Why Can't I Just Let Go?!
I have a tiny confession to make. In some areas of my life, I am a control freak.
I said it.
I like being in control.
Funny thing is, it's really an illusion I create for myself when I think I am in control of anything. Really, who am I that I can predict an outcome or alter anything? I laugh at myself when I really think about it and I wonder if God doesn't sometimes shake his head a little at all my little attempts to take over. Life is all about letting go, from day one. Mom's will understand. From the moment we conceive, we really have already given up control of that little life inside of us. Sure, there are things we can do that are wise and healthy, but we cannot create life, nor sustain it in our own power. God is, and always has been, the giver or life. Do you ever find yourself in a state of worry when you think of all the things that could potentially happen to your babies? The what-ifs are overwhelming. What if they get hurt, what if they get kidnapped, what if they choke and die? WHAT IF?!
On a personal note, I struggled with this big time when I first entered mother hood. I found myself honestly afraid of surrendering my kids over to God completely. I was afraid to say, "Have your way, Lord." What if his way means taking them to the far corners of the world? What if his way means facing some giant that I cannot help them conquer? What if his way means loosing their lives for his sake? I found myself paralyzed with fear, at first. Now, it is true that fear dominated my life when I first entered mother hood so I'm sure my issue here was a bit extreme, but I think this strikes a nerve with most of us.
I just didn't want to let go.
Letting go is all about trust. I didn't trust God a whole lot when I first entered mother hood and I didn't think it was possible for him to love my girls as much as I do. I know that is so silly, but there it is. I just didn't trust God with my kids. I thought I needed to be in control. After all, I planned on raising my kids to love God and follow him. Wouldn't that be enough?
God really showed me something in this struggle that changed my view...and my prayers. My prayers were always along the lines of, "Please God, watch over them, protect them, keep them safe." Then, one day, he responded loud and clear to my prayer...
"Your prayer is full of fear, Shannon."
I didn't even bother trying to argue with him. I knew it was true. I knew I was plagued with fear, and my prayers were based on that fear. So, I asked him to help me. I had a pretty honest conversation with him, (in my journal!) and told him how much I didn't want to let go of my kids, to trust him with the outcome of their lives, but I knew I needed too. Of course, as God always does, He began healing the places in me that were full of fear, and in that healing, I was able to begin trusting him with my kids.
Letting go is so very hard to do. We don't want to let go, because we don't want to trust God. Our past can make us this way, but so does just being human. At the root of our flesh is this desire to be in control. Pride tells us that we can manage just fine on our own. Pride tells me, " God can't possible care as much about me as I care about me and so I will take matters into my own hands."
Motherhood has not been the only place I have struggled to let go. I could go on for a while about all the ways I try to be in control. I am often tempted to perform for others, thinking that will give me control of the outcome. I am often tempted to make my own plans for my future, thinking I have a better grasp of reality than God does. For a long time, I gave in to the temptation of hiding from my past because I didn't think God could really handle it, or me and so I kept control by keeping my secrets. No, this struggle is not unique to anyone. The question is not, have you struggled with letting go, but when did you struggle.
My prayers for my kids are different now. Of course, I still pray for their protection and safety, but now I find myself asking God for other things. I find myself wanting, more than their safety and protection, that their hearts would beat for Jesus. I find myself asking God to do whatever it takes to make them the women He destined them to be. I find myself asking God constantly to give me the grace to let go. It is so hard. Sometimes, I have to clench my fists and curl my toes to do it...but I am going to do it. I am going to constantly surrender my plans for his. I am going to trust him with the things I am tempted to control and I am going to believe that He cares more and loves more...and knows more.
What is it you fear? When you identify that fear, you can identify the reasons you won't let go. I have always feared failure...I can't stand the thought of failing. So, I am constantly trying to make my own success. I fear pain, so I am constantly trying to protect myself from it. Find out what you fear, and you will find the reason you just can't seem to let go. You do have complete control of one thing: your response to Jesus. You can choose, as can I, to thrust your self at his feet and let him whisper to you what he has planned, what he wants for you. He will not fail you...that I know with all my heart!
I will leave you with one of my life verses. I have to recite this verse to myself often, and I also have to remind myself of the times when my understanding was not enough, but God knew and he accomplished what I never could....
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5