Ok- I’m just going to go ahead and say it….2020 may have been the best year of my adult life. I know this old planet Earth has been a crazy place, things have happened that have been out of control, but my experiences in faith with Christ have led me to the most freeing and fulfilling life I have ever had.
Before I explain, let me say that I have always had Jesus in my heart. I was raised a Christian and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a child. I chose to be baptized when I was a teen. I was raised in church, preacher’s kid for a bit, played my trumpet in the church band, taught Sunday school and children’s church, and was very involved in church growing up. I have always known my heart was right with God and have known where my heart and soul will go when I’m called home one day.
But here’s the thing, I spent my life striving for perfection, control, and longing for acceptance. I prided myself in having things just right and trying to control all the circumstances around me so that I felt good about who I was. Those things made me feel accepted.
In 2020, I realized I had been wrong about things. I realized that my life of chasing perfection, control, and acceptance were sinful in nature.
Let’s start with perfectionism. I wanted perfection in everything I did. It’s good to do a good job of things. But maybe my intensions of having things perfect were giving me a sense of self-worth? Our worth does not come from doing good. Our worth comes from being a child of God. I have learned that I do not have to do good or strive for perfectionism for Jesus to love me. There’s no way for me to ever be perfect. It’s not humanly possible.
How about control? I was trying to control my circumstances and the circumstances around me, because I wanted things to go just right. This takes me back to the perfectionism. If I could control it, it might be more perfect, and then I felt better about myself. But no matter how much we “control” things or plan and make things just right, ultimately, we are not in control. We never will be. God is the only one who can control all things.
Finally, let’s talk about acceptance. I always wanted to be in control, so that things turned out perfect, so that I was ultimately worthy, liked, loved, praised, and accepted so that I would feel good about myself. All my years, I never realized the only love and acceptance I need comes from Jesus. The Bible is full of scriptures that tell us just how much we are loved. We are God’s children, and we don’t need others to accept us to be worthy or happy.
Earlier in 2020, I learned that I needed to give Jesus complete control of my life. I needed to stop trying to make decisions on my own. I needed to stop trying to gain acceptance from people. I needed to finally give up perfection. I prayed and I gave Jesus all control. I asked for forgiveness for always trying to control things or look to others for acceptance. I told Jesus to take the driver’s seat of my life and to help me give Him all control.
I was freed. I was freed from the chains that said I had to be a certain person, look a certain way, behave a certain way, or live up to expectations I had set for myself. I am free to live.
With my freedom of not needing to control things, my faith is strong. I try to seek Christ in all things bad and good. (“Try” because I will never be perfect-I still try on my own sometimes, ok-maybe more than sometimes.) I do not have to worry about things because I am not in control. I can not change things. I can pray, pray for peace, pray for guidance, but I can not control or make change without the hands of Christ.
It’s not about me. It’s about Him. All the pressure is off me. I am not in control, in charge, or expected to perform a certain way. The weight is off my shoulders. That freedom and faith made 2020 the best year for me.
When asked what my word is for 2021, I am going with “listen.” My prayer and focus for this new year is to listen. Listen to the creator who is in charge. Listen to His plans, His decisions, and His love for me.
If you relate, I pray that you seek Him and see where He wants you to lean on Him. What things do you need to give up in order to give Him control?