From, A Control Freak
Proverbs 19:21 (ESV) says
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Once I found this scripture, I found where my peace lay.
Whether you’ve lived your entire life with this knowledge, or it’s something you happened upon recently: God has a perfect plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Something that I constantly struggle with is not feeling like I am doing the “right” thing; I frequently try to figure out what it looks like (key word: LOOKS) to be a Christian and do God’s will. As my life continued to change, and my stockpile of excuses began to dwindle, I noticed that I was not authentic in my walk. Last month, I wrote out the story of my salvation experience, and there it was, plain as day, years and years and years of an inauthentic relationship with God.
I was raised in the Baptist Church, I attended private Protestant school, and I was baptized as a little girl. I went to every church function you can imagine (even the Southern Baptist Convention conferences..like, why was I there??) and by the time I was 18 my identity was tied to actions and abstinence. I was a virgin (never been kissed and laughably prude), I’d never tasted alcohol or smoked anything, and these things became a HUGE focus of my "relationship" with Christ. Looking back, it was so silly.
When I got to college I made the decision (3 times in 3.5 years) to pursue Christ. As you can probably glean from the first paragraph, those attempts were not coming from a place of true desire to know Him so they failed. I’ll share the full story one day, but right now we are talking about control. When exploring what went wrong in my alleged attempts to grow in my relationship with Christ, I found an alarming number of the wrong reasons.
The desire to fit into the culture of church, speaking Christianeze and attending a church function 4 or 5 days out of the week.
Making a decision to “follow Him” as an alternative to engaging in sin, as opposed to a true desire to be close to Him.
Saying I’d do it because that’s what I was supposed to be doing, but never desiring it.
I wanted to look like a Christian, but I did not want to be a Christian. I wanted to look like Jesus and I "went way way back", but I didn’t want to put in the work to actually be able to say that. It looked cute in pictures and felt fun at church with my friends, but it wasn’t nearly as real as it could have been.
Fast forward to last night, my friend was talking to me about something she read and it was basically about how many of our lives are lacking in prayer but we are so quick to speak about how much we love God. This resonated with me deeply, and it made me remember how it felt to write a 1,750 word story of my salvation experience, and only see authenticity in the last 500 words. My experience is filled to capacity with the desire to look the part, but, as my friend suggested (or maybe the book suggested it...I’m not sure) we will look the part if we would “be” the part.
I titled this “From, a Control Freak” because I am noticing many patterns in my life that I have created to control my image. I pore over my life and rationalize what I want to do and how I want to do it, and then I do it and put God’s name on it. As I am growing in my authenticity, I am growing in my knowledge and trust of Him, and gaining the ability to relinquish control.
Relationships grow because of time spent tending them; for all of the years I spent claiming God and not in prayer or meditation, it’s amazing that I thought we had a relationship. Just like any other relationship, the more time you spend, the more you know that person’s likes and dislikes and you make decisions based on what you have learned about them.
It is the same with God, if we will be who He wants us to be, people who exalt His Word and spend time in prayer, everything else will become clear. We will understand our purpose in specific friendships, careers and organizations, and we will not be so caught up with exactly where we go, how we go, who we talk to or what we do. Our lives will be aligned with our relationship with God and we will know that because we abide in Him (John 15:7), we are doing the “right” thing.
My own action item is to spend more time tending to my relationship with Him and less time planning. I want to know Him and allow that relationship to influence all of my subsequent decisions and have confidence that I am everything that I need to be because I am His.
A Recovering Control Freak