At some point we all must acknowledge the fact that we are not in control of the big things on this earth… weather for example. There is no way to dispute that point. And we are not really in control over illness or injury. Yes, you may have some influence over those things by being careful and taking good care of your body, but when it comes right down to it, you cannot eliminate all risk of viruses and crazy drivers. So these big things in life we leave either to chance or to God. But what about the more personal things? Who controls them? This week God opened my eyes and identified for me some serious control issues in my own life.
I have struggled these last few months; struggled with thoughts, emotions, fears, and insecurities. December was a difficult month for my pride… we paid our bills and bought Christmas presents thanks only to the generous gifts of family and friends. The Financial Peace University class that Wesley and I are now taking has actually magnified my struggles by pointing out my financial insecurity and forcing me to quit ignoring it. One goal of the class is to provide hope for the future, but instead I have felt more and more hopeless; I was already doing the things Dave Ramsey teaches. Hopelessness, discouragement, anger and frustration have been my constant companions lately; I suspect I have been very difficult to live with.
As I battled these emotions I also struggled with God and with my husband, but I did not put them aside or ignore them. I suppose that should be counted as some sort of progress in my life! I talked to my pastor and as time went on I made a deliberate effort to communicate with Wesley. What a patient man he is to put up with me.
This week something happened in my head. I started asking God questions, and He answered them. I don’t know where the questions came from beyond the first one. Years ago, when God forced me to come to terms with my past, He asked me the question, “Becky, do you trust Me?” This time it was me asking Him, “God, do I really not trust You? Do I not trust Wesley? Do I resent his authority in my life? And Your authority? I know I resented my parents’ authority, but I thought I was past that. I trust sensei and pastor, I accept their authority; why not God and husband?” And God answered. “You can walk away from your pastor or your sensei, in that sense you have control over their authority. You can’t walk away from Me or from your husband.”
Control? Has this whole thing been about control? I thought it was about security. Am I angry, resentful and bitter because I am not in control? You can have all the financial security in the world, but if you don’t trust in God’s control and sovereignty, there will be no peace.
My next question was, “God, what do I do with all this inside of me? The anger, resentment, and bitterness? The insecurity? The fear?” His answer was, “It’s a sin.” Oh yeah, I know what to do with sin. Ask forgiveness. So I did, and then asked what to do with the emotions and attitudes that were still there. And God continued to answer. “Keep talking. Keep asking questions and listening to answers. Keep asking forgiveness. Keep identifying sin for what it is and reminding yourself of the Truth. Know that I love you and that I am in control, I can do that better than you can. Tell Me you trust Me.” So that is what I have been doing. And you know, by the end of the day, Truth began to filter its way down through my emotions; Hope and Peace began to return. So much so that now I find myself grinning again. Circumstances are the same. Expenses and income haven’t changed, the roof still leaks, we still could use another car that runs, there is still no financial security. Yet I can breath again. I can grin again. There was no hope in a future that I controlled, but there is Hope Everlasting in a future that God is in control of.
Rebecca A Givens, 02/2008