I don’t pay much attention to my bathroom shower. Don’t get me wrong, I routinely squeegee the glass and wipe down the small bamboo stool. But to be honest, that’s pretty much the extent of the attention I pay the space. After all, it gets a daily washing.
Last week, one of the lights over the bathroom sink went out. My husband replaced the bulb and what a difference light makes! That squeegeed, surface-cleaned shower took on a new appearance.
The seams between the floor and walls needed a little attention and the decorative glass inset was slightly lighter than when originally installed – amazing what lime deposits do to glass.
Bright light can help you see the truth. It changes your perspective.
The way we see the world and the choices we make, form the foundation of how we navigate life. Yet our daily experiences – encounters with our spouse, families, friends, navigating a global pandemic, enduring the world’s inequities – shine a spotlight on the character of our souls.
Have you noticed fear, anxiety, or anger creeping in?
Do you catch yourself blaming, shaming, or accusing?
What is the condition of your soul?
Perhaps, God has given us this time in history to help us pay attention to the grunge forming around the edges of our hearts, revealing minds discolored by our human natures. We each have a choice, become self–absorbed – wallowing in what we’ve lost, missed out on, or want – or stand firm in the gap of gentle-heartedness.
Over the past few years, I have watched people I care about struggle. Heck, I have struggled. But there is one characteristic that I noticed in those that successfully maneuver this endless battle to stay present and opened handed. They each remember they are not in control.
Control is the sludge that forms where our pride meets our self-reliance. It causes us to clench our fists, dig in our heels, and demand that the world spin according to our plans. The more we try to obtain it the more elusive it becomes. Until our focus and obsession to regulate all that surrounds us – gaining more victories, holding tighter to outcomes, piling up our conquests like performance trophies – drives us further away from who we longed to become.
So, how do we clean the dirt in our lives?
Jennifer Dukes Lee, in her Bible study It’s All Under Control, offers this,
“God wants you to enter right into his presence. There is no curtain. There is no veil. The only barriers between you and God…are the ones you put there yourself. God has invited you into an intimate relationship with him, a relationship “with sincere hearts fully trusting him.” Take the risk. Enter in. See God as a Father who desires intimacy with you, with your plans. Trust him with your life. Because of his character, because of his control… because of the cross.”
Entering into a relationship with the Father requires us to do three things.
First, we must know Him. Know his character by studying His Word, the Bible. Second, we must trust Him. Allowing what we’ve learned about Him to penetrate our hearts and guide our behaviors. And finally, surrender. Submit to His plans for our lives, giving up our need to control the outcomes or determine the direction.
Yet, surrendering to an unseen, untouchable God is difficult. It requires us to push past our understanding and lean fully on God’s truth. This intentional leaning is the foundation of our faith – Jesus dying to cover our sins. Once secure on this foundation, we can allow God’s truth to replace our incessant attempts to control. We can finally unfold our hands, releasing our need to determine the outcomes and exhale.
In the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaiah wrote,
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:28-31
Are you weary today from trying to fix the world, your family, or clean the grime creeping up the walls of your life? Do you feel like you cannot take another step, survive another disappointment, or endure another failure?
BeLOVED, you can trust your heavenly Father to give you strength for your weariness and power for weakness. He will shine a bright light showing you the direction you should go.
You can stop your striving and find rest.
He died to set you free.
You can trust Him.
If you are interested in reading more about getting control of your control, read Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book, It’s All Under Control – A journey of letting go, hanging on & finding a peace you almost forgot was possible.