Next week, I want to turn a corner with our Beautiful, Healthy You series and focus on a few specific health needs and beauty tips. Â But this week,Â this issueÂ is on my heart. Â I truly believe it’s impossible to embrace vibrant, healthy lives as women if we’re living in bondage…
It is my
humble opinion that American women are involved in a scandalous love affair with
Many of us watched as the women in our lives tookÂ control in the home, in the church, in politics, and anywhere else men weren’t handling things right. Â Taking over just sort of seems as natural as breathing.
In fact, it’s kind of scary to think ofÂ not taking over when life gets out of hand. Â We’re safer that way.
Or so we think.Â
We want to control our future, if and when we get married, how much money we make.
Should we decide to tie the knot, you’d better believe we’re going to try to control our man. Â Depending on Mr. Right’sÂ personality, we may end up in the dog house in the end, but thereÂ will be a battle of wills not long after the honey moon. Â (Or am I just telling on myself here?)
And child bearing?Â Oh yes, we definitely have to controlÂ that.
As Sally Clarkson put it, our prayers go something along the lines of
“Please give me healthy kids, when I want them- I’ll use birth control until I’m ready, and then I want you to work a miracle.” (source)
And motherhood just gives us something and someone else to worry about and control, doesn’t it?
What on earth does this have to do with our Beautiful, Healthy You series?
Well, it hasÂ a lot to do with it.
You see, I don’t believeÂ being a control freak is very beautiful.Â
Come to think of it, it’s definitely not healthy, either.Â
I should know; I’m a daughter of Eve and I’ve tried every trick in the bag to keep my life control-able.
And it doesn’t work.
Once upon a time I learned a really hard lesson, and that is simply that God will not give me grace to be in charge of everything and everyone in my life.Â
That includes my Mr. Steady husband.
It includes my kids.
And my finances, my home, my friends, my health.
God has given me a measure of all these things. Â But ultimately He is in charge, not me.
I’m a steward. Â Which, by the way, is a far cry from calling the shots.
So what happens when I won’tÂ let go?
I told you I learned these things the hard way, and I wasn’t kidding.Â
If I can pull back my mask and just be completely honest:Â I struggle with stress and tension in my mind, emotions, and body. Â I don’t mean I struggle with it once-a-month, or every so often. Â This is a continual struggle (think, daily).
My life used to be ruled by fear and anxiety.
I walked a very long and dark valley of depression. I don’tÂ ever want to go back there!
But sometimes I feel my footsteps heading in that direction again, and I realize it’s time to hit my knees and learn (again) toÂ let go.Â
I truly believe that so many of the “ills” we women struggle with in life- unhappiness, physical and emotional fatigue, stress, tension and headaches- spring out from the exhaustion of trying to control the people and circumstances in our lives.
I’ll say it again-Â
God doesn’t give us grace for that.
I can plan and strive and do my best, but ultimately I can’t say what’s going to happen in my life.
I can feed my family and my body healthy foods, but I can’t create health.Â
I can take herbs and and use essential oils and homeopathy, but I can’t irradicate illness from my life.
I can pray and support my man, but I can’t be his conscience.
I can strive to live a frugal, balanced life, but I can’t ward off every financial difficulty.
I can teach and train my children, but I can’t fit them into my comfortable little mold.
To say it simply,Â
I’m not really in control of my life.
And neither are you.
Does that mean we should throw up our hands with a who-cares-anyway attitude?
God requires that we be good stewards of everything he has given us. Â He expects it, commands it.
But a steward simply manages what has been given.
The last word doesn’t belong to us. Â The buck stops with God, not you or me.
I have a long way to go. Â A really long way to go.
But more than anything, I want to experience that abundant joy and freedom that Christ promised could (and should) be mine-
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, andÂ thatÂ your joy might be full. Â John 15:11
I’m not there yet,Â but I’m asking God to help me get there.
The more I learn to let go, the more I discover depths of grace. Â And freedom. Â And joy.