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Why Control Can Stifle Us
If you’ve ever struggled with perfectionism, raise your hand. ✋?Okay, maybe it was just me. As an eighties child, the phrase “anything you can do I can do better” still rings in my ears. Sure, this was initially a gender-based statement but soon it became a mantra driving me to do more, to be better.
But perfectionism is impossible and striving towards it is exhausting. Now, I’m not saying it’s okay to do things shoddily–definitely not! But you have to understand that while God created perfect human beings to inhabit a perfect world, we are a long way away from that module.
Our desire to be perfect is really just a way to control our environment and circumstances and that desire for control can be stifling.
When we try to control everything, we fail to let God have His way in our life. Until we can understand that God gives life and only He is ultimately in control, we will continue to try to force our will on our circumstances. And we become resentful when things don’t go our way.
In response, we try harder and harder to control everything and everyone but it doesn’t make us happy. It makes us unhappy and exhausted. Are you holding on too tightly to your ministry? Let go and let God handle it.
Let Go and Let God
As we struggle to control our circumstances, we may get to the point where we start to believe our “good behavior” will improve our standing with God. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever found yourself in a situation you knew you couldn’t get out of on your own?
Only, when you decided to ask God for help you started bargaining. ‘God if you help me out I will….or I won’t…’ Unfortunately, the minute you get out of the situation you find yourself doing the opposite of what you promised God. I have.
And when I realize I’m not holding up my end of the bargain I feel so guilty. But you see, my good behavior has nothing to do with God’s ability to save me.
And I’m sure God would rather have my obedience than any sacrifice I could ever offer Him.
What It Means to Let Go and Let God
Letting go is about submission. Can you give control of your dreams to God? Do you trust Him with your ministry? These seem like strange questions to ask especially when you consider the fact that it was God who gave you the ministry in the first place.
Since God gave you the passion and desire to do the thing, won’t He also provide the resources and take care of the challenges that arise?
You see, that’s where most of us fall short. We know it’s God’s business but we forget. We forget that He knows everything whereas we only have access to limited information.
Sometimes we even forget the ministry is about God and should point people to God and instead become caught up in the numbers or how well we’re doing in the eyes of the world.
Letting go and letting God may mean stepping away from doing what’s popular and doing what God wants instead.
Learning How to Let Go and Let God
The story of Elijah is one that can teach us how to let go and let God take control of our ministry. When we first meet Elijah in 1 Kings 17, he’s involved in a battle with King Ahab. As the prophet of the Lord, he stood for the opposite of what Ahab wanted for himself and the people of Israel.
Elijah boldly proclaimed that it will not rain until he gives word (1 Kings 17:1) and then he’s directed to go by the brook Cherith where he’s fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:2-7).
For the next three and a half years, Elijah is taken care of by God and experienced the miracle of the never-ending supply of food (1 Kings 17:8-16).
He even got to take part in the resurrection of the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:17-24). No wonder he felt capable of taking on the 450 priests of Baal and King Ahab himself!
But a few sharp words from Queen Jezebel and he loses his courage (1 Kings 19:2-3). I hope you’ll take the time to read 1 Kings 17-19 as we explore what Elijah teaches us about how to let go and let God take control of our ministries.
The 4-Step Process to Giving Your Ministry to God
As I read the story of Elijah, I noticed a pattern. His ability to let go and let God lead ebbed and flowed. Like us, sometimes he was really good at it and other times…not so much. But we can learn from him by doing these four things:
Elijah told King Ahab it would not rain until he gave the word. Can you imagine the level of bravery it took to stand before a king and tell him that you are declaring a drought over his land? And then you show up three and a half years later to tell him that you’ve decided it’s time for the rain to return.
I can only imagine what Ahab must have thought of Elijah during those conversations. Yet, Elijah wasn’t afraid. That’s because he was being obedient to God. He had submitted himself to do God’s will and so he knew God was with him and he had no reason to fear.
Are you being obedient to God’s will for your life? Are you following His plan for your ministry?Have you surrendered your ministry to God? Check out these four steps to give your ministry to God. #hebrews12endurance Click To Tweet
The showdown on Mount Carmel was about worship. The Israelites had abandoned the worship of the true God in favor of idolatry. But Elijah knew the truth. He knew there was no God like Jehovah. He still worshipped the true God and knew the awesome things He was capable of doing.
