“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
My need to control my environment is strong. That sentence is an understatement. Let me rephrase that. My need to control my environment – if left unchecked – is catastrophic and devastating. Maybe it’s the same for you, and that is why you are reading this. Let me assure you right out of the gate here – we are not alone. In preparing to write “Day 1” I thought of several of my friends and family who have these same issues with control and overwhelming emotions when either a perceived threat or a very real fear has swept in. Just because we are not alone does not make us a part of some exclusive “Bad Christian Ladies Club” nor it does not exclude us from the “Good Christian Ladies Club” either. It just puts us in a category of women who no longer want to be ruled nor defined by the raging emotions that cause damage and dishonor the Lord. When I was praying about writing this and the topic of my rage and anger, I felt a wave of shame and condemnation come over me. It was almost like I couldn’t pray about this part of me. Even though I know God knows all about this fiery girl of His, I felt like I couldn’t admit the severity of it to God. I wanted to call it a “struggle” and label it something mild and non-threatening, but the fact is that it IS life-threatening. I knew I didn’t need to hide from God, but somewhere down deep came these thoughts of shame because I felt like it’s just so unladylike to have this harsh and vicious way about me. It can “feel” exhilarating and powerful when you rage and take back your (false sense of) control, but that feeling of control is a big lie. We have been deceived. This can no longer be my first and last line of defense. If I want to have any shot at the abundant life Jesus talks about then I need to learn how to be a strong woman without the clawing, fighting and hissing of mean words and threats. The enemy of my soul does not want me getting victory in this. My intense anger and explosive emotions have made his job all too easy.
So getting back to that moment of prayer where I felt that shame come over me…I decided right then and there to be honest with myself and God. In the silence of my heart and mind I called it what it was. And then an unexpected thing happened. I felt God say to me, “I love you.” I didn’t hear a voice fall out of the sky, but He said it in a way that felt like it was right from His heart to mine. In my ugliness I felt His love right there. He was there with me in the true confession. I don’t know if it was because I was appropriately convicted over this for once or if it was because God knows how hard this is for me. I don’t quite know how to articulate it, but if I could try to explain what took place, I’d have to say that He was pleased that I would come to Him like that…humbly. And pleased that I would be willing to deal with this finally. So if there’s any encouragement I can give right here at the starting line, it would be this: He loves you. He loves me.
As difficult as things are right now and as difficult a breed of women we can be, we are created in God’s image to love with power and to have self-control and solidness when we let go of our warped sense of control. God wants us to see His power displayed all over our lives and that happens when we admit our greatest weaknesses – the root ones, the real ones. And if we don’t know yet what those roots are, then at the very least we’d be willing to go through the process to allow Him to discover why we do what we do. I don’t know if there’s a formula, and I doubt there’s a “one-size fits all remedy”, but He guarantees this: HE IS FAITHFUL. His Word says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “His grace is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in weakness”. Our weakness in exchange for His strength – now there’s a formula I want to learn about. Which brings takes me to our meditation verse at the top of the page: Matthew 16:24-25. In order for us to find our lives – the lives we have always wanted, we have to lose our life – the old one- the “control freak” one – the one that rages to protect herself like an injured animal. Time to open up that cracked heart and let Him in to do life-saving and life-giving surgery. Let’s hang in there! It’s worth it.
In summary, Day 1 themes:
1) That He loves us.
2) That it’s time to lose that old life (let go of control) and be willing to live the new one (embrace the weakness).
Dear Father God, Thank you that you love me so much that You want me to exchange the lies of my own control for the truth of the power of Your Spirit at work in my life. Please help me to be honest with You and others and to stop trying to hold everything together myself. Please give me a willing spirit, heart and mind for the change You want to bring to my life. I want to honor You in every area. I have kept this pressed down and covered up for so long, and I am exhausted. Please show me how to exchange my weakness for Your strength, for my good and Your glory, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
So this is Day 1 of the Holy Duct Tape Devotional. The fact that I’m doing this right now is no accident. Thank you for reading!
With all my heart,
There’s our little Luna watching me type 🙂