If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a plan for everything.
Planning gives us comfort, doesn’t it? We want to know where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. It’s something that our Western culture greatly prioritizes: goal setting, 5 year plans, quarterly objectives, etc. While there is nothing inherently wrong with being able to set good goals and plan well, we need to be careful not to leave God out of this process. And it’s all too easy to do.
For me, the words Type A / ultimate planner / anxious control freak used to describe me. I was never able to fully let go of control over my own life because it was too scary. It took years for God to patiently and gently pry my fingers off the reigns of my own life and teach me how to fully rely on Him. It was only then that He was able to completely use me for His purposes and provide blessings I never could have dreamed of.
And that might be your story, too. You may have given up control to God in one area, but still working on a few others. That’s okay. Just remember that God needs to be authority over every aspect of your daily routine. God deserves more than one small area of your life labelled “Faith” or “God,” where you only acknowledge Him during your occasional devotional time or whenever you see a sermon on Sunday. God needs to be included and involved in everything – over your finances, your career, your relationship, your family, your sex life, your business, and every other area for it to flourish.
A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. // Proverbs 16:9
For the longest time, I found it SO hard to believe that God actually had what was best for me in store. I still thought I knew better. I was terrified of settling into a relationship that I wasn’t fully happy with, or thinking I needed to take every big career opportunity that came my way.
I wanted God, but really, I still wanted to be the god over myself.
But if you want a true, intimate, authentic relationship with Jesus, it just can’t work like that.
While I was journaling the other day, I felt God convict me of how doubtful I was. This verse popped into my head:
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” // Matthew 14:31
I was afraid, like Peter, of walking on water and sinking. What if I trusted God and it didn’t work out? What if I took a leap of faith and landed flat on my face? What if I drowned?
And suddenly it hit me: “Immediately Jesus reached out.” Jesus was right there, ready to catch Peter as soon as he started to sink. And I remembered that God had always been faithful to me, too. He had been nothing but patient, forgiving, and gracious to me. He had never let me down, never let me drown, as long as I put my faith in Him. He had shown up over and over again for me, but for some foolish reason, I still wasn’t letting go of my doubt when I had no reason to hold onto it.
Each of us need to humbly let go of wanting to control our own lives and let God have full authority instead.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it. // Matthew 16:23-25
Jesus knows we want to hold on tight to our own desires. But following Jesus means we choose not to follow our own way anymore. We let go of our own plans for our life. We let go of our fleshly desires, our selfish ambitions, and our short-sighted expectations. We let go of all of this and submit ourselves to the will of God’s greater plan for our lives.
And when we do this, we also let go of our guilt and shame. We let go of the condemnation we deserve. Getting closer to Jesus means we become more like Him, and slowly our pride, anger, selfishness, and envy starts to dissipate and gets replaced with good fruit.
Let’s be real. Living by faith isn’t easy – it’s hard. Many times it can be scary and really difficult to not be sure of the outcome of something. But Jesus calls us to have radical faith and trust in Him. Faith where we actually need Him to show up. And He wants nothing more than to prove Himself faithful to you.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” // Deuteronomy 31:6
Ask him today to show you the areas where you need to loosen the grip you have on your own life – and watch how He surprises you with blessings and plans far better than you could have imagined.
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