Life becomes less stressful when we surrender our desire for control, especially when we’re hoping to achieve a specific outcome. I’ve learned that lesson more than once, but the most memorable happened upon the release of my first book—10 Minute Time Outs for Moms. It was 2005, and I’d been scheduled for my first television interview on “100 Huntley Street.”
There’s a three-hour time difference between British Columbia and Ontario. When I woke up in Burlington that morning, the alarm clock said it was 5:30 AM, but my body said it was 2:30 AM. I rolled out of bed with a pounding heart and a knotted stomach. Between fatigue and the fear of failure, I fell into a pit of serious self-doubt.
You’ve gotta wow the host and woo the audience, so get it together, girl. I thought. Don’t bomb this opportunity or your publisher will lose faith in you, and any hopes of another book contract will go down the drain. You’ve got to get this right or else.
As if on cue, the lyrics to a popular worship song popped into my mind: “Jesus commands my destiny.”
The words helped me refocus. “Give up your desire for control,” they whispered. “Today’s outcome and your future don’t depend solely on you. Do your best, but ultimately Jesus commands your destiny.”
I’d heard this truth before, but never so pointed. In that aha moment, I realized my future as an author or Bible teacher didn’t depend on whether I aced the interview. My responsibility was to be faithful: engage with the host, answer the questions as best I could, and surrender my desire for control to the One ultimately in control.
The realization lifted a huge weight from my shoulders then, and it continues to encourage me eighteen years later. Trying to control my circumstances to achieve a desired outcome stems from pride and leads to stress. But giving up my desire for control and surrendering every detail of my life, both small and large, to the LORD frees me to rest in His care and purposes.
How about you? Are you carrying the weight of trying to control your circumstances to achieve a desired outcome? If so, how’s that working for you?
Daniel 5:23 says that God gives us the breath of life and controls our destiny. Understanding this truth and living from it changes everything. It sets us free from that innate desire to control our circumstances to achieve a desired end, it protects us from the stress that results when we try to control, and it gives us the freedom to rest in God’s care, wisdom, and sovereignty.
The God who created and loves us is trustworthy, faithful, loving, all-wise, all-powerful, holy, and sovereign. He is God over all gods. He has no equal. When we are in right relationship with Him, we needn’t be afraid or behave as though our future depends on our smarts and skills. We can cease striving and rest because He’s got a plan, and that plan is always good.
So…how can we release our desire for control and learn to rest in God’s control over our circumstances and future?
- By daily expressing thanks to Him for caring about every detail concerning us. He sees the tiniest sparrow fall, and we matter more to Him than the birds of the air.
- By daily surrendering ourselves to Him for His highest purpose. We might think we have our day and agenda set, but perhaps He has a different idea. Let’s let Him do what He wants knowing His purposes are always higher than ours.
- By daily inviting Him to fill us. When His Spirit fills us, He aligns our hearts with God’s heart. He changes us on the inside, and this includes empowering us to yield our desire for control for His control instead.
We can mess things up and put ourselves under undo stress if we insist on clinging to our desire for control especially if we’re set on a specific outcome. Things never go well when we do that. So, let’s do life differently. Let’s do it God’s way and let Him take control to achieve His desired outcome for our lives.
Know you are loved,