I might’ve waved the “Word of the Year” bandwagon right-on-by this year, had I known.
Truth be told, sometimes I’m riding up front with the band, embracing my “One Word” with abandon, while other times I’m crashing the whole blessed wagon into the ditch, in “What-Was-My-Word-Again?” fashion.
Pretty sure I put in my request for a sweet, poetic word last January.
It was vetoed.
Nope, this year, God didn’t offer me a fun, cutsie word.
His 2015 word for me: Control.
Not cool, God.
My struggles with control aren’t your everyday variety, but rather that lovely brand rooted in fear.
Ever notice how fear and control are kissing cousins? Kindred hellions who roll into town and vandalize Main Street?
I’ve long struggled with anxiety, and from the outside, it’s fairly undetectable…probably due to the pseudo-benefits of Control. My white knuckles and I do a convincing job of ambling by. Problem is, when you live with inexplicable fear, you hyper-manage your life to minimize its effects. This is fancy talk for control.
Example: Let’s say we run out of sugar. I have a son who’ll drive past eighty-three stores on his way home (give or take), but I hesitate to ask him to stop for sugar because—heaven forbid— something should happen to him in those extra five minutes. Fear kisses control, vandalizing my naively cobbled counterfeit fortress.
As if to set everyone up for safety, my small shoulders assume protection’s hefty weight, carefully tending the slightest of details. This is the definition of ridiculous, friends. A downright afflicting absurdity I’ve grown all too casual with.
But, what is the alternative? Trust God?
Oh, yeah. Trust God.
Crazy how the mind so actively follows its native patterns that before we notice, we’ve traded Peanut Butter and Jelly for Tuna Salad—reality for a cruel illusion.
Recently, I read Unafraid, by Susie Davis, cover-to-cover in all of 24 hours. Like most, my life is full; I didn’t have time to read a whole book in a day. And, yet—I didn’t have time not to. If you struggle with anxiety, please, won’t you read this book? In it, Susie writes:
The weird thing about being afraid for a long time is that you get comfortable with it. And before long you start to believe fear itself keeps you safe and keeps bad things from happening. I felt like fear protected me.”
“Fear infects your life in weird ways when you believe in it, always think on it, worship it. You become a fear-er. Only I didn’t think I was a fear-er. I thought I was c-a-r-e-f-u-l. ”
Ms. Davis somehow managed to tap my mind, as her thoughts and mine share DNA. All in the name of Safety, I seek to control, carefully stacking my kindling on the altar of fear.
My heart longs not for cure, but for healing; not for “beating demons,” but for hiding myself in Him while those demons cower in the presence of the Healer.
There’s little comfort in the trap of manmade cures which rely on self to manage. (Can we say Control?) Oh, but the only fingerprints you’ll find on healing are those of Jehovah Rapha. Yes, please. Sign me up for that.
Today—as the calendar has gone rogue, revealing September already—I’d like to tell you I’ve looked these unruly cousins of fear and control in the eyes and shown them the door, but, here’s the thing:
Satan knows our strongholds. They’re his see-saw and his swing-set, his sandbox and his fort. His playground. They’re called strongholds for a reason, and if it’s a stronghold, chances are, Satan ain’t about to let go.
It’s a process, and one I’m learning has very little to do with fear and control, and very much to do with God and His jealous heart for me.
With three months left of—what turns out to be a perfectly “cool” Word of the Year—I can’t say I‘m at the finish line, but I can say I’m not driving the wagon into the ditch as much. I like how Susie Davis puts it:
I started fighting fear instead of following fear. “
Fear has only managed to darkly lead me by the elbow down a dead-end road called Control.
In baby-step fashion, I’m learning to follow the One Who goes before me and behind me. With each weight surrendered from my frail shoulders, I’m reminded that He Who sits on the throne of my life is able.
As I seek Him—somehow, in all my seeking—it is He who finds me.
Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, is meeting me right in the center of the hollow fortress control built.
Time after blessed time, He patiently reminds me that fear didn’t lay itself down on a wooden frame and die for me—that fear is not my God—that the One Who owns control is altogether worthy of it.
~ Blessed to link up this week with: Sue at LifeGivingLinkup , Crystal at Intentional Tuesday , Holly at Testimony Tuesday , Darlene at Titus 2sday, Kelly at #RaRaLinkup , Sarah at Tuesday Talk , Jennifer at Tell His Story , Holley at Coffee for Your Heart , Jenny at Women With Intention Wednesdays , Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursday , Susan at #DanceWithJesus, Faith Filled Friday and Barbie at Weekend Whispers ~