"Out of Control"
The highway was pitch black. It was 2 AM and the typically deafening tornado sirens could barely be heard over the pounding rain and screams of the passengers in the car. A night of two-stepping had taken an unexpected turn and left us stranded an hour away from home in the middle of tornado season in Texas. As the driver, I was shaking with fear.
There was water everywhere. It got to a point where I couldn't tell if it was coming from the sky or splashing up on the front of my car from the flooded highway. After a quick moment of relief under a bridge we drove out the other side into one of the most terrifying moments of my life. It was silent. The water droplets were so thick in the air that they were reflecting the highway lights and turning everything orange. The wind was blowing the rain in a swirling circling motion with us in the middle of it. I didn't know if we were screaming, crying or praying but in that moment it didn't even matter. We were out of control, in a situation that was out of control, facing a natural disaster that no human being could control.
THE LIE: I've got this. I'm good. I can figure it out on my own.
I cannot tell you how many times I have said those words. I believe there's a need inside of all of us to feel like we have it all together. Over the past few years I've learned that in life we can work and plan and save and prepare but somehow, things still seem to come out of nowhere to broadside us with the reality of how quickly our plans can fall apart. Our first response is to try to scramble around, pick up the pieces and cling desperately to anything we can possibly control.
Maybe if I look good and my life looks good, no one will see the ugly reality.
I was good at this, an expert even. I obsessively sought to control everything from food intake to relationships to my personality and appearance. When life seemed out of control, I felt like if I could at least control something then I would come out on top. It got to a point where I began to get recognition from people for being and always looking put together. Little did people know that there was a spiral of starvation and binge eating, fear and anxiety and the self-hatred that came every time I broke my perfectly constructed control. I was burdened by my past and terrified that I would not have the kind of future I desired. I was so driven by the need to survive that I was completely missing what it meant to thrive.
THE TRUTH: We aren't made to be perfect, we're made to be powerful.
My nana was recently put in hospice care and the day she began to worsen shook our family to the core. As I sat with her, listening to her talk in her faint, tired voice as though every word were her last I was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with the reality of how little we actually know about the timelines of our lives. I was overwhelmed with the reality that we will all eventually get to where my nana was and realize what really mattered all along. What will we care about? How successful or put together we looked on the outside? How much money we made and the exciting way we lived our lives? I looked around and saw my family reminiscing on her life and loving her in all her vulnerability and weakness. We were celebrating her. It was not for all the exciting and important things she had done, but for the legacy of love she was leaving us.
The reality is we are unique, gifted, chosen and called individuals. All of us. We are all called to different paths and no one can do what He has designed personally for us. The instant we surrender our lives to The Lord and allow Him to take us wherever He wants, we are out of control! It is terrifying. It requires faith, trust and the ability to walk forward in character and humility wherever He may take us. It requires living in vulnerability and allowing Him to use our weaknesses to illustrate His faithfulness. We might not always see our next steps or understand how He is working in our lives but that's the beauty of surrender. We get to let go and let Him lead us through the dark.
Control is rooted in fear. Freedom comes with fearlessness. We are called to be a people of courage which is the opposite of fear. We have the power within ourselves because within us is where The Lord resides. We have the power to walk forward knowing He goes before us and behind. He resides in the past, in the present, and is already working in our futures. Letting go requires trust. Trust in Him to protect us, to fight for us and to lead us as we walk blindly into the unknown of all He has for us.
We can rely on the security that He brings. We can walk forward in boldness and step into our identity: Unashamed. Empowered. Fearless. Out of Control.