Who? Me? I Am NOT a Control Freak!

Our daughter is preparing for the birth of her first baby in the days ahead.  There has been talk about a possible c-section and she was making plans for the day she wanted to have it done.  As we talked, it occurred to me that even though she’s been in the driver’s seat most of her life, the baby was calling the shots this time.  This was a matter that even though being able to dictate the time and day would be convenient and a lot easier to prepare for, in this situation, it was not that easy.  Throughout the conversation you could see a light come on when she finally realized, “I am not in control of this matter at all; rather this little one with soon to be poopy pants holds all the power.”  As a matter of fact, even her doctor picked up on her desire to plan this unplannable situation out and said, “Yes, even control freaks can have babies!”

We laugh about it, but there are times when I think needing to control everything is not good for our spiritual growth.  We serve a Supernatural God and there is nothing about Him that we can control if we truly want to experience Him in His fullest.  There are many who “control” their spiritual lives allowing only the known to be a part of their daily walk with God.  However, it is those precious times when God shows up on the scene and makes Himself known that encourages me and strengthens my walk.  These times reinforce that I am not serving a distant or uncaring God; rather, He is right here beside me all the way.

The world we live in teaches us in certain areas of our lives to make things happen…take control of your destiny…if you don’t do it, no one else will.  You’ve heard those comments before haven’t you?  Just like the man in my photo today though, often the ropes that we play tug of war with trying to maintain control and have our way have a funny way of wrapping themselves around us…holding us in bondage day after day.  At some point, we begin to look silly for hanging onto those things that bind us.  At one point the man in the photo was confidently tugging and fighting to stay in control.  Eventually, he found himself tangled in a mess of ropes, wondering just how he got to that point.  Trying to serve God while maintaining control of everything in our lives is almost as silly as us telling our daughter to hold it until we can be there for the birth of our grandchild.  It just doesn’t happen.

We see God work miracles in the Bible over and over.  So why do we pause to question it when He does today?  Is He not the same God today as yesterday?  If I believe in the Bible, I must also believe that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is never changing.  One thing that I gleaned from the book titled, Forgotten God by Francis Chan, was the fact that God is Creative.  He in fact is the Creator.  He doesn’t do the same trick over and over so to speak.  Instead, He shows His power in a variety of ways and rarely does the same miracle twice.  So why are we surprised when He does something miraculous in our lives that we’ve never experienced before?

I get excited when I see Him at work and rejoice in the fact I serve a Living God.  Yes, sometimes when He shows Himself in a situation, it is surprising and catches us off guard.  However, we can’t control God.  If we continue to choose to keep Him safely in His box we have created for Him, we will never enjoy all He has to offer in this life.  When we learn to allow God to hold the reigns of our life and control our comings and goings, we will be free indeed to experience His miraculous power in our lives.  Yes, even control freaks can learn to let go and let God!  And when they do…it is a beautiful thing!

What are you holding onto that you know if you let go of, God could do a much better job handling?  Have you judged someone because they had an experience in the manifest presence of God?  Just because God didn’t show Himself to you in that way, do you automatically think something’s wrong with them?  We can’t go through life chasing emotional spiritual experiences—that’s a fact.  However, when we finally get to the place of letting go and letting God, He is free to show Himself in bigger ways than before.  He loves to be in the driver’s seat…taking us to destinations unknown…ones He knows will bless our socks off!

May you be freed from those things you feel the need to control and bask in the freedom of God’s Spirit this week.

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

When Life Feels Like it’s Spinning Out of Control…

We all love being in control, don’t we?  There are times in all of our lives though that it seems like all we do is wander aimlessly and no matter how hard we pray, nothing happens.  When we pray and God doesn’t answer immediately or even for years in some circumstances, we start falling into that “things are definitely out of control” mode and begin to panic.  When in reality, if we are praying and trusting God for answers, things are not out of control at all.  God hears our prayers and honors them–He is in total control once we’ve prayed. Satan would just like for us to think God’s not listening and that things out of control.

