Tag Archives: control

My First Love

Success. Everyone wants to tell you how to get it. In the business world, companies that made it big want to tell you how to succeed—even if they are Christian. Recently, I have been struggling with the idea of success. A few months ago, I was doing all the things that everyone told me to do to be successful: I was doing my social media posts, I was writing blog posts, I was talking to people about my business, I was scheduling events. I had a business plan for 2015, a brand new calendar to write my new business stuff in, and a head full of steam. I was “hustling,” as a friend of mine and I started saying about ourselves.

love sky by winnond

image courtesy of winnond / freedigitalphotos.net

 

I planned a brief vacation with my mom, with full intent of “getting back to hustling” when I returned. I couldn’t work on vacation—I was in another country and wanted to be present with my mother. So I put away my cell phone, my blogging, and all the nice new habits I had acquired. When I returned, I picked up my cell phone…and some weird virus that left me mostly incapacitated for the month of November. Then my father died in early December, and I spent the rest of that month mourning and recuperating. I realized that I was exhausted. I had been doing a lot. But save for one week in November, I had forgotten how to BE.

The seven letters to the churches in Revelation are one of many lists of seven in the Bible that correspond to the seven spiritual gifts in Romans 6. As a prophet spiritual gift, the first of the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2:1-6 has always beckoned to me. I was recalling this over the holidays, thinking about where I am and what it means. Here’s what it says:

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5)

More than ever, this passage spoke to me. Of course God knows my deeds and my toil and my perseverance—that I have endured for His name’s sake and have not grown weary. But soon after my father’s death, I realized I had left my first love. Was I spending time in prayer? Sure. But I was spending more time “doing” God’s work than I was “being” with Him. For the same reason that I put away my cell phone while I was on vacation to be with my mom, God wanted me to put away these deeds and get back to my first love—being with Him.

So what does that mean? Does that mean PPG Ministries is no more? Of course not! But it means that I have to give up some of the “comforts” in my business for now, like posting on social media. I’m trading those things in for quality time at the feet of my Master. I want PPG Ministries to be filled with God, not with me. My business really belongs to God, anyway—so I know I can trust Him with it. And I’m finding that this is its own purity challenge—the challenge to bring holiness into all areas of my life, not just my sexuality.

Maybe you’re out there, having forgotten your first love, and you need to hit the reset button. Maybe God is asking you to give something back to Him so that He can refine and purify it and you, and make you both better than you ever knew. My challenge to you today is this: will you let Him? Will you trust God enough to give back to Him what is already His? If so, join me on this journey of purification. I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but I do know that God’s plans for us are for good and not evil, to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). And as further proof of that, here’s how that passage in Revelation ends:

To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

So are you ready for this year? Or more importantly, are you ready for this God? Ready or not, here He comes. 🙂

Becoming Fearlessly Fulfilled: Releasing Control

I was running late. I am always the first one to arrive in the office, so my tardy presence was going to be noticed. My boss was probably going to say something. If he asked why I was late, I would just tell him that traffic was bad. No—traffic was fine, and he took the same route to work that I did—I can’t lie. Instead, I’ll just be honest—I got a late start this morning and I would just explain that to him and apologize. I would work late today to make up for it, if he wanted me to. Great—I had (obsessively) planned out every moment of the interaction to simulate complete control, but I had none. My boss didn’t even notice I was late.

control by arztsamui

image courtesy of arztsamui / freedigitalphotos.net

As I was reading an entry from Jesus Calling, I was floored at my obsessive thought patterns and my need to have control of everything. Many people suffer from this need, but we don’t have to! We can release control. Here are four things I learned in Celebrate Recovery that I’m constantly trying to release control of:

  • What I think should happen. I have my own thoughts about what should be going on in my life. But God has other plans! In fact, He assures me that His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8). And honestly, I’m glad God doesn’t suffer from obsessive thinking like I do, because that would be scary. And if God doesn’t think like me, then I need to release control about the plans He has for me—because He’s got this and I can trust Him!
  • When I think it should happen. I think I should already be married. I think my business should’ve taken off at the outset in June. I think a lot of things that I believe are going to happen should already have happened! However, what I keep having to remind myself is that God’s timetable and mine are, again, completely different. What seems like forever to me is only a short time to him (2 Peter 3:8). And what He is doing in me during the wait is far more important to Him than when I receive the prize.
  • How I feel during it. Impatient. Scared. Lonely. Nervous. Anxious. Excited. They are all feelings, but they are just that—feelings. I acknowledge my feelings, but I should not give them control of any part of my life. When I “follow my heart” I have to be careful of what the Bible says about my heart: that it is the most deceitful of all things and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). Instead, I should take my feelings to Jesus and surrender them to Him during my wait.
  • How others might react. People are always weighing in with their opinions. “You should do online dating.” “You should push your way through.” “You shouldn’t wait.” But the Word says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). How others react cannot dictate how you or I live our lives. The only One we live to please is God—and we need to release control of pleasing anyone else and how they will react.

When you release control in these areas, you allow God to give you peace and joy as you become fearlessly fulfilled. He is doing it for me—He will do it for you, too!

In which of these four areas do you most need to release control? Share in the comments or use my Contact Me page to share and receive a free 30-minute Identity Intensive!