Relinquishing Control and Stepping Back

Relinquishing control means we purposefully step back and let God do the directing.

Several years ago, a friend who happened to be a professional painter offered his services for free upon noticing my walls needed a good coat of paint. I jumped at his generous offer and shortly after, my friend spackled and primed my walls in anticipation of painting. As often happens, the best-laid plans of man went astray. Before he could finish his task, he received a much-needed permanent job offer in a distant city, and he had to report to work within a week. Of course, I sent him on his way with my blessing. However, my spackled walls remained unfinished for over eight years, and as the years progressed, I became increasingly reluctant to entertain guests due to the sorry state of my tiny apartment’s walls.

One day, a friend dropped by for a coffee and noticed the white-spotted walls. She asked me if I was planning to paint soon. I admirably restrained myself from giving a sarcastic comeback, then explained the situation. After hearing my tale, she suggested a painting party was in order and helped me organise the event.

Two weeks later, my usually quiet and peaceful apartment was full of people, supplies, drop cloths, paint cans, and pizza boxes. Although my apartment was my sanctuary, I had to relinquish control and place the project in the capable hands of the overseer of my volunteers. We pushed my furniture into the middle of each room, and most of my chairs were pressed into duty as makeshift stepping stools. My balcony was stacked high with odds and ends.

Due to my disability. I don’t do well with standing in crowded, disorganised rooms. Searching for shelter, I gingerly stepped over paint trays and manoeuvred around busy workers. I found refuge in my storage closet, the only place that the painting crew was not yet at work. I was safe, but my view was limited to the quasi-organised mayhem in my immediate vicinity.

Occasionally, I attempted to venture out of the storage closet to wipe off a bit of paint splattered on a baseboard nearby. However, my balance made it difficult to keep out of the painting crew’s work path. When a thirsty volunteer asked for a bottle of water, I found my way into the kitchen to grab one for him. In the process, I bumped into two volunteers who were working in the hallway. The overseer of the painting crew reminded me that my job was to stay out of the way!

Within three hours, I had beautifully painted walls, and my apartment was back to normal. All the furniture was in place; someone rehung my curtains. The empty pizza boxes and water bottles disappeared. If I had not fought my natural instinct to be in full control of the process, I am sure the evening would not have gone as smoothly.

The crew leader of this impromptu volunteer painting team knew me well and asked me to step back so they could do their job efficiently, without being hindered by any attempts by myself to micromanage the project.


Personal Application:

God asks for the same freedom as my friend asked for. When we do relinquish our supposed control over to God, it seems our carefully organised lives are often turned upside down. But, in the midst of that whirlwind, God reassures us that He has a plan. Our heavenly Father knows where He is leading each of us. After all, at the beginning of time, he created beauty out of chaos! God asks us to step back into His closet – the closet of prayer – and allow Him to work on our behalf.

“We don’t always need to know where we are going as long as we know whom we are following. God is in control. Even when we wind up in strange places or unusual circumstances, the Father is not caught by surprise.” Mike Clay

We so often sing “I surrender all” but would we sing those songs if we knew God expected us to put our money where our mouths are?

What are areas of your life that are still very much under your domain?  What is holding you back from surrendering them to God? What fear is lurking behind your reluctance to let them go?   What lie about God’s character are you believing that would make you think that He will allow something bad to happen if you do surrender to Him?

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Until Next Week

©2018 Katherine Walden

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