Giving up the Reins

This past week has been CRAZY BUSY. With the help of some awesome people we have been putting a new laundry room and half bath on the back of our house. While in the end it’s going to be totally awesome and will make my life a thousand times easier, it’s made things a bit chaotic in the mean time. Toss in birthday celebrations, church functions, relatives in from out of town and a host of other incidentals and you have yourself a schedule that allows no time for blogging.

But, God has really been working on me and regardless of how busy I am, I really feel like I need to share that.

FACT: I am a control freak of the grandest proportions.

FACT: One of the things that bothers me most is not knowing what to expect about something, be it a doctor’s appointment, new job, or my entire future.

Our pastor has been delivering a series of messages that’s really punched me in the gut. At the end of one Sunday’s service he flat out asked if we were willing to give up EVERYTHING we have, and all of our plans/hopes/dreams/desires, in order to follow Christ. It’s easy to give a quick and thoughtless “Amen!” to it and move on to Sunday brunch, but I knew I really needed to mull that over. It was on my mind for days and days after. And it seemed like God was whispering it to me every time I turned around, through Facebook posts, comments in our young adults group, random quotes in books, etc…

“Brittany, do you trust Me enough to hand over your plans?”

Of course I trust God. I trust Him with my eternal soul. I trust Him to protect me and my family. I trust Him to give me grace when I mess up, and to provide when there doesn’t seem to be a way out. But do I trust the goodness in His plan for me? Am I really so shallow and [let’s just call it what it is] stupid to think that what I dream up for myself could compare to what He would like to do in my life if I would chance to let go of the reigns?

I ran into this conundrum before I met my sweet hubby. Around my sixteenth birthday I had made a commitment to remain pure for my future husband, and with God’s help, I was able to do so. But I definitely still had a heart for romance, and I was starting to feel mighty lonely by the end of college when more than half of my friends were married and some were well on their way to starting families. I. HAD. A. PLAN. Married right out of college, kid by 24, second kid by 26, thriving practice as a therapist. I even had a BOOK for-goodness-sake where I had clipped stories, photos, ads, etc…and made a collage of what I desired for my life, and then proceeded to pray over it.

At my wit’s end and totally fed up with getting my heart broken by every single guy I came in contact with, I started changing my prayers and my perspective. I couldn’t tell you when [but I probably have a journal that could], but I finally threw my hands up and said, “God, if this is where you want me and You can use me more single than married, OK. You are enough.”  And it was maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Within a few months I had met my husband, we were engaged 6 short months after we met, and married a year later (at 23 rather than 22) and had our first child at 26 (rather than 24). All things considered, I think I can live with my slight shift in timetable. J   And you know what’s awesome?? While my career took a totally different path—and one I’m completely happy with—God was so good, and so faithful that He still gave me so many of the little details I prayed over in that silly collage, INCLUDING a red-headed little girl. I think that was His way of telling me, “Hey! I was paying attention! And weren’t my plans for you SO MUCH BETTER than what you could have dreamed up??”

When J and I struggled through several months of trying to conceive our daughter, I never felt led to give up the dream. I just leaned in to the promises of God’s faithfulness.

On that Sunday morning, sitting in the pew of my church, it was extremely apparent to me that I was back to where I started 6 years ago. That God was asking me to lay down my plans and my dreams again, and to say once more “You are enough.” Even if it never gets better than this. Even if I never advance, get a raise, or grow further in my career. Even if I never have a bigger, fancier house. Even if we live on beans and potatoes for the rest of our lives. Even if you don’t give me the second child we desperately desire. The job, the house, the money…that’s just stuff. But the idea of saying that I would be willing to give up that dream if He can use me more with one child than with two absolutely sliced my heart in half, and cut to the core of my own selfishness. Because it took me weeks to stop wavering and to honestly say I could do that.

But, let me tell you, friends…it ain’t been easy. There’s never any guarantee that God’s plan for us looks anything like our own plan. Maybe it’s marriage for you. Maybe it’s conception. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s a call to a certain aspect of ministry that you’re avoiding. I finally broke down and turned it all over to God on Monday night. But I have to admit that I keep taking it back every day, at least twice a day. J  So I keep laying it back down…and it gets a little easier every time. Ultimately, at the end of the day, He’s never, EVER, failed me yet. He is SO good. He will never maliciously hurt me. He will never allow anything to happen that He hasn’t ordained to happen. And I’m OK with that.  And a little piece of my control freak personality gets chipped away every time I let Him have control. And that’s a good thing!

What is it for you? What area of your life is God asking for control over?

“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” – Psalm 145:15-19, ESV

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