How to Trade Control for Trust
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 5 Jul
Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Susanna Foth Aughtmon's new book I Blame Eve: Freedom from Perfectionism, Control Issues, and the Tendency to Listen to Talking Snakes (Revell Books, 2012).
Ever since Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, women have struggled with a tendency to want to control their own lives and other people. But you can win this struggle with sin.
Your victory will come as you give up futile attempts to make life perfect in this fallen world and surrender control to the one who designed Eden and made you: God. When you stop trying to control and start trusting God to do what’s best for you, you can enjoy a life that’s better than any you could ever come up with on your own.
Here how you can trade control for trust:
Change your thoughts. The battle between good and evil in your life often takes place right inside your mind. That’s where the demon who originally tempted Eve to sin, Satan, whispers doubts about God’s goodness to you. Realize that all sin starts with a thought, which then can grow into attitudes and actions. Start talking back to Satan and calling out to God. Pray regularly for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, empowering you to replace unhealthy thoughts with thoughts that reflect biblical truth. Read the Bible often, and memorize passages that will help you confront the lies Satan is telling you. Ask God to help you recognize His voice in your mind and to deliver you from evil.
Look for fulfillment in the right place. As tempting as it may be to seek satisfaction from the things that attract you in this world, nothing truly has the power to fulfill you except a relationship with God, because He has designed you to be filled with His Spirit. So stop wasting time and energy seeking fulfillment in anything less than your relationship with God, and make it your highest priority to develop a closer relationship with God.
Stop trying to cover up. When sin in your life causes you to feel shame, you may try to cover up your sin as if you could hide it from God (just as Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves in Eden after they sinned). But God doesn’t want you to feel ashamed; He wants you to be honest about your sin with Him. Realize that God already knows about your sin, yet still loves you unconditionally. If you admit to God that you’re not perfect and confess and repent of your sin, God will give you the forgiveness and grace you need to move forward into healing and a better life. Realize that your righteousness before God comes only from your relationship with Jesus – whose sacrifice on the cross paid for your sins – rather than from your own efforts. So you don’t need to earn God’s love; you simply need to accept and embrace it with gratitude.
Remember that you’re on the winning side of the spiritual battle. You have to deal with the reality of evil in this fallen world, but you never have to let evil defeat you. If you’re a Christian, you’re on the winning side of the battle between good and evil in the universe. Take courage and confidence from remembering the fact that Jesus ultimately defeated sin through His sacrifice on the Cross, and trust Him to help you be victorious against evil in any form. Every day, choose faith over fear, and invite Jesus to bring about change for the better in your life.
Shift your focus from your circumstances to Jesus. No matter how hard you may try to control your circumstances, you accept the fact that you can never make them turn out perfectly. Stop bringing disappointment and frustration into your life by focusing on circumstances that you can’t really control. Instead, look beyond your circumstances to Jesus, whom you can trust to use your circumstances to fulfill good purposes in your life. Make following your Jesus your top priority, and then everything else in your life will fall into place according to what’s best for you. Rather than placing your hope having your circumstances turn out the way you want, place your hope in Jesus, who will be with you through all circumstances and work them all out to accomplish good purposes.
Say “yes” to God. Whenever you sense God calling you to do something, remember that He has your best interests in mind and be willing to surrender your own agenda to Him so you can pursue His plans for you. Pray for the faith you need to stop saying “no” to God and start saying “yes.” Don’t withhold any part of your life from God; be willing to obey God’s leading completely in every part of your life. The more you say “yes” to God and enjoy blessings from Him as a result, the more you’ll learn about God’s goodness, and the more you’ll be motivated to trust Him.
Let go of controlling behaviors. Reflect on the ways you’ve typically tried to control your life (such as through obsessive organizing or restrictive scheduling) or other people (through ways like pressuring them or punishing them) in the past. Then pray specifically about each one, asking God to help you break free of controlling behaviors and replace them with healthy habits. Every day moving forward, rely on the strength that God gives you to gradually control less and trust more.
Wait for God’s timing. Don’t try to control circumstances in an attempt to make something happen right away; doing so can lead to disastrous consequences. Rather than trying to get what you want when you want it, ask God to give you the patience you need to wait for the right timing for Him to bring what you’re hoping for into your life – if it’s His will to do so.
Overcome bitterness and expect a bright future. When you’ve tried to control your life and it hasn’t worked out the way you’d planned, you can become bitter. Pray about any bitterness you feel, and place your hope in God, whom you can trust to give you a better future than you could ever ask or imagine for yourself.
Adapted from I Blame Eve: Freedom from Perfectionism, Control Issues, and the Tendency to Listen to Talking Snakes, copyright 2012 by Susanna Foth Aughtmon. Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
Susanna Foth Aughtmon is the author of All I Need Is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans and My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself. After pursuing various careers, including her own interior decorating business, she decided to stay home as a full-time mom. A pastor's wife and mother of three, Susanna assists her husband, Scott, in various ministries at the church they planted in Palo Alto, California.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: July 5, 2012