With my cell phone on the table next to me, I get excited when I hear the unique ring tone that indicates a call from someone special. You see this past year I have been navigating the ups and downs of a new relationship. More than navigating, I have been seeking to control the way it will play out.
It’s all an illusion, though. My own feeble attempt to fool myself into believing I have control. That by seeking to control the day to day interactions, I can somehow diminish the worry that I feel. The dis-ease that floods over me at unexpected moments, and in unforeseen situations.
You see, there have been some dark and isolating times in these past five years. Disappointments from interactions on dating websites. COVID-19 quarantine woes. Fear of rejection.
So much so that I try to hold tight to this relationship. Trying to control the past feelings of isolation, while struggling to prevent it from seeping into the present and overwhelming me. Seeking out control makes me believe I can actually guide where this relationship is going.
Yet in reality, I have no authority over another human heart. I dare not command the behaviors of another. And try as I might, I cannot see into a crystal ball and anticipate what the future holds for us as a couple. It is only the emotions of my own heart which I can direct.
So all I can do is relinquish my power to the One who orders my days and guides my sometimes sleepless nights. And when I do this, “The peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding will guide my mind and heart.” (Philippians 4:6)
Oh, to experience such peace!
There are no special things I can do to receive Christ's peace except for prayer. And to allow Christ to take control of my life. When I do this, only then will the worry of the future cease, and freedom will be mine, at last.
That’s how it is for me and my Lord. The life I have chosen to live. It’s not a magical wand waved over this relationship. It’s just my own heart-level trust of Christ. And it’s the grace and peace which God offers to me when I surrender the control I never really had.
At the very heart of me, I know that God wants the absolute best for me. The most healthy, romantic relationship possible. The most fulfilling vocation while serving as chaplain. The best health I can achieve. The love and support of family and friends. God wants this for me, and so much more.
I don’t get to just sit back and have it handed to me. On the contrary, I have my part to play in this all by offering my best. Yet ultimately, even as I give my best in all aspects of my life, I have no real control.
And that unhinges me.
So I turn to God‘s word and find comfort in God’s promises for God’s people through the ages….and for me today:
Jeremiah 29:11- “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.”
Joshua 1:9- “I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Proverbs 3:5-6- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know God in all your paths,and God will keep your ways straight.”
Psalm 37:4-6- “Enjoy the Lord, and the Lord will give what your heart asks. Commit your way to the Lord! Trust God! The Lord will act and will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like high noon.”
Psalm 28:7- “The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts God. I was helped, my heart rejoiced, and I thank God with my song.”
Romans 8:28- “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to God’s purpose.”
Psalm 9:10- “Those who know Your name trust You because yYu have not abandoned any who seek You, Lord.”
Isaiah 41:10- “Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.”
The assurance of God‘s care and concern for me is quite overwhelming. And because I am anything but perfect, there are times I struggle to relinquish control even knowing God has my back.
Yet looking back over my life, I see evidence of God‘s faithfulness.
God has provided for me in profound ways. Pouring out blessings during times of hardship. Showing me the joy that exists even on the most challenging days. Sending people into my life to walk with me through life‘s difficult times. Offering vocational opportunities and guidance that have allowed me to use my spiritual gifts. Showing me how to live a life of gratitude.
Replaying God’s role in the movie that is my life is overwhelming. I am stunned at the never-ending presence of God, day in and day out. And I am oh so very grateful.
But it all comes with a cost. A price I am willing to pay because of the price the Lord paid for me. I gladly offer my trust and faithfulness. In return, God will continue to provide abundant blessings.
Relinquishing control unhinges me. I slip up. I try to take over. I try to manage and control things on my own. And the thing is, God lets me. While I am left to my own agenda, God is there watching and gently guiding.
Then, when I am ready to allow God to steer my life once again, God shows up. God helps me pick up the pieces and get back on track from the side trips that have taken me away from God’s direction.
I am grateful to be so beloved by God that this continues to happen. That God never gives up on me. And I do trust, and I will continue to trust. I will allow God to guide me in this new relationship, seeing how it all unfolds in God’s time. Celebrating the outcome (whatever it is) that is rooted in the trust of One bigger than me.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
What are you holding tightly to? What are you trying desperately to control? What can you offer God right now? Is it your heart? Is it your fears? Your addictions? How about your daily agenda? Your relationships?
Believe it or not, God wants it all! God wants YOUR all! God desires you to offer up the vision for your life. To give God control of the things that really matter. And to “...let the peace that comes from Christ control your heart and thoughts. And to be grateful.” (Colossians 3:15)
Loving Lord, it seems so overwhelming to give up control. Yet I know that when I do, there is a new freedom that comes because You are the one helping me live my best life possible. It’s so amazing that Your love for me is so vast that even my day to day living matters to You. Show me each day how to put my trust in You. Thank You. Amen.
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