Letting Go

My son purchased a watercolor paint set for me for Christmas (it was what I asked for). So the other day, I found some time to sit down, find a YouTube video for beginners and begin to learn how to paint with watercolors.

Now let me just tell you right now, that I am a bit of a control freak. I am a color within the lines kind of person. I would also never consider myself an artist, so to take on this endeavor is a real stretch for me. I’ll admit also that I sometimes have delusions of grandeur. I have a vision of what I would like, but to create that vision is as elusive to me as winning the lottery.

To stare at a blank piece of paper, come up with my own design, this typically would cause me to break out into a sweat, but I was determined. This time would be different. I was going to adopt the mantra of “Frozen” and “let it go!”

This got me to thinking about how us control freaks could adopt this “let it go” attitude in our daily living and relationships. I mean we all know that perfectionism is a myth, right? Nothing is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, perfect parent, perfect church, or perfect job. No, perfection flew out the window when Adam and Eve sinned in the perfection of the Garden of Eden.

We can choose to pick our battles, because that is what the pursuit of perfection does, it boxes us into a corner. We become like a child, full-blown into the terrible three’s, throwing a tantrum, demanding our way. We may not have control over our circumstances or in our relationships, but we can control how we react to them. We need to “let it go.”

Instead let’s let go and shift our focus to the One who is perfect. Let’s pursue to be perfect, that is growing into the likeness of Jesus Christ. When we want to know what true perfection is all we have to do is look to Jesus. Jesus is, after all, the Perfecter of our faith. Let Him show you what it means to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

Rejoice today in the fact that because He is the perfect, sinless, Son of God, He was able to pay our debt in full by dying on the cross. We no longer have to work ourselves into a frenzy trying to reach some false ideal of perfection, instead we can let it all go and rest in His perfection.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

It’s a new day, the perfect day to begin to pry our fingers off of our perfect ideas, our perfect plans to get started on our diets and workouts, how we want our children to behave, or how we want our husbands to work on our to-do lists around the home. You have a blank piece of paper today, take a deep breath, let it go.

Advent: Prince of Peace

You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.

Isaiah 26:3

If you have experienced an level of worry or anxiety, then you know how elusive peace can be. It becomes increasingly more difficult when faced with unexpected circumstances. Let’s face it, if you are a control freak, you struggle to keep peace. Your mind races, thinking non-stop about the possible solutions to your problems. If you’re like me, you are playing out worst case scenarios that leave you with heart palpitations, tears, a knot in your stomach, maybe a full-on panic attack. There is also the other side of that coin where you are numb, living in denial because it hurts too much to think about it. Either way, we are not the picture of perfect peace.

The verse in Isaiah 26 is very instructive because it acknowledges that the battle begins in the mind. To win this war, however, we must be dependent on God, trusting in Him. It’s easier said than done, right? But honestly, it is about our level of spiritual understanding in God’s sovereignty, trusting in His character, believing He is still good…even if.

How do we battle the anxious thoughts, the worry, stress in our jobs or over our families?  Dependence. Day to day dependence.

“It is not hard, you find, to trust the management of the universe, and of all the outward creation, to the Lord. Can your case then be so much more complex and difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of you?”

Author, Hannah Whitall Smith

Do you believe God can’t take care of you? How is your life showing trust in Jesus Christ?

  1. First of all, have you trusted in Christ as Savior? We certainly can’t experience spiritual well-being if we aren’t in right standing with God. God so loved you that He sent His one and only Son to die on the cross to pay the debt for your sins. Have you confessed with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? Because, “One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation,” (Romans 10:10). Peace begins here.
  2. Are we allowing God to “keep our mind?” Are we reading His word, even if all you have time for is just 5 minutes a day? This is the primary means of communication with God. His word is living and active, renewing our minds from wrong thinking, training us to make right choices, helping us to know the character of God. You have a very real enemy, Satan, who is prowling around “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). Don’t make it easy for him.
  3. Are you casting your cares on Christ? Take all those bottled up feelings and pray. Praying is talking to God. Talk to God about your problems, release your anxieties to Him. Let me also say that if you need professional help, don’t be ashamed of that, and find a Christian counselor who can help you process your thoughts. Give yourself grace.
  4. Does your life communicate peace and trust in Christ? A watching world is looking to you. We want to be authentic, but we also want to point others to Jesus in the way we handle afflictions. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” There are appropriate ways to process your hurts and there are also inappropriate ways. Be wise.

“It is not our circumstances that determine our reality but rather our reaction and response to our circumstances. You can choose to live as a victim or a victor.”

Dr. Tony Evans

Surround yourself with God’s word and with people you trust, who love Jesus first and then who love you. Peace is found in Christ, and Christ is in you through the Holy Spirit.

The storms of life may be raging all around you today, but take heart, trust in God, remain dependent on Him not on yourself. Hurricanes are real and they are devastating. Some are so intense that its winds blow over everything in its path. But every hurricane has an eye, and within the eye there is calm and peace. If we keep our eyes focused on Christ, then and only then can we find true and lasting peace no matter what comes our way.

This is a short video of an airplane entering into the eye of a hurricane. Notice the difference between the zero visibility of the storm and the calmness of the eye.

Let’s celebrate the Prince of Peace today and be dependent on Him everyday! Looking forward…one day eternal peace will come. Come, Lord Jesus!

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Revelation 21:4-5a