can i tell you a secret? it’s a secret that i’ve been subconsciously whispering to myself for a really long time. today, maybe it was the quiet, or maybe it was the pounding of the rain as i turned left on 12th street, escaping the deluge of the summer rainstorms of Columbia, or maybe it was just time for me to hear the whisper, and so something in my soul shouted.
“i want to be in control.”
i am a control freak. i like being in control. i like knowing what is happening next. i like grocery lists, and shopping trips that include itineraries, and i like to know what is about to happen, before it happens. more than knowing, i like to make decisions. i like to lead. i like to choose. i like to please myself with the plans i’d like to plan, full of the things i’d like to do. i like to envision how i want things to play out–tests, jobs, educational experiences, degrees, relationships. you name it…i’d like to chart it, control it, forecast it, tame it, and put it into a box to control.
you see, the fact of the matter is that i’m so…not in control. as tight as my knuckles are holding onto all of my hopes and dreams and plans…they slip out of my fingers all too quickly, because really…if they aren’t the Lord’s plans, and dreams, and hopes, and patterns for my life….they aren’t really going to be mine either.
i can plan. i can work. i can try. i can think and imagine and dream. but there comes a time when i have to remember that i’m just not the one in control.
more than that, i have to remember to put myself to death–for only the Lord to be my best thought. that all the plans, and all the hopes, and all the dreams are nothing in comparison to Him…
Thou my best thought, by day or by night–
waking or sleeping, Thy presence my life.
i’ve been serving all week in Columbia, with a local missionary i met while in college. i think back to the years i spent in Columbia in college, and how much greater God is–so much greater than i ever understood or comprehended then. and even when things did not turn out how i would have planned…the Lord’s will was so much greater, and what he had in store so much richer, though it might have seemed bittersweet.
it has come to my attention that, as i try to wrench away control of my own life, and make my own plans work…i dream and imagine things that are small. they are good. they are beneficial. they are kingdom-minded and missional. none of my ambitions and hopes are evil in themselves. yet it seems to me that these plans and dreams i have for myself often try to put God in a corner, where i’d have him neatly color, inside the lines.
riches i heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou my inheritance now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
high King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
instead, i’m wondering if he wants the whole canvas–all of me. to lay powerless in hands, as he paints and smears and does what he will, with the mess of my life, and makes something more beautiful than i could ever put together. Lord, help me to trust in you–even when it makes no sense. even when there is so much fear about what is next. even when i am afraid of where you might lead.
high King of heaven, my victory won
may i reach heaven’s joy, O bright heaven sun
heart of my own heart, whatever befall
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Lord. be my vision. don’t let me have visions of myself, my needs, my wants, my desires, what i would have for my life. erase whatever else blinds me, so that all i can see is you.