I have a confession to make. At various times in my life, I have attempted to exercise control over the following things/people/situations: my relationships, I-40 traffic, random people in line in front of me at the grocery store, my wedding day, my body, others’ perceptions of me, my family, my husband, our apartment, my hair… The list goes on, unfortunately. But as I continue to seek God and His will for my life, I’m realizing that it isn’t about control at all. It’s about surrendering to something better- namely, God’s Spirit.
Oh how I love Romans 8! It says:
“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.“ -Romans 8:6
Our minds are going to be “controlled” by something- that is just the way we’re wired. And if we aren’t in Christ, our default control system will be the sinful nature we inherited from Adam.
According to Galatians 5:19-22, when we follow the desires of our sinful nature, the results include idolatry, quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, and basically everything else that we don’t actually want in our lives. I’ve been there, and it isn’t fun. It isn’t how we were created to live.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22-23
Yes- those are the things I’m always searching for. [Enter girl-raising-hand-emoji here.] All my misguided grasping at control is really an attempt to manhandle this fruit of the Spirit into my life. The problem is, I can only produce that fruit if I stay connected to Jesus and surrender to Him. He tells us, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
What a gracious Savior- we surrender to Him and He gives us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
Surrendering to Jesus is a daily, often hourly journey for me. Some days it seems that I wake up back at square one- my mind buzzing with anxieties and grievances. I want to learn to surrender those to Him and, in return, receive love and joy and peace and all the other good fruit that I am incapable of producing on my own.
To quote my favorite band, All Sons and Daughters, “Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender.” I’m praying that all of us, myself included, would experience the freedom that comes only with surrender.