Good afternoon! I hope you've had a wonderful Thursday. I'm continually amazed at the mercies of God that are new and fresh every day, and lately, I've been given a new perspective of the divine grace of God that carries us in every moment.
In this post, I want to be ultra transparent and share some things that God has been doing in my life. However, I want to preface what I'm about to say with this: I don't really like to talk about myself. It's human nature to make things "me-centered," and I want to guard against that at all costs, especially since the whole point of this blog is to inspire YOU to chase after the heart of God and empower YOU to discover your divine purpose. But, I really believe I'm not alone in my struggles. My plan is to be open/honest, share how God has helped me, and pray that you find something in what I'm about to say that you can take away and apply to your own life.
Yesterday, I listed to a message by Kim Walker Smith, lead vocalist for Jesus Culture. Her main point was that God doesn't want us to clean up our mess before we invite him in. He wants to come in and sit right beside us, in the middle of the mess, and little-by-little restore and rebuild us.
Now, I've heard that before in different ways. To sum it up, "Jesus loves us right where we are. In his grace, he won't let us stay where we are, but we don't have to be perfect when we come to him." I totally believed that, yet I didn't really live it out to the extent that I needed to, and I was suffering for it. Kim's message hit me right where it needed to. Isn't it amazing how God leads us to just the right thing, at just the right time? I think so.
My tendency (and God is in the process of working this out of me) is to make myself perfect in every area of my life. Now God wants to perfect us, but it has to be HIS working in us, not our own doing. I'm the type of person that likes to have control, that likes to be constantly productive, constantly achieving, and any time I find a flaw in myself, it nearly wrecks me. All of this has one thing in common: FEAR.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:18 that there is absolutely NO fear in love. But PERFECT LOVE casts out fear. Fear has torment, and those who fear aren't made perfect in love.
According to the Bible, my obsession with control and perfection in every area of life comes from a place of not being made perfect in the Father's love. It's as simple as that. And God says that doesn't have to be my destiny. Living in that way is a life of bondage, and he wants to deliver you and me from it.
A few months ago, I told the Lord, "I'm so overwhelmed. I feel like I'm managing so much and keeping up with so many details, I'm afraid I'm just going to fail in every area of life - that I'll disappoint people I've made commitments to, that I'll just lose it completely. I feel like it's all I can do to keep my head above the water, and I'm weary from working so hard to just do that."
Yep, I was totally in unbelief. Can you find any faith in that statement? Yeah, me either. You know, it's crazy how I forgot I even said that to God, but he remembered. That was several months ago, and yesterday was the day he decided to address my "water analogy complaint," because I was experiencing those familiar signs of burn-out from trying to take control of everything and make sure my life was perfect for Jesus (because my pride would hurt too badly to hand him such an "unkempt mess of emotions" and "failed attempts").
If I could put what he revealed to me in words, this is basically what he said:
"What happens when people who are afraid of the water try to stay above it? That's right. They panic and begin to drown. But people who are comfortable in the water relax, stay calm, and it causes them to float on the surface with ease. Just like Peter, you've become afraid of the waters around you. Get comfortable in them by keeping your eyes on me. I'm bigger. They obey my command, not your fear."
The problem was my trying to do God's job for him. I was trying to keep myself afloat and failing miserably. All I had to do was "be still and know that he is God," as Psalm 46:10 says. So what is our job?
It's that simple. He'll take it from there.
Every one of us will be surrounded by the waters of life. Will you keep your eyes on them? Or will you choose to behold Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the One who keeps everything we commit to him, the Shepherd and King whose mercies never fail?
Friend, if you're like me, you can relate to these feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, the constant ache that something isn't finished, the desperate chasing of control, of keeping your head above the water. It's not fun. And God never, ever meant for us to carry that load. I think one of the reasons we begin to sink is because we've picked up things that God never told us to carry, and they're weighing us down, keeping us from reaching out to him in faith and believing with all our hearts that the winds and waves still know his name.
Let those things go. Choose to see Jesus only. Beholding him will change and liberate you. Give it a try. I will too.
. . . . . .
Praise is key to letting go. One of my favorite songs is "It Is Well" by Bethel Music. The lyrics are riveting.
Click HERE to listen, and HERE to read the lyrics.
, by Mattanah DeWitt