“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
During this past month, while suffering from my allergies to sin, I wasn’t the only one who was affected. Unfortunately, those that live with me had to suffer too. I have a tendency (one I’m not proud of) that when wrestling with something deep in my life, I feel like a failure. When I feel like a failure, I need to feel like a success in some area, so I will start throwing out demands and expectations in areas that I think are the easiest to control. I will first attack myself. The area I struggle with the most personally is my weight and the food I put in my body. I will usually begin to place unrealistic demands on myself and then continue my downward spiral of emotions when I fail, which I always do since the expectations I set can’t be met.
Next comes my house. I have always said that a wife/mother is the heart of her home and she should take pride in its appearance, both the cleanliness/organization aspect as well as the emotional atmosphere. When I start attacking my home and lack of organization it has presently, I not only sabotage it from an appearance perspective, but I tend to further ruin the emotional atmosphere by placing unrealistic expectations on those that live with me.
While I don’t do these things purposefully, they do indeed happen and I’m not proud of that. However, as I spoke about last time, God in His grace doesn’t condemn me (He realizes I’ve done enough of that to myself), but instead gently and lovingly reminds me that while those things are important and I have a responsible to take care of what He has entrusted to me, they aren’t the issue. And, because I love Him with my whole heart and want to obey while fighting the selfish parts of myself that want control, He reminds me of the real issue. This time He showed me through two separate books (one nonfiction, House on Fire, which I received through The Book Club Network and one fiction which I heard about through Book Fun Magazine, War Room), that the battle is His. All He asks of me is to give Him my problems and then step aside, giving Him the space and time to work things out while I continue obeying in the areas He has asked of me.
Sometimes that job is the hardest assignment of all. Give Him my worries, my stress, my issues and then step aside, letting Him work out the details usually not in the timeframe I desire – which is NOW!
For this particular episode, it meant slowing down and just doing what He asked- no more, no less, exactly what He asked. It meant following the eating plan He introduced me to earlier this summer and sticking with it – no excuses. Not starving myself but continuing the path toward a healthy relationship with food which may take a lifetime or maybe just a few months of dedication to His plan. Regarding the house, it meant taking an hour last night and cleaning out/minimizing one bookshelf. Not every single book we own, not every room in the house, but one bookshelf. Then tackling another area (not even a whole room) the next time I have extra minutes in my day. Most importantly, it meant not allowing my panic to demand unrealistic expectations on those I love. Instead, while our two oldest spent some time being spoiled by grandparents, inviting our six-year-old to help me and having fun in the process.
I find when I fully submit to God and let go of control, it not only makes me more peaceful, but my family thanks me for it too. I slept straight through the night for the first time in a month. I had missed that sweet sleep and now that I have it, I want to keep it.
God’s got our life – from job descriptions to financial security to broken relationships to food addictions. When we let go of control, we actually become stronger because our Father has hands big enough to take our worries and resolve them with the best solution in His time. When I continue to stay surrendered, my allergy symptoms disappear and my family stops feeling their affects as well. In my opinion, that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015