We’ve all heard the saying “let go, and let God.” Every problem we ever encounter in life can be solved with this one step. It sounds like an absolute dream: all your cares, concerns, worries, stresses, plans–just give it all to God and you don’t have to worry about any of it anymore. Poof! All your anxious thoughts and fears are gone. Easier said, than done, though, right? But what if it really is just that simple. If it weren’t for our sinful nature, it could be.
Let’s backup the clock a few years to a younger, much more naive Abby, who thought she had everything figured out already. I had been able to handle whatever life had thrown at me so far. And, for an organizing, planning, Type-A, borderline O.C.D., control-freak like me, letting God take control of my life seemed like an almost impossible, and even needless task. I already had my own plan for my life, and I was convinced it was the only path that would bring me ultimate happiness. I had blinders on, and I thought I knew exactly what my next few years would hold. Step one–graduate college. Step two–succeed at my job as an auditor and gain some great experience. Step three–pass the darn CPA exam! Steps four, five, and six–start a family, stop traveling for work, and maybe even switch to working part-time once a couple of kiddos came around. That was that. It was my plan, and nothing short of it would suffice. Why did I need to be flexible or ask for any help when I already had the best plan for me figured out?
I wasn’t allowing God any input to my plans. Sure, I could give Him little bits and pieces of my life here and there–specific fears or worries that came about throughout my day. That’s easy enough. But, to give Him everything? Yeah, right. I couldn’t possibly give up complete control of something as important as my future. We know it’s what we need to do, but it’s not exactly something we can can do at the flip of a switch. Of course, I prayed often for God to show me His plan for my life, but I don’t think I was really listening. I just assumed that if God wanted what was best for me, He would allow me on my jolly way and leave me to my own carefully thought-out plan. The thing is, what’s best for us isn’t always what makes us happy. I forget that a lot.
Okay, so here is where it gets real honest, real fast. About six months ago, I started to suffer from mild symptoms of what I now know was anxiety. I had a few minor episodes, which I initially just wrote off as nothing until it all got much, much worse. Until the tightness in my stomach was a constant, and the pressure in my chest made it almost impossible to breathe. Until I had no choice but to stop ignoring it. Until I had no where else to go, but to run to God. Until my only choice was to finally give it all up and let Him fully take the reigns for the first time in my life.
A favorite quote that I now repeat to myself on a regular basis was said by Corrie ten Boom, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” I love it! What a gift He has given us that we can trust Him with something as scary and daunting as our unknown future. Proverbs 3:5-6 lays it out plain and simple for us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight” (emphasis mine). Could it be any more clear? God wants us to submit everything to Him–He wants to take all of our burdens, worries, and fears. So, why won’t we just let Him! Here are few more verses emphasizing our need to just give it up:
- I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”
- Psalm 55:22 “Cast all your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Matthew 6:27 “Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?” (Reality check.)
Giving everything to God doesn’t happen overnight; at least, it didn’t for me. (Though, I am more of a control-freak than the average human being…) It took weeks of crying out to God to take it all from me before I could finally breathe again. It was a slow, humbling, and draining process, but God is good, and I’ve made a lot of progress. I realize now that I was being so stubborn, that God needed to strip away all the other ways out before I would fully let go. I’m not proud that I had to be at my lowest of lows before I would give in to Him; however, it’s part of my story now. And looking back I can see how God was, and still is, using it to change me and mold me into who I am supposed to be.
Even after months of struggling, I still don’t have it all figured out, and I probably never will. Every morning I wake up to is a new fight, and I have to remind myself over and over that God’s already got it all figured out. I have made it a habit to start my day by asking God to take control, and do with the day whatever His will. And now, I can say that I actually mean it because I know how much better life is when He’s in the driver’s seat. I also constantly ask for peace when His plan doesn’t match up with mine. I can’t even begin to describe the freedom I have been overcome with since I let God take full control. It’s simply indescribable, and I can’t ever imagine going back to where I was before. One thing I can tell you, though, is that the freedom is well worth the struggle.