Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)
Hi, my name is Becca… and I’m a control freak.
I’m a planner. That can sometimes be a good thing– having a plan and being organized can be helpful.
But if I’m really honest with myself, most of my obsession with planning comes from my need for control. I want to control what happens, when it happens, how it happens, where it happens, and with whom it happens.
Good thing the Holy Spirit works like that! (Spoiler alert: The Holy Spirit works NOTHING like that.)
C.S. Lewis once said: “We do not come to God as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.”
My whole life, I have struggled to surrender to God. I usually think my plan is better than God’s plan and charge ahead– never taking time to listen for what God’s plan might actually be. This has gotten me into trouble many, many times. You would think I’d learn my lesson after each time, but clearly I am a slow learner.
My aversion to surrendering has been making my Christian minimalism journey much more difficult than it needs to be. Minimalism is all about removing those things that aren’t important, to make room for the things that are important.
As I work to gradually remove the unimportant things, in essence I am surrendering those things. I am letting them go, giving up control over them. Yes, I’m removing a good amount of my personal possessions, but I’m also working to remove bad habits and unimportant time-suckers.
And when you’ve been living life one way for 30+ years, grasping at control wherever you can– surrendering is hard work. Emotionally, it’s basically grieving my previous life. I find myself grieving with every possession I let go (no matter how little I used it), and with every bad habit I give up (no matter how bad it is for me). Surrendering is hard.
But here’s the thing. Surrender=freedom.
When we surrender to God, when we lean on God’s understanding and not our own, when we seek God’s will, God shows us which path to take (thanks, Proverbs!). God knows what’s best for us; when we give up control, we are free to follow God’s will for us and not work so hard at our own plan (which typically is NOT the best plan for us).
And surrendering through Christian minimalism is freeing. Surrendering possessions that I don’t use and just take up physical and mental space, surrendering behaviors that no longer serve me, surrendering assumptions about what my life “should” be like and my obsession with planning and control– all of that surrendering helps me to be more of who God wants me to be and to focus on what matters.
What is something that can be surrendered to God in your own life?
SylviaFebruary 19, 2018 - 7:31 pm
I’m a control freak too. So I guess giving up my need to control everything in my life and just let things flow would be it for me. Ahh. I feel more free already. Now if I can just remember to do it.
Becca EhrlichFebruary 19, 2018 - 7:37 pm
Sylvia– Being aware of it is the first step! Don’t worry, Jesus has your back and will help as you start surrendering. 🙂
JohannaFebruary 21, 2018 - 8:21 pm
You are strong, beautiful, and wise. Also, you should continue learning about family systems and self-differentiation. It strikes me that this work would complement very well the work that you’re doing with minimalism.
Becca EhrlichFebruary 21, 2018 - 8:26 pm
Yes! Good point– from a fellow strong, beautiful, and wise woman! I will keep learning about family systems for sure.