The title seems odd considering this time of year… Letting Go… at a time when everyone makes resolutions in order to take control of their lives… to change some aspect that they are unsatisfied with or have deemed as unsatisfactory from year to year.
I have my own resolutions… my own goals that I want to accomplish. I have actually become very motivated the past few months to take more control of my life, to create daily/weekly/monthly/yearly (and beyond) goals for myself. I have been inspired by the information provided by people like Tony Robbins and Jim Rohn, among others, and they have influenced the types of goals that I have created. For example, I have spiritual goals, financial goals, work-related goals, academic goals, goals for relationships with various individuals in my life, and the list could go on and on.
So, where does “letting go” come in? In a society where control is valued and dominance is seen as desirable, why is “letting go” a topic that needs to be explored?
Simply put, giving up control to my Creator and the Author of my life story is a theme that God has continued to show me over and over… in my personal study of the Scriptures, in the sermons that my pastor has been preaching the past few months, even in random conversations with friends. I’m sure my pastor and my friends haven’t been conspiring to ensure that every conversation and sermon has been riddled with this message of giving up control… and I also do not believe that it has happened at random.
I’ve found that God speaks to me personally through this method of repetition. As I began to listen to the Lord through my pastor and friends as well as through my personal study, He brought to mind the fact that I tend to be a “control freak.” He brought to mind the many situations in my life where I tend to want to “keep the reins” and not relinquish the control that should be given to my Lord. In fact, He should be “Lord” over every part of my life. In this sweet time of reflection, He showed me the many areas where I have yet to give up control… and how this lack of giving up control has been a sin in my life and has led to even more sin.
After these thoughts, an event in the Bible that I learned many years ago came to mind… the one where Jacob wrestles with God.
“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.” Genesis 32:24-25
I’m not a Bible scholar by any means, but those more knowledgeable than I espouse that this “man” was really the preincarnate Christ. Essentially, this man Jacob wrestled with God! It seems so extraordinary… however, on some level, we do this every day… or I do at least.
Specifically, in my own life, I feel as if I know better than God as to what should happen. I know better than God about the men that I should spend time with and date. I know better than God about interventions that I should employ at work. I know better than God about how to run my Sunday School/Discipleship classes. Again, the list can go on and on. Now, I do not literally say these words, but my actions scream these words as I refuse to let Jesus be Lord of my life in every area of my life. In some sense, I wrestle with God in certain areas of my life. I refuse to relinquish control.
So, in the midst of creating goals and being more productive this year than the last, my prayer is that I learn to let go… I’ve been doing a Bible study called “No Other Gods” by Kelly Minter, and one of the first few pages in the study holds this treasure of a quote.
“A few years ago I was feeling stuck. Stuck with God, people, career, living space, finances, convictions. I constantly cried out to God, ‘Please deliver me.’ My prayers were simple, often alternating between the profoundly passionate and the nearly numb. Where was God? Who was He? What was my life supposed to look like? Were true relationships possible? And on and on… I was not ready for the simplicity of God’s remedy; He wanted to be God in my life.
That quote struck a chord in my heart because I felt God saying, “Macey, I just want to be God in your life too… every part of your life and not just some parts. I have a wonderful plan prepared for your life. Just trust me to take control and lead you.”
My natural tendency (and probably yours too) is definitely not to give up control, and it makes it equally difficult because essentially we are giving up control to an unseen God. But that’s where faith comes in… the faith that brought you to the saving knowledge of Christ is the same faith that will sustain you in the midst of going against your natural tendencies and giving up control to a loving God who just wants to complete His good and prosperous plans for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).
I recently bought a book by Karen Ehman entitled “Let. It. Go. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith.” Perfect for a self-proclaimed control freak, huh? Even though I’ve only read a couple of chapters thus far, she has truly exposed the issues that are foremost in my life today. These two quotes capture the essence of my struggle… my wrestling with God.
“Why are women compelled to control? The answer is simple: because we have a false notion that it actually works. And when it appears that it isn’t working, we think the remedy is found by exerting even greater control. Never in a million years would it cross our conniving minds that the answer in fact lies in letting go, not in tightening our grip. “
“When we go through life looking out for ourselves, taking control rather than trusting God for guidance, making decisions based solely on what’s best for us rather than what will make God famous to those around us, we’re elevating ourselves above God…”
These words are truly humbling and sobering. I don’t know about you, but I’m done with the wrestling. It’s left me weary, dejected, and hopeless. I’m done with elevating myself above God. I’m done with my white-knuckle grip on the reins of my life. I gave Jesus my heart and my trust seven years ago, and today, I’m giving Him control. I’m trusting that Jesus knows what’s best for my life… I’m trusting that He has a great plan for my life filled with good things… and even if this life does not turn out as “I had planned,” it will be perfect simply because my life will be just as He planned.
Believing in the words found above… that If I delight myself in my Savior, then He will give me the desires of my heart. Please don’t get the wrong idea that Jesus “gives blessings to win our affection.” What this means to me is that when I delight myself in Jesus, the desires of my heart will align with His plan for my life and will be desires that He will willingly and lovingly bestow upon His daughter because they will be in accordance with His wonderful plan.
Commitment, trust, and letting go are my main resolutions for the year. What about yours?