“Do you love me more than these?” And my enthusiastic reply is always, “Yes Lord, I do!” Well, I think I do… I know I want to… But how? How do I let go of those things that I hold so dear? And why are they so important to me anyway?
I can relate to Paul when he proclaimed, “Those things I should do, I do not and those things I should not do, I do.” (Romans 7:19) Is it that my possessions are so vast and mighty? Is it that my power is so influential and respected? Or that my fame is known throughout the land? Or that my riches and fortune have filled my storehouse and I have no room to receive more? I can assure you, this is not the case --- My family lives a comfortable life, but there are thousands more you have far more. And as far as power goes, well, let’s just say, I have very little. I’m told that my power is the power of influence, which often times leaves me feeling like a used car salesman, always trying to convince others that what I have to say is worth listening to. And fame and fortune? To date, I haven’t won the lottery or acquired some huge windfall and I have yet to experience having so much that I’m at a loss to know what to do with it.
Could I live without possessions, fame, and fortune? I’d like to think so. But what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not “the stuff” that I need, rather it’s what “the stuff” gives me. The stuff gives me a sense of control. During my teen years, one of my favorite songs was Control by Janet Jackson: “I’m in Control. Never gonna stop. Control. To get what I want. Control. I like to have a lot. Control. Now I’m all grown up.” I loved singing Control about the house with an attitude, you know the ‘tude---a swish of the hair, hands on the hip, neck rolling, and the ‘I dare you’ stare. I loved envisioning myself as having it all together. Having a plan. Having confidence. Knowing where I was going, and how I was going to get there. I was in control or at least I thought I was.
And as I grew older, “stuff” helped me feel more in control. A solid career with a steady income, which meant that the kids would be fed and the family would have a roof over its head---CONTROL. A reputable position, which meant I’d be respected. Others wouldn’t speak ill of me (well at least not to my face) and I’d have something to be proud of---CONTROL. Supervisory positions, which meant I could orchestrate the lives of others and not have many orchestrate mine. I’d have the power to get what I wanted and could make things happen---CONTROL. Take charge of group projects or committees; that was me. People loved having me, I’d do all the work. I had confidence in my abilities and I didn’t have to rely on others. CONTROL. CONTROL. CONTROL.
I hungered for a sense of security and I worked hard to keep everything neat and tidy and predictable. There was probably nothing worse for me than feeling or being out of control. I hated uncertainty. I hated to depend on others. Let’s face it; I hated feeling out of CONTROL!
I recall early on in my marriage, Derrick and I had invited his parents over for lunch. I’d cleaned the house, made the meal, and even made some homemade lemonade. I have a habit of pouring a full glass of whatever, but usually only drink half. This drove Derrick crazy. So as I went to sample the lemonade, he issues a, “I hope you’re going to drink all that you pour, so you don’t waste the lemonade, as usual.” Well that didn’t sit well with ‘Miss Independent’, ‘Miss You’re Not the Boss of Me’. So what did I do, I poured a whole cup, sipped it slowly and sweetly and then left half of the lemonade on the counter, unfinished, and sauntered off. Well of course this irks Derrick and so he follows me with the glass, “You need to finish your lemonade. Don’t you know they’re starving children in Africa who’d love to have a glass of lemonade?” And as I turn to respond, I knock the glass out of his and (by accident of course). And there sat a puddle of lemonade on the floor. Now we’re both in a power struggle, “I’m not cleaning it up, you clean it.” “They’re your parents, you clean it”. There the puddle sat and my in-laws arrive and my perfectly arranged luncheon is ruined because neither of us was willing to relinquish control. (And bless the hearts of my in-laws who just stepped over the puddle, and carried on as if the floor wasn’t sticky and as if the luncheon was the best they ever attended). I could easily have poured a half a glass of lemonade, after all, wasting wasn’t prudent and I could have cleaned the floor, I after all, was being petty and stubborn. But my need to be right and to be in control outweighed my ability to surrender.
Yet, this is exactly what God wants from each us---He wants us to be “Out of Control”, so that He can regain control—control of our lives, our plans, our hopes, our dreams, our hearts. The Bible is full of texts that support our need to surrender or to be “Out of Control” --- (Proverbs 19:21, Romans 8:28, Isaiah 45:6,7, Matthew 19:26, Isaiah 55:8-11, Proverbs 16:9, Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 14:24, Hebrews 2:8, Exodus 9:16, and Psalm 37:23).
So go ahead, remind yourself over and over again, “I’m Out of Control.” And then simply allow God to be in control. Once you learn to:
- Release your need for independency because you know that you can fully depend on Him,
- Build your self-confidence only because of your confidence in Him,
- Let go of your uncertainties because of your certainty in the perfection of His plan and purpose for your life, and
- Learn to experience the freedom of being “Out of Control” because you know He’s in control,
Then you too can begin to experience the sweet joy of a surrendered life.
Go ahead, let your hair down and experience an “Out of Control” life.
Memory Verse of the Week: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
- What are your thoughts about Romans 7:19?
- Describe your desire or need to be in control. Is that need in a particular area in your life
- Describe events or experiences or feelings that may have led to your need to be in control.
- What other need or void might being in control fulfill for you?
- What “stuff” in your life gives you a sense of being in control?
- What’s your greatest fear of relinquishing control?
- How do these scriptures speak to you (Proverbs 19:21, Romans 8:28, Isaiah 45:6,7, Matthew 19:26, Isaiah 55:8-11, Proverbs 16:9, Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 14:24, Hebrews 2:8, Exodus 9:16, and Psalm 37:23)?
- Imagine your life “Out of Control”, with God “In Control”. What would that life look like?
- What steps can you take today to get “Out of Control”, relinquishing all control to Him?