Confessions of a (Recovering) Control Freak

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My husband is retiring from the military after 32 years of active duty service. This is a big step for both of us. He hasn’t had to apply for a job since he was in high school. And since we’ve been married, he has always known what he was going to do and when he would get promotions. We haven’t really had to worry about our future. Until now.

As for me, I’m a “recovering” control freak, which is a weird trait for a military spouse. But when things get stressful or uncertain, I default to, “If I can control all the things about this, then everything will be okay.”  So, in this journey of my husband transitioning out of the military and into his next position as he continues his career, I have been trying to control freak it. Every day I was trying to gain control of the unknown by asking him if he took this step, or called that person. And I could tell I was stressing him out.

I finally decided that I needed to talk with God about it. I remember the day well. “Lord,” I said, “he is just not doing the things he said he wanted to do. He is stressed out and this is new territory for us. But God…what if he doesn’t get a job after he retires?”

Immediately I felt the Spirit say, “Do you think I can’t take care of you?”

I don’t always get immediate answers from God when I pray. Sometimes I don’t get answers at all. But I have found that when I am earnestly seeking him, or if my thinking needs to be straightened out, sometimes I will feel an answer from him like I did that day.

When I felt that answer, I took a sharp breath in. Yes! I thought. That’s right! God will take care of us now, just like he has taken care of us for all these years.

At that moment, my worry and angst disappeared. I no longer had to ask every day if my husband was taking care of things. Instead, I prayed each day, lifting my husband up in prayer. And instead of pointing out what my husband was or was not doing, I was able to talk about what God was teaching me; that he is still in control and has a good plan for us. We started agreeing that we just needed to look for what God was doing and follow his lead.

We still don’t know what my husband will be doing after his retirement. But we do know that God has been showing us some potential paths. We know that he has a specific plan for us. And we know that God will reveal that plan to us as we follow his lead, pray, and stay in relationship with him.

Now I am constantly reminded to live the truth of Isaiah 30:21, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  I don’t have to know the path forward because I’m listening to the one who is showing me where to walk. He knows the way forward, and I trust him to show me.

You can't let Jesus in and keep Him out!

Letting Jesus in

In Matthew 13:33 Jesus told a parable: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

Jesus has told us what The Kingdom is like and you and I need to make sure that what we're experiencing with what we call 'God' is letting Jesus into every area of our life and letting Him transform. It is not religion, to where we pretend that Jesus can come into here and here but He can't come in here! 

To be a follower of Jesus Christ means that He is Lord over all areas of our life! It's not about us trying hard and working at transformation - it's just about letting Him in!

The truth is, when we invite The King into our home, our home becomes His home! There's a title exchange. We trade kingdoms!

If you retain control of any area of your life, you're shutting Jesus out! 

If there is an area of your life that is persistent darkness, persistent anger, persistent fear. If there is an area of your life that is persistently broken, where resentments are nurtured, where loneliness is forever consuming, where pain never becomes less -those are areas where you're not letting the Savior in and where you won't let the yeast fall. Because wherever Jesus enters into, He enters in and transforms all of it! 

When we keep Christ out of parts of our life, we're really keeping Christ out of all of our lives! When we shut Him out, we shut growth out, we shut light out, we shut life out! You can't let Jesus in and keep Him out!

When Jesus comes in like yeast in the dough, there's an effect! It's not a magic wand and it's not instant, but when we open up our life to Jesus Christ, He comes into our life. We don't have to do anything other than let Him in and refuse to keep Him out! He begins to do the change, He begins to do the transformation by His power and His work in us. He will absolutely change and transform everything! That's the work of a living God --it's not us! 

You see, if Jesus isn't in it all, is He in at all? We gotta ask the question! 

Religion let's you compartmentalize life. The Kingdom of Heaven is not like religion that leaves you in control of this area of life and that area of life. The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast and when it is sprinkled into your life, it will work it into every area of your life and it will have its transforming effect!

The Kingdom of God coming inside of you and rising up and making you great in the eyes of God is not going to be what you think it will be - so let it be different! If you've had religion in your life, understand that what you need is Jesus. All the dough had to do was receive the yeast! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Religion is a cheap substitute for the real presence of God in relationship.

religion is a cheap substitute


Religion is a counterfeit presence. It is God - controlled. Religion is a cheap substitute for the real presence of God in relationship. It somehow morphs into substituting appearances, control, judgement and rules for the graceful presence of an invisible God!

But religion feels "good." Religion "justifies us." Religion gives me a platform to climb up on and judge you!

The truth is, religion is dead, religion is from hell, but it doesn't always start that way. I don't think the Pharisees woke up and said "I'm going to be fake today." I don't think many people grow up wanting to be legalistic, but the trouble with legalism is that it has no grace and the trouble with liberalism is that it has no faith. The kingdom of God is where Jesus was and the scripture tells us He came full of grace and truth. It's not one or the other, it's both!

In religion, we're just concerned about how we look. We are so concerned with appearances but God wants us to think of Kingdom - first and last. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Not to worry about religion and appearances and being in control!

Religion will always let you be in control of yourself and others but control is from hell - that's why demons posses and the Spirit of God inspires!

The kingdom of God is the actual presence revealed through a childlike faith in Jesus and when the kingdom of God comes in our lives, it comes by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:9)

We trust the grace of God and we just love our dad back because we are loved in relationship as His kids!

You and I are the body of Christ that God has sent into the world to reveal His kingdom! In everything, all of our God thoughts should be about Jesus and God's kingdom -first and last! When you and I learn to think kingdom, it changes everything! -Dr. Drew Shofner

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