The day had been a lazy one. Despite getting up before the sun I did not find motivation to leave the house until almost noon. I decided it would be a Starbucks day with possibly a little shopping or maybe even a walk on the beach. With my Mac computer in hand and snacks packed (I never leave home without snacks), I was longing to sit down with a hot drink, typing to my hearts content, soaking in the ambiance at my favorite coffee shop. It had been a long week, and I was in need of a little chill time out of the house. The only thing I needed was my car key…my key…where was my key? I frantically searched my purse, the floor, the kitchen, bedroom, and the office. I needed to get out of the house. I was going stir crazy. It did not take long for me to realize what had happened. My husband, Stuart, had accidentally taken both sets of keys to work. Perfect. I quickly disregarded the fact that I had once done the same thing: mistakenly taken both car keys with me to work.
I was under house arrest.
Normally this would not be an issue. I am a bit of a homebody and re-energize by spending time in our house. For some reason that day I had decided I had to get out. I NEEDED to get out or I would just go crazy! A little dramatic? Maybe…
So instead of writing you from Starbucks, the kitchen table had to suffice. I guess I would not be writing you about this topic if my key had been on the hook where I leave them when I get home each night. When it became evident that I would not be leaving home that afternoon, why did I become upset? One word: control. I was not able to do what I wanted to do. And how “out of control” was I really? I was still blogging. I still had a hot cup of coffee. I enjoyed good music while I typed. How much had this really disarranged my day?
Let’s set aside for a moment how shallow this all sounds. This event brought to my attention how much I really do have an issue with control. Sometimes this manifests itself in my reaction to a change of plans. Other times it shows up when I cannot leave a task for someone to do later. Today this problem was clear when I lost (very temporarily) the ability to drive where I wanted. I like life going according to plan-my plan. And what is at the root of this? Control.
Being in control of our lives is the opposite of what Jesus has called us to. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” The very essence of these statements is a surrendering of control, a denial of self.
As I have battled with one sin in particular this verse is not one I have referenced. God shed light on this for me today. I struggle with sin in large part because I want control…I want life both ways. I want to have my cake and eat it too (this saying never made sense to me). I want to do God’s will but still satisfy my own desires. But losing my life, losing my authority, is when I find the life that is truly life. That is when I catch a glimpse of the beauty of Jesus’ teachings. They are always contrary to what the world says. Lose your life and find it? Deny yourself and find Jesus?
I can clearly see the areas that God is calling me to lose for Him. And I will be honest: right now I do not feel I have the strength to do it. I want control. I want to believe I have the ability to handle these struggles on my own. I have tried and that has only led me down a path of greater destruction. The words of Jesus resonate with me: whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Lose your life. At all cost, deny yourself and find Jesus. What area is he calling you to lose?