Control Freak

Quiet time this week has been pulled from Sarah Young’s, Jesus Calling. Today’s devotion, September 17, is all about planning and the need to control. (Sarah references 1 Peter 5:6-7; Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 37:5)

I am a huge sufferer of this illness.

I flip through my journal to document my freakish need to plan and control. Page after page, day after day, I am writing lists of wants, needs, to dos, planning, planning, controlling, controlling.

When I stop to read the actual pages, I find that rarely was I able to complete even two things on the list let alone have complete control over that list.

Why? Because I’m so wrapped up in the “need to control” that I forget to consult “the One who controls all.”

Oh I pretend to consult Him…”this is what You want me to do, right, Lord?” as I’m dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of my list.

My lists and plans and freaky control needs are so vast and huge that I will NEVER be able to complete them and satisfy them.

As I thought about this during my quiet time today, I realized that there is a direct link between the number and length of my lists and plans and the time I spend praying, consulting, listening to God. The former is much longer and greater when the latter is few and far between.

This morning, I am changing that. Fran, thank you for the head’s up on the need to change my priorities.

Love you guys!

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Again

I walk alone.
With only my sadness; my grief; the dark.
Doing it my way.
As I run ahead, I turn back to see You in the distance.
Waiting.
Patient.
Indulgent.
Eternal.
You watch as I stretch the distance.
You wait as I dare to do more.
You mourn as I turn back less.
The inevitable.
I stumble. I dive headlong.
Thinking it will be good.
Convinced it will better.
And it is.
For a time.
In the morning, my eyes are opened.
I see the darkness.
I see the pit.
Alone.
Again.
I panic.
Uncertain how I got here.
Why did You let me?
Why did You leave me?
I cry out!
Your voice touches me as the words leave my heart.
I reach up.
Your grasp is firm.
Your strength beyond comfort.
You lift me from the pit.
Again.
The darkness no more.
The pit erased.
My feet land on Your firm foundation.
The ground is hard; warm, as I fall to my knees.
Your light blinding as You pull me into Your embrace.
Sweeter than honey.
Sweeter than life.
You walk ahead.
Your light guides me.
I follow closely.
My hand always brushing the very edge of your robe.
Ready to cling tightly.
I begin to live.
Again.

Lovely Deliciousness…Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350
Grease and flour loaf pan (I use Crisco and then use white sugar instead of flour…Oh. My. Word.)

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In large bowl cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, bananas, pumpkins and vanilla. Mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nuts. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend well. Spoon batter into greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350, 45-55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.

I always double this recipe and use a full can of pureed pumpkin.

Delicious when eaten warm with butter and/or softened cream cheese.

You’re welcome.

Conviction

There was a time when I would run from conviction. Run and ignore.

Over the last few years, however, I have learned to embrace conviction. In fact, I find that conviction equals freedom: I no longer need to do it myself. He sees, He is there to help me.

Yesterday, during Worship, was just such a conviction.

It wasn’t so much the sermon message, which was really about how we, as a church…OUR church…is doing it wrong. And how we need to do it better.

But while listening and meditating on PW’s message, I felt the familiar (but much avoided lately) tug on my heart.

Susan, you are doing it wrong. And I’m going to show you and help you to do it better.

There were a few specific “it” things He wanted me to focus on.

1. My Girl. Yes, He is in control. Yes, He is controlling her spin out of control. Yes, I need to do my part: continue to be an example to her; continue to reach out to her; continue to contact her daily, even if I receive no response; continue to love her unconditionally. Hard stuff when one is hurting, grieving, fuming. Only doable through Him and by Him.

2. My Health. I keep talking about it. I keep looking for quick fixes. None of which are or will work. And then one day last week, He brought through the front doors of our church (and my workplace) a woman who had been diagnosed in July with ALS. A woman who was deteriorating quickly. A woman who knows and loves Jesus, but has been distanced from church and, presumably, from Him. He reminded me that I had and took for granted what she was losing and longed for. A whole and healthy (relatively) body. He had me dwell on this for awhile…through my day yesterday as I sat with and broke bread with friends after Worship; as I hustled around my kitchen all day trying to get a ton of brownies whipped up and baked in between continuous power outages; as I set up and worked through a two hour event honoring the memory of a dear friend who is secure in the arms of Jesus after losing her battle with cancer at the age of 48.

3. My Attitude and Heart. It is not by my design nor by accident that I am working in our church. There are so many people in my past who would find that the most outrageously unbelievable thing ever. And yet here I am. Still working and serving in our church after 10 years. Sure, I’ve changed over the last 10 years, but not enough. Having been the most self-centered and selfish girl on the planet for so many years…it is a struggle and often a stretch to have a servant’s heart and attitude. Yet that is why He placed me here. Not so much for them…my church family…but for me. It is time I remember that and embrace it.

Conviction. Freedom. Synonyms in my book these days. How about yours?