I lean not on my own understanding

This is not going to be a newsflash to anyone who knows me or who has read my blog on any type of consistent basis. I am a control freak. I have a very hard time sitting back and letting go. Instead I try to micro-manage, script, control, and dictate the way I think things should go. And may I just say that its not working out so great for me. I get so frustrated and discouraged with the fact that when I do try and control the outcome of things it doesn’t work. Things are going to happen the way they are supposed to happen according to God’s plan – he doesn’t need me to “help.” Secondly, my need to control things, situations, people, etc. hints to me (or screams at me) that my faith really isn’t where it should be or where I claim it to be…or want it to be. It’s so easy for me to tell a friend who is struggling that “everything will be ok…God is in control.” Shame on me for speaking it into someone else’s life when I barely allow it in my own. Truthfully, the last month or so has been extremely trying and difficult in my life. (Everything is relative – and even as I type “extremely” I know that there are others suffering much greater hardships than I). Brian and I have been married 6 months this week, and while we truly have an amazing, relationship built on God first, there have been challenges along the way. But it is only when I take things into my own hands – when I lean on MY own understanding – that I think things seem tough. One of our biggest challenges has been the blending of two families. Raising children is hard. Raising 5 children…hard. Raising 5 children – 4 of whom are teenagers…yep….hard. And throw in the fact that some are his and some are mine and the bar is raised even higher for difficulty level. And the thing about it is – we are blessed. We have really good kids who make good decisions and stay out of trouble,etc. Reflecting on the last month, I realize that things are toughest when I try and make things be the way I think they should be. In the last few days, I wasn’t sure how things would work out, where it would all end up, and how all of us would fare through it – but I WAS certain that all of it be ok – because we love God and he promises us that all things work together for good for those who love Him. I kept telling myself that over and over. Its in His hands. It will all be ok. Over and over – almost as if I was still trying to control the outcome. But I do believe in God and I know that He loves me. I do trust in His word. This morning, I went to church broken. I was at the point where I just had lost the energy to fight anymore. I was finally ready to turn it all over to God and truly ask Him to take it. (And all along God is waiting for me to get to this point. You would think after a while I would learn to make it easier on all of us and just give it all to him all the time.) At the end of the sermon, we stood and began to sing the following words…

“I lean not on my own understanding.

My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven.

I give my heart to you God

Trusting you will make

Something beautiful out of me”

At first, I couldn’t even bring myself to sing the words. They were a lie. I have been trying to do things my way – all on my own. Lately, my life has been in my own hands – not in the hands of the one who created it all. I have given God my heart, but my late actions have not shown a trust in God to make me into who he has planned. As the song went on and the words were repeated over and over I could feel the weight I’d been carrying around being gently lifted from me. As I began to sing the words, I truly was making a vow to lean NOT on my own understanding. If I earnestly believe that my life is in HIS hands, what am I so fearful of? Why am I worried? I’m always amazed at the way God  works. He knows me so well. I am so moved my music and by lyrics. Today he chose that avenue to really speak to my heart. He knew I needed not only to hear the words of that song, but He knew I needed to let it all go and to sing the words from my heart to Him. Will this be my last blog about my inability to “let go and let God’? Probably not…I’m not perfect and never will be. And I’m sure my need to control will be something that I continually will have to ask God for help with. God knows my heart and he knows exactly how to speak to me. And right here and right now I am letting him carry the burden. I’m confident my life is in His hands and I do trust that He is making beauty out of my messes.

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Heavy heart

There are many nights that I lie in bed trying to slow my mind down so that I can catch four or five hours sleep (at best). It often proves to be a difficult task for me to shut out all of the thoughts, to do lists, worries, and responsibilities though. But last night, it wasn’t my mind racing that I battled. Last night I was troubled beyond the typical clean ball uniform, crazy practice schedule, grades due worries. Last night my heart was full…full of anger and hurt feelings and resentment. I am human and as much as I fight those types of feelings, they attack me still. And last night they weighed so heavily on my heart that it was nearly too much for me to carry.

Too much for ME to carry…

So why am I trying to carry it alone?!?

Why is my need to be in control so strong that I don’t allow God to carry my burdens for me? Jesus tell me to come to him with my heavy burdens and he will give me rest. He doesn’t want me to struggle through life – or even through one night – carrying a load that is unbearable. I get so frustrated with myself for carrying around feelings that I know are not…good and right (for lack of better words). And so I shared my feelings and concerns with my amazing Godly husband and did my best to sleep.

When I woke up this morning and prepared my mind and heart for my daily walk in the word, I was “guided” to Galatians. To this passage in Galatians “16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” In this case, my sinful nature was my thoughts and feelings of anger and resentment. But if I let the Spirit guide me that sinful nature…those ugly emotions become this…”22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control.”
Personally those sound like much more attractive traits to be carrying around. And the Spirit is in me because of God’s love for me. I have to get out of the way and let the Spirit lead…it comes down to my stubbornness and control. I am not capable on my own to rid myself of the sinful ugly stuff. I don’t have to be strong enough to do that because God IS strong enough.

I am so thankful for the gentle voice of the Spirit that guided my heavy heart this morning. I’m no longer carrying so much of the heavy ugly stuff…but rather I am letting the Spirit lead me as I learn to produce a new, more appealing fruit…and it’s much lighter to carry.