On one of my Africa trips, my husband asked one of our local anti trafficking team members what it was like to work with me. This team member said, “well to be honest, your wife is very different now, than when we first started working with her years ago.” My husband asked, “how so?” He proceeded to say that when faced with a problem, I used to just quickly tell them what they should do to fix the problem, as if I always had the answers. “Yet now, she does not do that anymore,” He said, “she stops and asks everyone to pray and to ask God to help us come up with the solution that would be the best. She consults God on everything now, instead of quickly just trying to come up with a solution. She is very different to work with now, which is very nice.”
This conversation made me realize a few things.
Taking control of things in my life comes very natural to me. By nature I have a more dominant personality, so I can easily bulldoze right through relationships if I am not careful. In my younger years of being married and having young kids at home, taking control of what was going on around me was what I did to give myself a sense of security. Yet to be honest, I really never felt secure in who I was or in what was going on around me. I was just barely surviving through these young motherhood days with taking care of a husband and three little children under the age of five, and I did not take time for self reflection.
Through lots of rough roads, I have learned that real security and healthy living comes from a completly opposite spirit than I used to walk in.
Holding on tight and trying to keep control of people and circumstances has brought about a lot of stress and anxiety and huge disapointments through my lifetime. Had it not been for implementing this new action, I do not think my marriage would have survived, nor would my relationships with my grown kids, and other friendships be as strong as they are today.
The action I took that has saved my relationships, and actually gave me a new lease on life by helping me to live differently, is the action of letting go of trying to control my life and the lives of those around me. I have found that releasing control and handing every area of my life to God, has been the most freeing and amazing way to live. To my great surprise, I am walking in peace and security now that I am not hanging on so tight to everything and everyone in my life. In doing this, I have found God to be fully trustworthy. I have tested this letting go thing now for years, and my anxiety and fear of the future has faded significantly. Even when circumstances around me are far from peaceful, i still have an inner peace, that circumstances no longer dictates. The Scripture in Matt 10:39 says, If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
What does releasing control look like for me on a practical level?
Marriage wise, I decided when my husband makes mistakes, or does things differently than I feel he should, that I will not freak out on him and try to fix everything. I will process with him carefully, and increase my prayers for him.
Children wise: Now that my kids are grown and have families of their own, my role has changed with them. When they go through tough stuff, I have learned that the best thing i can do for them is to be available to process, if they want that, yet praying for them, and releasing them to God, has proved to be the most important thing I can do as a mom and has actually made our relationships strong.
For those around me who are making bad choices: Praying for them, and ducking and allowing God to hit (speak or convict) them, is many times more productive than my words could be.
In all my relationships: Being more purposeful with listening, instead of giving my opinion so quickly, has given me more time to hear from God as to what I should say, instead of quickly speaking into a situation.
Regarding our work in Africa: I have come to the conclusion that I do not know what is best each day. Every situation is different and sometimes incredibly overwhelming. I have to hear from God every day as to what He wants me to do and then learn to walk in that. His ways are always way higher than my ways.
As we give up our lives and surrender our full heart and will to the Holy Spirit (God’s spirit), this is when we are able to fully come alive. God’s incredible power becomes activated in our life and God is able to accomplish beautiful things through our lives.
These are just a few of the many things that happen when we choose to give up our lives to God.
We receive power to accomplish whatever God asks of us to accomplish. Acts 1:8 For you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
You will be taught what you need to know for life. John 14: 26 But the Helper the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all things that I said to you.
You will bear much fruit. John 15:5, I am the vine you are the branches, He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.
You will ask for things according to God’s will, and it will be done for you. John 15:8, If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.
God will give us everything we need when we need it. Romans 8:26-29 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know whaat we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he searnces our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.
So my bottem line is this; YOU CAN TRUST GOD WITH YOUR LIFE. Go on ahead and test this theory. Give up, and let go, and hand your life in every area over to God. I can guarantee you, that is when you will really find your life, and the anxiety and stress you have by hanging on so tight, will begin to fade away.