Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder … I was shocked! I thought everyone was tied up in knots, trying to be all things for all people. Although I had been a Christ follower for 20 years at that point, I still had no idea how to tap into Jesus’ “peace that surpasses understanding” (Philippians 4:7 ESV). Sadder still, I didn’t know what I was missing.
In that state of mind and spirit, I continued to be a control freak—I mean expert—honing my skills at being ever so “helpful” to everyone by interjecting myself into their every dilemma to give them what “they wanted.” I did want to help provide answers to their problems, but what I really wanted was their approval. I was listening to that lifelong approval-addicted voice in my head and driving everyone nuts.
As Lead Pastor Ben Snyder pointed out during the weekend message, that is NOT what Jesus wants for us. Why? Because we make a mess of being in control. And what we want is not always what he wants. Fortunately, what God wants is for us to receive the true peace that can only come from living out his will.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your way, take up your cross, and follow me.”
In other words, recognize this one eternal truth: God is in control, not us. Accept that there will be suffering, and live life as Jesus teaches us to. I learned this through the gifts of many emotionally and physically painful events and trials over the years. What a blessed gift they all turned out to be. God taught me two things:
- Peace is not the absence of strife but the presence of Christ in my life every minute of every day as I go through strife.
- God’s ways are trustworthy. Putting every situation and fear into God’s hands is the only way to maintain perfect peace through every failure, health issue, disappointment, and loss of life.
So, as the saying goes, “Let go and let God.” Because when you decide to go “Rambo” in response to situations or sit frozen in fear, you rob yourself and others of the blessings that come from turning off your reactivity and demands to have your own way. Why? Because these choices are only a means of temporarily escaping your fears of “losing the control” you never had in the first place.
Are you allowing your own view of things to prevent you from living a life empowered by faith, grace, and God? If so, why?
Examine your thought process and how it affects your daily life. Are your life choices evidence that you believe you are the master of your earthly and eternal destiny and not God?
Do you trust God to provide what you truly need in every eventuality in this life? Do your choices reflect that? If not, why?
Let go of your delusions that you are the greatest power in the universe and can plot your path better than the one true God. Then turn your life over to God by asking for forgiveness for your sin of pride (and all that comes with it) and acknowledging that your eternal life is safely in his hands through the gift of Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection. Then accept the gift of eternal life from God through the powerful, perfect work of Jesus.
Father God, thank you for a love so large and deep I cannot possibly understand but accept with open arms. I am a sinner, imperfect and unworthy. But I know you love me anyway or you wouldn’t have sent your perfect son, Jesus, to save me from the cost of my transgressions. Lord, please use me to serve you and bless others as I grow ever closer to you. Please remove all the internal barriers I put up to protect myself from what “might” happen, and instead, help me turn the care of my life over to you. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray. Amen.
This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.
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