In our home, we purge what has gathered in the corners of closets and the backs of drawers each year. We find new homes for jackets that haven’t been worn for the past few years, and we toss the reams of paper we no longer need. It is a freeing, satisfying time.
This year my husband was looking through a box of treasures he’d collected over the past 40 years: cards from family members that have long since passed; notes from his son; handmade cards from children he’d coached. They all brought special memories of times he’d almost forgotten.
At the bottom of the box was a letter addressed “Mac.” Seven pages of thoughts and emotions, handwritten, and badly faded. He called me to his office and showed me the folded yellow sheets of legal pad paper, and I was immediately transported to the rock, next to the bay, pouring my heart out to this man I love.
The letter was not dated but remembering the location reminded me it was over 30 years old.
My Life Changed and I Lost Control
Last week, I took some time to read the letter. I remember that woman, anxious and so unsure. Life had been turned upside down. My goals unraveled, dreams gone, facing a future I couldn’t see or control. All laid out in pencil, incoherent desperation.
The letter reminded me that time offers maturity. I am not that young woman anymore, time has changed me. God has used that time to transform me.
Somewhere along the journey, I made a decision that trying to control the world was ineffective. I didn’t have the mental capacity or the physical strength to fix all that was wrong with it or me. So instead, I decided to surrender.
Pastor and author Erwin Lutzer writes, “You become stronger only when you become weaker. When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires.”
Surrender is the key.
God Gave Me Peace and You Can Have It Too
When I was young, I wanted my will, my plans, the life I had defined. Even when that life led to brokenness, a path of desperate striving, a heart of pride, I wanted it my way! But with time, with the bumps and bruises of the world, I’m learning to rest in God’s desires for me. His will, His plans, a life aligned with His.
This aligned life doesn’t mean an easy life. I can attest to this truth. The years have not been easy. But there is deep satisfaction and joy that comes with facing each new obstacle with God, a quieting of that anxious girl from the past.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 reminds us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Our annual purge is such a wonderful reminder. God never meant for us to carry the clutter of our pasts. His desire is for us to call on Him and seek Him honestly, humbly.
I encourage you to take time this week to do a little spiritual house cleaning. Identify those things that litter your mind and heart. The things that keep you from fully surrendering to God. And remember, He faithfully waits, loving you when you feel unlovable, desiring relationship when you want to run and hide, offering rest when you are frenzied and out of control.
I made a decision that trying to control the world was ineffective. I didn’t have the mental capacity or the physical strength to fix all that was wrong with it or me. So instead, I decided to surrender.
Is your past holding you back? If you’re ready to break free, you’ll enjoy listening to this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: When You Want to Break Free of Your Past – 130
Struggling with anxiety? Check out this video from one of our writers…