Control Freak

Guest Post: April Mathews

I’ve always considered myself a laid back person. I’m usually the least of anyone’s worries in a group setting. I don’t care where we go for dinner – I’ll find something to eat. I don’t care what we do – we can have fun doing anything. I don’t care that I’m tired or just got off night shift – if you need me, I’ll be there. Jump off a cliff, jump off a plane, I’m down. I’m not easily stressed, annoyed or bothered.

…then 2017 happened.

I faced things in the last year that completely knocked me off my feet in a way I never expected. I was brokenhearted for months. I prayed and prayed, cried, and then prayed some more. As the hurt started to fade, in typical April-fashion, my mindset changed to “ok, what’s next.” I thought to myself, “what’s done is done, and it’s ok. It’s time to move on.”

I know what you’re thinking:

how very mature of me.
Yes, I agree, that’s what I thought too.

But I became consumed with “moving on.” How do I make the best of this situation? What should I do now? Should I change paths? Should I persevere with the previously decided path? What was God trying to teach me?

As we started sharing with friends and family, Christian and non-Christian alike, I found myself ending the story every time with the tagline of “but everything happens for a reason, so we’re just trusting that right now.”

Meanwhile, I poured my fear out to God, begging Him to tell me what to do.

Open a door, show me a path, and give me peace, God.
Please.
I don’t know what to do. I need Your help.
I know You’re in control.
I know You have a plan.
I trust You.
Just show me what to do and I’ll do it.

Days turned to weeks and weeks to months. And still. Silence. I kept praying and waiting. But as I did, the stress started to build.

Time is running out, I need to make a decision. Come on, God.

As the stress and worry built, I realized I had been lying this whole time. I didn’t trust God completely. I didn’t believe He was in control. Even after everything,

I still wanted control.
I wanted to know what was next and when. I wanted to know the plan, and I wanted to work towards it.
I wanted to know why.

My trust had become circumstantial… my peace had become contingent on God showing me what was next. But that’s not trust. God doesn’t ask us to trust Him only when we know what’s next, when He shows us His reasons, His plans. His peace is independent of any of that. He asks us to trust Him in the storm, when we feel like we’re drowning and it’s dark and we don’t know where we are or how to get out.

He doesn’t tell us HOW He’ll show up.
But He tells us, HE WILL.

That’s the basis of our peace. He will show up. It might not look how we thought it would, or happen when we hoped it would. But that’s why He is God and we are not. 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:8-9

And that is enough.

That’s trust. That’s faith.

Here’s what it comes down to:

1. Who God is.

Creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16).

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. | Hebrews 11:4

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. | Jeremiah 1:5

Savior of sinners, of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15).

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungoldly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. | Romans 5:6-8

Lord of all.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father | Philippians 2:9-11

He is all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing.
He is just. He is righteous. He is Lord over all.
2. Who I am.

Child of God.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! | 1 John 3:1

Priest. 

…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. | 1 Peter 2:9

I am protected (John 10:27-28), provided for (Matthew 6:31-32), and blessed (Psalm 65:4). I am near to God and He is near to me (Hebrews 4:8).

So, what does that mean?

That means He is a good, good Father. That means that I am the daughter of a King. A King who created all that I see and know, and who reached down to me when I was actively running away from Him. So, if I call myself a believer and I believe that about the One I am praying to, then I have to believe the rest of what He says, which is this: 

Because of who He is, I can trust my Father (Jeremiah 17:7-8) in ALL things. He provided eternity for me, He will provide today for me.

I have “boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him” (Galatians 3:12) in this life.

I can bring my prayers to His throne of grace and leave them there. I know He has heard me, and that is enough. I can leave my burdens at His feet in prayer and get up from my knees in freedom (Philippians 4:6-7).

Because of our position in Christ (Galatians 2:4-6), He shows us the “immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

With these things in mind, I let go. I die to my control-freak-self every day. I relinquish control of my career, my marriage, my future children, my ministry, my life. I don’t need to plan. I don’t need to prepare. I don’t need to worry.

That is  f r e e d o m .

My good, good Father doesn’t want me to be burdened by anything. He already died for that! Any burden I hold on to is a rejection of His death and who He says He is.

My prayer then became:

Lord, give me strength for today.
Help me be faithful in what You have given me today.
The rest I leave to You.

I would love to say that the plan became clear, that He opened doors and it all worked out. But I still don’t know the plan. The difference is that I’m okay with that.

I don’t know the plan, but I know the God who does.
And that is enough.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. | 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

So I patiently wait.
I wait for Him.
I wait for His voice.

And then, whether you go to the right or left you will hear my voice saying this is the way you should go. | Isaiah 30:21

AprilMathews-squareApril Mathews is married to Come Awake author Vinay Mathews. She is a pediatric resident at Akron Children’s Hospital, striving to use her role in medicine to love and serve children. She grew up in a home that taught her all she could want to know about Jesus but has been enjoying a true relationship with Him since college. Since then, God has graciously pursued her, as He does for all His children, and she continues to draw closer to Him as He draws closer to her.

2 thoughts on “Control Freak

  1. Beautifully written; relatable at many levels. Pure gospel message comes through only in one who is broken, and that is the place to be for Almighty God’s plan and purpose to be fulfilled in one’s life! Wait, wait on the Lord; He does far beyond man’s limited human expectations…

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