Control, Trust and Our Little Boxes

My current car-less lifestyle has caused me to slow way down.  The previous two months I was running like crazy, sometimes coming and going from my place 5 different times a day.  It’s not my favorite way to do life, but I had briefly committed to more than I should have.  My life these past few weeks has looked drastically different, but I think it’s just what the Father intended. He’s sneaky like that.

Things have been bubbling up the past several months. My car breaking down (again) only 4 days after I returned from the U.S. seemed to be the final straw to me realizing that all of my self-perceived control over my life had been taken away.  Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but it’s how I felt.

I never really thought that I needed or even liked to be in control, and in a lot of outward areas in my life I honestly don’t.  I can be very go with the flow.  I can adjust to new circumstances and cultures without a whole lot of difficulty, and I believe that I’m a fairly easy person to get along with.  When plans change I’m pretty adaptable.

But apparently there are lots of areas in my life where it absolutely drives me crazy that I am not in control, and the realization of that has been a bit of a tough pill to swallow.

This process has been wrecking me.

I like to know what the expectations are of me and be able to meet them.  I like to know the rules so that I can play the game and win fairly.  Dos and don’ts help me know if I’m doing things the right way and measuring up – to others standards, God’s and my own.  I prefer things to be straightforward.

The reality is that much of life and journeying with Jesus isn’t like this.  My 20s have been quite eye opening.

The more I know the Father, the more I don’t actually know, and things aren’t as cut and dry as I once believed.

God is not inside the box that I’ve created for Him.  When I look for Him there these days He’s no where to be found.

For a girl who’s been a pretty dedicated Christian for the past 17 years this has caused a huge perspective shift, worldview change and a major lifestyle alteration.

My black and white Christianity no longer exists.  That cookie cutter has been broken. All of those grey areas that I previously wanted to avoid don’t seem (quite) as scary anymore.  Believe me though, a few years ago they terrified me.

Just to clarify, I in no way mean that I don’t believe in absolute truth.  I 100% do.  There are many non-negotiables and straightforward Biblical teachings.

I’m talking about the grey areas.  The “room for interpretation” areas.  The preferences.  The cultural and societal norms of right and wrong and this way or that way.  Traditions that are taught as truth. Personal standards held up and imposed as the standard.

God continues to tear away at my precious box. He gently encourages me to keep opening up my hands and loosen my grip on those things that I can’t control anyway.

When I stop and look at it, He’s actually leading me into more freedom.

In the process it’s revealing my heart and showing me that deep down I still don’t trust God as much as I thought I did with particular areas of my life.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the fruits of the Spirit, of someone walking in step with the Father. When we find ourselves bearing the “fruits” of anxiety, worry, stress, hopelessness, depression or apathy we should pay attention and not let these things go unchecked in our lives.

For me personally, some of these “fruits” have highlighted my control and trust issues. I know that this is not how I am made to live. I am made for abundant life. Life full and overflowing. A life filled with faith and hope and love. A life of freedom and joy.   To love and to be loved for who I’ve been created to be.

We all are.

We have to decide who’s worth our trust. We must throw fear back into the pits of hell. We have to learn to lean into hope and faith.

Let’s let go of control and step into deeper trust.  Let’s wade through the muddy waters together and find out who God really is and how that changes everything.

Things most likely won’t turn out like we plan, but I have a hunch that in the end we’ll look back and say that it was worth it.

 

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