Letting Go of Control

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Today, we begin to look at the R.E.S.T. acronym from this past weekend’s message. The “R” in R.E.S.T stands for “Release,” which means to let go of what you can control.

Anyone who has ever attended a 12-Step Meeting will be able to identify the beginning of this prayer:

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

It is commonly known as the Serenity Prayer. This portion is recited at the beginning of each gathering by millions of addicts, their friends, and families in thousands of meetings all over the world every week. But most people have never heard the second part of the of the prayer, as written by author Reinhold Neibuhr:

Living one day at a time;

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

taking, as He did, this sinful world

as it is, not as I would have it;

trusting that He will make all things right

if I surrender to His Will; (my emphasis)

that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with Him

forever in the next.


Every phrase of this prayer suggests releasing our concerns to God, trusting him to affect his will in our lives. It reaffirms that he loves us, wants the best for us, and is on our side both now and in the future.

If anyone had good reason to question God’s plans for him, it was David, the second king of Israel. The prophet Samuel anointed David at a very young age as the next king of Israel. Yet, for the next 15 years, not only was David NOT the king of Israel, but he was pursued for a long time as a fugitive by King Saul. Saul was determined to have his son Jonathan follow him on Israel’s throne. David, on the other hand, decided to release what he could have changed by force to God, in whom he had placed his trust. This is what he sang on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul:

Psalm 18:1-2

1 I love you, Lord;

 you are my strength.

2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;

 my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.

He is my shield, the power that saves me,

 and my place of safety.

What does it mean that God is our strength, our rock, our fortress, and our savior? I believe it means we can trust him with all things – those things we ‘think’ we can control as well as those we know we cannot.

What does that look like today? What do we think we can control? Work, cell phone usage, emails, texts, chores, other people?

When you take a day off from work, you are trusting that God can provide more in 6 days than you can provide on your own in 7 days.

Studies show that it is important to take a day off and to build rest/breaks in our daily schedules. A study by the University of Illinois had these findings:

  1. Adequate rest add years to your life.
  2. You focus better at work when you take time off work weekly.
  3. Completely withdrawing from work regularly reduces the likelihood of heart disease.

Not only that, but a Sabbath rest is one of the Big 10 (commandments):

Exodus 20:9-10

9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.

Will you release your schedule and trust God at his word as David did? One way to find out!

Do you make resting and taking time off a priority in your life? How do you feel during and after those intentional days off or rests? How can you incorporate a Sabbath rest into your schedule?

Next Steps:

List your top 10 priorities from 1 (most important) to 10 (least important). Now be honest and assess how much time you give to each. Check whether your time allocation matches the level of priority. Commit to working regular rests into your schedule. Give yourself a break!

Father, thank you so much for your love for me! Thank you for your good plans for me. Thank you for working all things that happen in my life together for my good and according to your will. Help me to trust you so that I can let go of things that keep me from you. I trust that you are enough. Amen.

This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people who God used to start CedarCreek 21 years ago, and was on staff until 2013. She and her husband Mike love to travel the country in their motor home with their kitties Jane & Mary. Lauri is passionate about prayer, and about helping women discover who they are in Christ. She doesn’t tweet but you can follow her and Mike’s adventures on Facebook.

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