Today I was driving down the road following a big white Cadillac.  It was moving rather slowly and my first reaction was to be annoyed with their speed.  I was trying to make it on time for an appointment and they were starting to make it impossible to be on time.  I had an agenda and they were in my way!  However, as I looked closer, it appeared from the back of the car that there was in fact no one driving the vehicle!  There was not one head of a driver or passenger to be seen above the front seat head rests anywhere.  I quickly turned my frustrations of their slowness into laughing. I couldn’t see anyone driving, but I knew since the vehicle was stopping, starting and turning on turn signals 500 feet before they turned, someone was behind the wheel.  I don’t know why it is funny, but it just is because you know there is some little old man or old woman behind that wheel and they’re probably sitting on a pillow!

I realized with this scenario that I could choose to be entertained and laugh or I could be upset.  The one thing I knew was that I was no longer in control of my schedule; rather the person in front of me was.  There was nowhere I could go but just stay in the lane I knew would eventually get me there—the one I thought was going to get me there on time.

How many times are our plans and agendas stopped or slowed down by things we cannot control like slow moving vehicles in our path?  We have all been  in situations where we had a plan for our lives, prayed about it, stepped out in faith, and now things just aren’t working out as we had hoped.  Why is it when we pray about things that God doesn’t just make them happen? He seemed to say, “OK,” when we were making the plans, but now it just seems that He doesn’t care or isn’t listening as nothing seems to be going our way.   Boy this is the time where the enemy arises and puts all kinds of questions and doubts in our minds.  He really wants us to believe that God doesn’t care. If he is allowed, he will turn our focus onto things that really don’t matter in the big scheme of things, while taking our focus off of what God is actually doing in our circumstances.

I have recently been learning how to knit and to say the least, the experience has been interesting.  My goal is to make dishcloths like what my mom used to knit every Christmas for her kids and grandkids to have in their kitchens every year.  As I started following the pattern yesterday to make my first one, it just wasn’t looking right.  It’s supposed to end up square when it’s done but it was beginning to take on the shape of, of, of, I’m not sure what.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t looking like a dishcloth, though!  However, as I continue to work the pattern row by row, slowly but surely, it is starting to take form and I do believe when it is done, I may have a dishcloth!  It might not be perfect, but with a little practice, I bet the next one is wonderful!

Reflecting on today’s happenings, I am reminded that even when I can’t see God behind the wheel of my life, I have to have faith that He is there.  He sends signals here and there with unexpected happenings and/or blessing and we just have to teach ourselves to focus on those signs along the way and trust.  We may look at our dishcloths in life and think it is never going to be right even when we thought we were following the pattern exactly.  The same goes for our lives.  We can read God’s Word and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we have to have faith that the outcome will be what God perfectly designed for our lives, even when it looks nothing like we imagined.

If we could always see the driver and the final outcome of our life’s dilemmas, why would we need God?  God uses these dry times in our lives to teach us and help us grow closer to Him.  Instead of panic and dismay, my prayer for you today is that even when you have that out of control feeling and think that life has thrown you another lemon, I hope you will find laughter instead of the turmoil that comes when we feel out of control and unloved by God. Have faith, He is still driving. As a matter of fact, the outcome He has planned for your situation is going to be a masterpiece.  Perhaps if it were a washcloth, it would win a blue ribbon at the county fair for workmanship!

Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your joy.  Stay focused and trust that God has things under control.  Rather, laugh at your enemy that he has once again tried to cause you to stray and once again failed.  For when we are able to give up total control and trust, we can once again find the supernatural peace
and joy that only God can give.  Your answers may not come today nor even tomorrow, but rest assured they will come in God’s time. May His peace and joy be yours today while you wait and trust the Creator of the Universe to work it all out!

1 Peter 1:6-9   In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen,you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

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