Life is funny, sometimes. Or learning about it is. I am sure God is upstairs chuckling at our cluelessness at times.
For most of my life, I struggled with trying to control my life and circumstances. And for most of my life, I had no idea just how hard I was trying to control it. I started to see it one piece at a time. It took me a long time to realize just how deep this need was. This began the process of trying to surrender all to God. Wow, was that hard! You don’t think you are a control freak until you come to terms with needing to let go of everything, including your most treasured parts of life. This also does not happen overnight and it is finished. You will continually try to regain control or recognize that you are trying to hold too tightly again, and struggle to release.
As if that wasn’t hard enough, then came my latest realization. Last year, my life was truly about surrendering those last pieces I was clinging to. For quite some time, I have felt “stuck” in my life. I knew my old one didn’t fit anymore, but I could not seem to find the new one either. (Kinda reminds me of jeans… or at least what I remember, since 14 months into the pandemic pants with a button and zipper are only a distant memory). This stuck feeling is torture. For awhile, I felt like I was waiting on God. But a number of pastors kept saying often when we think we are waiting on God, He is actually waiting on us. Could that be true? It didn’t seem to fit in my circumstances. Surely, I was waiting on Him.
While waiting, I tried really hard to make the best of it. This was another challenge. But, I did know I was sowing a lot of good seeds, and I was believing that eventually, they would have to grow and produce fruit, and I would finally reap a harvest. I started to wonder though, if I wasn’t meant for farming, because not even a sprout appeared. After the loss and betrayal I endured recently, on top of all of the tsunami storms that have swirled in my life these past few years, I was left wondering when was I going to see any positive changes? I had given up and let go of SO MUCH. I basically walked into 2021 with nothing I had before- none of my comforts, none of my security, none of the things I felt Jesus had asked me to lay down and leave behind.
I listen to Christine Caine almost every day. I say her full name only for your benefit, as she is my spiritual big sister. (She just doesn’t know this, not anymore than Joyce knows she is my spiritual grandmother…maybe one day…). Christine often says that we have to go in and take our Promised Land, that God wants us to receive our blessings, but basically they don’t just rain down, we have to slay some giants and lasso the promises in order to grab ahold of them. Although I was hearing this message regularly, it wasn’t really something I was fully understanding.
Monday, I attended a marathon virtual conference. It was better than I had expected, and as I sat their listening to these speakers and marveling about this abundant lives they lead, I found myself questioning why my life was so hard, and why this was so unimaginable to me- why were they so different?
That night, after 11 hours of speakers, I was sitting in quiet trying to start to process all of the information when my son entered the room asking about purchasing another college textbook. I broke down crying. Expenses have been piling up and funds have been drying up, and having spent the last decade being the only financial support, I was overwhelmed. I have given my finances over to God recently, and it is one of the hardest mindset shifts I have ever tried to make. And here again, I was not seeing any positive change from my efforts.
That’s when it hit me. I am standing in my own way. I am holding myself up. And God probably IS waiting on me, and I probably do need to grab ahold of my blessings if I want to receive them. You see, self-doubt has been plaguing me. God has planted mighty dreams in me, but I have been paralyzed. I tell myself I am not ready, I don’t know what I am doing, I can’t do this or that, I need help, I can’t put myself out there, I am too introverted and shy, I am not _____ enough (adjective changes). I know God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. I know God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear and that He tells us to be strong and courageous, and that everything He asks of us is already in us. Why, then, do I have ZERO confidence to move forward? Because the thing is, God is absolutely in control. He is the captain of my ship. I am not even a passenger, I am meant to be the vessel. BUT, as much as I have been preaching to myself that I am not in control, that I can only control how I respond to my circumstances, that I can control my thoughts so they don’t control me AND my emotions… I was blind to the fact that I may have more control than I bargained for. The only catch is, it is not a type of control I want!
I want a life that is very different from the first 42 and almost 1/2 that I have lived. I can describe the ideal, but it seems out of reach for me. I can spout off all kinds of limitations as to why. But the biggest limitation that I never fully understood… may just be ME. I felt something change inside me after this thought hit me. I have been wanting to live a flourishing, abundant life- not by the world’s standards, but by living out God’s will and plan for me. I have prayed and prayed about it, but maybe I have to do more than just want it, maybe I have to chase it. Maybe for my life to BE different, I have to DO different. And that requires facing fear, and fighting until I get the life I want. In seeing someone else’s mortality… I have been struck with just how tragic a life is when someone gets stuck and can’t move forward to what God has intended for them. I do not want my life to end that way. So it is up to me to do my best to be sure it doesn’t… which means I am in control of it.