As I sit here in my college dorm room, I look at my piles of unfinished homework and wonder how I'm ever going to get it all done. I worry about what tomorrow will look like and despair at the fact that I can never know enough to get me through these classes and into certain social groups and out of unpleasant situations. Then I'm reminded of the amazing truth that God knows everything. He not only knows everything, but He has planned everything out from the very beginning. He knows what I'm going to eat tomorrow morning for breakfast(if anything at all), He knows how I'm going to do on Friday's theory quiz, He knows if my college debt will ever go away, He knows who I'm going to marry, He knows my future children's names, and He knows the day I'm going to die. This can be a scary thought sometimes – I feel out of control, like no matter if I study all night for a test, God has already planned and knows whether or not I'm going to pass. I'm an extreme control-freak, so trusting God with things is a big struggle for me, and trusting Him with every little thing and even my entire life is even more challenging. However, instead of stressing about the fact that I'm not in control, I should be comforted at a level I can't even explain. Knowing that you're not in control of your own life gives a peace nothing else can – our lives were planned out not by a sinful, mistake-making human like ourselves, but by a perfect God who loves us and will always give us exactly what we need at each point in time. How can we be consumed in worry when our lives are not run by us: we sinful beings who make mistakes left and right, fail, and screw up our relationships? I say it again: our lives were planned out by a perfect God who loves us. Once we can grasp that truth, a wonderful, life-giving peace sets into our lives.
Not only does it give us peace and take away the stress and worry, it takes away the failure and the shame that comes along with trying to control our lives. When we try to be in control, we ultimately fail and feel shame. When we can step out of the center of our own universe and realize that God is in control, we don't need to feel shame for our sins. God wrote our story and a part of our story was the moment He saved us and brought us into His kingdom here on earth. All our guilt and shame was wiped away that minute by belief in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. The popular Christian song, In Christ Alone, says “What heights of love, what depths of peace when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.” I have listened to this song almost my entire life and just in the past few weeks really heard those lines. What depths of peace God has given us through Him. His control stills our fears – we don't have to fear for the future, for God holds our lives in His strong and unfaltering hands. Our strivings cease when we know in our hearts that we are not our own – we are God's and we don't need to try so hard for man's approval or that new car or new house or better job. The only thing that matters in our lives is that we are God's children, and that He is in complete control of our small, insignificant, earthly lives.
Once this way of thinking has set in, it allows us to step out of the center of our own universe. We realize we are at peace, and no longer consumed with the worry of our own lives, we have the privilege to truly minister to others and share this life-giving truth with them. Outside of our own dark and troubled little bubble, we can truly be a light for Christ that shines into the darkened lives of others.
This is all a great sentiment, right? We can all agree with this message and the truth the God tells us about His will in our lives, but living as if we know it is, I know, so hard. I fail everyday at giving up to God, letting go, and putting every situation in His hands. However, every moment is an opportunity to let go. Every morning, get up and say Lord, I give this day to you. Your will be done through me today. Whether or not you enjoy or like what happens to you that day, it was an experience given to you and planned by the Lord, and who are we to argue with that? Every time you despair and cannot see there ever being a light at the end of this tunnel, give it to God. You aren't in control, so don't try to fix everything and stress about how each painful and awkward situation is going to turn out – give it to God, be freed from that weight, and let Him work in your life.
Each day that God gives us is a gift, and nothing we have ever done could ever deserve even one day of our blessed lives. The peace that we can feel in knowing that our lives are in God's hands is inexplicably freeing. So today, take a moment and pray that God would take your burdens from your shoulders. Let go of everything you so desperately cling to and let God have full control of your life. Only then will you live in the true joy that Jesus offers to us. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
The world tells us that we have to strive for greatness, obey the rules of culture, and live our lives a certain way, but our lives are not our own.
That's the bigger picture.
“No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.”