Because he was faithful in worshipping God, he knew God would show up on Mount Carmel and prove to the Israelites that there was no God like Him. How’s your worship?
Do you know why you worship God? Do you feel connected to Him? How’s your devotional life?
After his miraculous experience on Mount Carmel, a few words from Jezebel had Elijah running for his life. He no longer believed life was worth living and he wanted to die.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers! (1 Kings 19:4 NKJV)”
Twice the angel of the Lord had to come and give him something to eat. And then he was able to get by on those two meals for 40 days. I like to think that part of the reason Elijah was discouraged, was because he was hungry.
Maybe it’s because I know that when I don’t eat enough I get cranky and dejected. And when I don’t fill up on the Word of God, I get discouraged.
What are you feeding on? Are you taking the time to not only feed your body but also your spirit and your mind?
Like food, rest is important. Are you taking the time to rest and rejuvenate? Your ministry is important, I get it, but if you don’t make time to do things you enjoy and take a break you’re going to get burnt out.Are you taking the time to rest and rejuvenate? Your ministry is important but if you don't make time to do things you enjoy you're going to get burnt out. #hebrews12endurance Click To Tweet
Trust me, I know. I always think I can do one more thing until my body rebels and decides it’s not going a single step further. When we don’t take care of ourselves, we get ill, and then we can’t do what God has called us to do anyway.
As I read A Girl’s Guide to the Outback, I saw some things that reminded me that it was necessary to give our ministries to God instead of thinking we can do it all on our own.
A Girl’s Guide to the Outback Review
The story of Kim and Sam’s relationship is intricately woven with Sam’s obligation to his family, Kim’s issues with her mother, and their combined love and fear for the ministry they both work for.
When Kim decides to spend a month on Sam’s family farm, she experiences a series of disasters from a number of broken equipment to natural disasters…but if that is what it means to run a farm in Australia, everyone who does it deserves a medal.
I enjoyed Kimberly’s personality. Her sometimes prickly sometimes cold exterior masks a world of hurt and is the perfect foil for Sam’s more effusive personality. At the same time, Kim balances Sam’s reserve and forces him to step outside of his comfort zone.
Read my impression of the first line of A Girl’s Guide to the Outback
Both of them felt passionate about the ministry they served in together teaching teenagers about the love of God. But the fact that the two are so different means there’s also a lot of challenges and maybe that accounts for how long it took them to get together. But I wish there had been more of their relationship on-page instead of implied in the space between the book and the epilogue.
I’ll admit that Jessica Kate has some really funny and interesting similies but at times it became distracting because it was just too much.
Know God–like us, both characters professed a relationship with God, they knew what the Bible had to say about certain things but they had difficulties internalizing and applying the lessons to themselves.
Know yourself–from the very beginning, Kim admitted that her brain was one of her greatest assets, yet she had to learn that there was more to her than just a knack for business. She had to explore all of her personality to fully embrace the person she was created to be.
Sam had to learn to see himself beyond the limiting beliefs that had been placed on him when he was a young child so that he could fully become the person God had created him to be.
Run your race–while each of us is a part of a larger picture and may have a role to play in our families, at some point we have to venture into the world and make our own choices. Sam and his sister had to learn that while their family legacy was important, they had to leave their own mark on the world and it had to be more than just keeping the status quo alive.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from Celebrate Lit; a positive review was not required.
About A Girl’s Guide to the Outback
Author: Jessica Kate
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020
A Girl’s Guide to the OutbackHow far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.
Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.
When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.
As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile, Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future? Get your copy on Amazon.
Click here to read an exclusive excerpt from A Girl’s Guide to the Outback.
About the Author
Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park.
She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant.
Visit her online at jessicakatewriting.com; Instagram: jessicakatewriting; Facebook: jessicakatewriting; Twitter: @JessicaKate05.
You may also like:
- Giving it to God: 5 Ways to Let Go and Let God Handle it
- When You’ve Lost the Will to Fulfill Your Calling
- A Girl’s Guide to the Outback Review & Excerpt