I had my life all planned out. I’d get married right after college, have two kids, land the perfect job as a news anchor, and basque in my always happy family and my never rocked world. Sounds good right? Only problem was my plan differed greatly from God’s. So when life took unexpected turns, I was left shaken.
My most critical error was in two words: my plan.
I had life all accounted for that I forgot to account for God’s will. I assumed He wanted for me what I wanted for me because, well, I wanted it! Ultimately I was trying to control my days instead of trusting them to Jesus.
So when my boyfriend, now husband, took four years to propose instead of one. My plan was thwarted and my attitude was sour. I nagged, pressured, cried, and nearly wrecked our relationship because I didn’t trust God with that season.
I look back at that time now and wonder what mission did I miss while my attention was focused on my desires instead of God’s? What blessing didn’t I see in the waiting? Perhaps our relationship wasn’t strong enough to withstand the weight and responsibility of marriage at that point. I wonder if I’d have released my idea of control, I’d have experienced God’s peace instead of panic.
Life is full of moments where we must choose to either grasp at the illusion of control or surrender control to the One who truly has power to work things for our good and His glory.
Most recently, I had to practice releasing control over my professional plans and surrendering my future to God. I cried to my husband over a dream seemingly lost, when things don’t work out it’s ok to mourn, but ultimately I asked Jesus to step in and make my work whatever He desired it to be. Why? Because I know He’s good and His plan for me is good too.
Knowing that I’ve asked God to jump in the driver’s seat and navigate a seemingly impossible professional road helps me stay peaceful when setbacks. If He leads me to wait, I will learn in the waiting. If He leads me to go, I will trust His power goes with me. And if I mess up, I will trust my Sovereign God can redeem my failure for good.
Basically, with God, we can’t go wrong. We have nothing to lose releasing our plans and control to Jesus. We have everything to gain. We gain peace and comfort, and release stress and fear.
Practically the process of releasing control and picking up peace looks different for everyone. But for the believer it starts with prayer and truth. We lay out every worry, frustration, doubt, fear, plan, everything we’re trying to hold onto, and we transfer the power back into God’s hands in prayer.
Jesus affirmed this telling us “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
I don’t know about you, but I want my soul to rest not stress. Jesus tells us to come to Him. We do that in prayer. We come near and give Him all our junk that is weighing us down an we trade it for His light, easy, rest. In essence, peace. So we come. But the second part is just as important.
Jesus says come, take, and learn from Me.
After we come close in prayer, we have to take Jesus up on His offer to trust Him with our lives. We have to trust in His grace, mercy, and love. And the way we do this is by doing the last part. Learning from Jesus. We can’t sit physically at the feet of Jesus and hear His wisdom, but we can immerse ourselves in truth found in our Bible, words inspired by God. Scripture offers reminders of God’s love, faithfulness, and practical truths for our lives. Learn from Jesus by seeking His truth boldly in Bible study.
I say that tenderly as someone who never used to read her Bible. I know it can be intimidating. But at a low point in life it became my only option. I needed help beyond my ability, and God transformed my mind and heart as I read through the New Testament, the portion of the Bible written after Jesus’s resurrection. I know He will do the same for you.
Friend, come near to Jesus unapologetically. Take Him up on His offer to trade in your control for His peace, and continually learn from Him renewing your faith through Scripture. Release your grasp of control and experience peace in the midst of the unknown. He will carry your burden so you don’t have to.
Join the conversation. Take a moment and inventory your life. What seasons or problems have you tried and failed to control the outcome? Do you remember that situation as a peaceful time or stressful? Currently on a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that God can successfully navigate your hardest situation? Moving forward, what did you learn from today’s lesson that you’ll put into practice?
~ Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, writer/speaker for Wholly Loved Ministries, faith and family blogger for A Fruitful Woman, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. It’s her joy to connect with women in her neighborhood, church, and community. Her talks reflect her spunky personality, love for Jesus, and heart for fellow believers. Read more from Andrea at A Fruitful Woman.