2 Peter 2:19
I’ve been thinking a lot about our freedom in Christ lately. This probably has something to do with the fact that I just finished reading Beth Moore’s Breaking Free and am reading another book for Thomas Nelson by Brian Tome called Free Book. One thing I’m realizing is that the second statement Peter makes in the above quote is SO true. Whatever overcomes me — whatever overpowers me — is my master. I am a slave to it. I am not free if I am overcome or mastered by something.
I find that when I ask God in prayer to do something that will make me more like Him, He is always faithful to answer. My most recent prayer of that sort was that He would reveal to me what I might be allowing myself to be enslaved to. For many long years I have been a slave to shame, fear, and more. But Paul tells us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) As a believer I am indwelt by His Spirit and should be living in freedom! And I desperately want to live free in Him! That prayer was from the deepest part of my heart.
“Okay, get on with it! What was mastering you this time?” you ask!
One word. Control. I was slave to the need to be in control. I needed not only to control my day and my time. I needed to control my husband and my children. Especially my children. And when I lost control and could not do anything to regain it, I finally hit my knees in prayer. Weeping in frustration at the situation, I cried out for His help. He didn’t. At least, not like I expected.
Instead he used a friend to point out that the real issue wasn’t my child’s behavior. It was my heart towards him and towards HIM. This friend kindly mentioned that in times like what I was experiencing, she found herself doing what she could to turn the situation the way that she wanted it — not necessarily doing what was best for the child. In that moment, I felt very much like David when Nathan confronted him with his sin (2 Samuel 12). I was devastated that I was trying to play God!
My attempts to control brought out the worst in all of us. It brought out my anger and frustration. It highlighted my worry. You see, my need to control came from a need to be the perfect parent, have a perfect child, and look perfect to the outside world! I was constantly worrying about every detail of the day in order to achieve perfection.
That’s not how Jesus tells us to live. He tells us to seek His Kingdom and all the rest will be handled by the Father!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
And you know, I find that when I am seeking His Kingdom, not only do I not have to worry. I simply don’t worry! He is Sovereign. There is nothing that will happen that is out of His hands. He isn’t surprised. He doesn’t expect me to be in control of my world. He only expects me to submit myself to Him. To His Spirit prompting and leading me. And when I do that, I am walking free!
As He broke me in that prayer time, that was the great hope that He showed me. Letting Him worry about all the details takes a HUGE burden off me. All I need to “worry” about is worshiping Him. In every aspect of life. And you know, when I let go of the need to control, I got an extra blessing. Yes, my heart was at peace. Even joyful! But my son then also relaxed. The struggle for control ended when I gave it up to Him. That doesn’t mean that I don’t discipline my son for incorrect behaviors. It doesn’t mean that I’m not seeking to use wisdom in all I do. But it does mean that I’m not letting the worry of it all overcome me.
What I’m finding is that when I let go of control, I actually find life to appear more in control! When I surrender to His control, then I am free to enjoy my children, my husband, and my life fully. More importantly I am free to enjoy HIM fully! No longer am I so concerned about doing everything “right.” Not that I shouldn’t seek to live a holy life, but I know that when I fail (and I will fail) He isn’t shocked and He has a plan! What an AWESOME God!