. I was tired, frustrated, angry, fed up and determined it was going to be different from this point forward. I wasn’t avoiding any ownership of what we had experienced, it was certainly realized. But, I also wasn’t able to forgive, work through it and move on to the place God intended for me. That unfortunately took years for me to accept. I chose to rely more upon my own strength than to release and draw upon the strength residing in me all along from Holy Spirit.

Recently, I have been settling into a new job. It has been a challenging start, and I did not fully realize that with this new opportunity would come a renewal of that lesson in control for me. We attended worship with family Saturday night, and the message that was given brought me to the necessary place of release. He asked us to consider what was weighing us down, holding us back, write it down on the card provided to us. I knew right away and didn’t hesitate to write it down. I knew it, but even as I wrote it down, I stared at it and thought: I don’t know if I can let this go. The bucket came, and I dropped it in but kind of had to restrain myself from digging it right back out. As the visual and the lyrical met in the conclusion of that service, I found myself connecting again with the Father, recognizing it is necessary once and for all to recognize the abundance found in releasing it all and trusting Him. As Sunday morning came, we entered into worship with our home church, and I settled into the familiar pace of leading worship beside Ryan-I nearly missed the completion of His message to me. I needed to embrace the brokenness in myself, to fully appreciate the abundance He had for me all along. It is a far easier thing to sit in the comfort of our human habits like that need for control, rather than to trust Him fully and reside in His presence. One of my struggles, my fears in leading worship, is the possibility of losing control. I don’t want my loss of control to distract someone from the message God has for them. The trouble is, I get so focused on being the vessel, being the instrument for His use, I could miss the message He has for me. And sometimes, the message He has for me requires that I lose control and let Him have His way in me. It’s funny how He uses the very things that could potentially distract us—forgetting lyrics, singing the wrong part, microphones not working, lights malfunctioning, whatever could go wrong going wrong-as a means to seat us precisely where we need to be. I’m learning again and again throughout my life, God’s intent for me to not be in control, and in fact to be okay with a lack of control. He has it all well in His hands, I can trust Him. He is good, He really is.

Wrestling with the necessary...

Renewal. I need it daily, well, if I’m honest, moment to moment, every single day. I am so thankful for the life I have been given. More days than not, I struggle with the motivation to do what is necessary. I like order, I am an organized person, but if I have the choice I’d much rather let the necessary go and run away to do something leisurely instead. At some point the nagging of what is waiting for me to do, the necessary, starts to affect my ability to enjoy the leisurely. It’s a wrestling match every day. Some days, depending on what circumstances are hitting me, the wrestling can be more intense. Finances, relationships, work, school, etc.-and I find they tend to hit in waves of 3’s, never just one thing to deal with at a time. There is always something, and it is always poor timing. Poor timing from my viewpoint, but not from God’s viewpoint. I find as I get a little bit older, have a little bit more life experience under my belt, and with the help and support of several key people in my life, I can find a pause in the midst of the wrestling to check my perspective:

1. Breathe-Trust the Father!
2. Mantra-Pick one, make it yours, repeat several times-Trust the Father!
3. Pray, pray, pray-Trust the Father!
4. Scripture-seek, memorize, return to it throughout the day-Trust the Father!
5. Ask for prayer support-family, friends, prayer circle, Bible study group-Trust the Father!

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 NIV

I’m certain in his time on this earth, even Jesus wrestled a little with the necessary. When we read in scripture his conversation with Father God that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, we get a glimpse of his humanity. He begs His Father if it’s possible, take it from me, let it pass. But the next sentence from His mouth is out of His recognition of His greater purpose. His life, sacrifice, for us. His ownership of the blessed task He has been given, to give of Himself to save us, to save all of us. It makes my necessary seem so miniscule in comparison, so why in the world am I wasting time wrestling with it? Why do I let the circumstances of this life bear any amount of burden on my life, when I have this one amazing reason, this incredible purpose for being here?

This process I choose daily, the renewal, is what sets me on the extraordinary necessary path of fully living out His purpose for me. Those steps I shared earlier, there is a commonality I have throughout: Trust the Father! When I do that, in every step of that process, I know I have fully released. I know I am at peace. I know I am fully aware of my purpose. I know I am seated firmly in His abundant, amazing grace. That’s what makes it all come together. Thank you, Father!

my Ebenezer...

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