What are you striving for?

Confession: I am a control-freak.

Sometimes it’s beneficial in group situations when there are people who are indecisive where to go to dinner or what to do on a Saturday, to take charge and be the Leader of Fun. Sometimes there’s a situation at work where a project needs to get done and my Type A, take-charge attitude blossoms and is actually celebrated.

There are many times, though, too many for me to count when I don’t let go of what I should.

photo by Marco Belluci
photo by Marco Belluci

I worry.

I stress.

I feed my anxiety.

When I entertain these three, I desire control.

And when I do that, I spin out of control.

My head reels with negativity, fear, and what if’s until I am a blubbering mess, blabbering on and on to my girlfriends who, thankfully, are patient and open to listen.

I’m usually a positive person; I try to find the silver lining in EVERY situation. But when I’m in Control Mode, I’m the exact opposite.

You ever have one of these seasons of life? 

Recently, a situation has presented itself where I want a positive outcome so very badly that I’ve become my controlling, negative self.

A phrase has come to mind over and over again this week:

Stop striving.

I haven’t wanted to listen because that would be counterintuitive to Control Mode Amanda. But those two words still ring in the midst of my clouded thoughts.

Stop striving. 

Have you ever experienced what I’m currently experiencing?

Jesus is very clear about what happens when we take a situation and try to run with it (usually AWAY from Him).

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” John 15:4

When we strive on our own, we become like a branch unattached to the vine:

shriveled

brown

dead

useless to what God wants us to do.

“An anxious heart weighs a man down…” Proverbs 12:25

We quickly become overwhelmed and weak because we’ve run away from the only Source who can provide peace and strength to accomplish what we need to accomplish.

The burdens we carry, whatever they may be: financial trouble, relationship hardships, a dream we may have, life goals, etc. eventually become heavy. And when things are heavy, our strength gives way and we become exhausted.

Are you exhausted?

Are you striving and trying to control something you know is out of your ability?

Jesus said it best:

Come to Me, all you who are WEARY and BURDENED, and I will give you REST. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find REST for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The yoke you are to carry is to simply remain in Him, follow Him, surrender all you are and all you have to Him. Take your hands out of the situations you are trying to control, step back, let go and let God do what He has planned.

I know it’s scary and, to be perfectly honest, I have trouble with this (see very first sentence of this post!). It takes a leap of faith to quiet the tendencies to control, take a deep breath, and surrender to the Lord.

But it’s worth it because God promises He’s got you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to PROSPER YOU, and NOT to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.” Jeremiah 29:11

And

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

And for all my sisters in Christ:

“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” Psalm 46:5

What do you need to surrender? What thing do you need to relinquish control? Let’s talk in the comments! 🙂

*Feature image: Photo courtesy of Bilal Kamoon

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