Sunday, October 20, 2019

Settle Down and Depend on God

I love it when things are neat and tidy and well organized. A chaotic environment makes me feel anxious. When things in the outward circumstances of my life feel out of control, controlling my environment, aka cleaning and organizing, has been my coping mechanism.

I remember living with a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach at a very young age. In the first decade of my life our home was chaotic-my parents' marriage was toxic and my mama struggled with suicidal depression as a result. After my parents' divorce and the adjustment period that followed, life at home with mama became relatively peaceful, quiet and chaos free. When we got involved in a church that loved us, we never got involved enough in the inner workings to know about any inner conflicts or problems that may have been there. So my church experience was also peaceful and chaos free. When I did feel any outside stress or inward loneliness, I escaped into a perfect daydream world. In that world I designed a perfect little home and a perfect little family. It was my dream of what my future would be like.

As an adult, I soon learned that real life was nothing like the one I had manufactured in my imagination. Real life is often messy and chaotic. I married my polar opposite in personality. Our one common trait was that we are both very stubborn and highly opinionated. Consequently, our marriage was nothing like my picture perfect daydreams. So, with the same zeal that I was constantly cleaning and organizing our home, I decided that the fly in the ointment that was keeping our life from being ideal was my husband and I began to constantly try to change him. I wanted to make him over into the image I had created in my own mind of what he should be.

To add to the chaos, we dove right into church ministry not many years after we were married. What a shock it was to me to realize that not everyone in church loves and gets along with one another! I discovered that even church life is messy and chaotic at times. So, I brought my "cleaning" skills into our ministry life. I thought that if I could only show others the right way to think, the right way to live, the right way to get along, then our church could be as neat and tidy as my kitchen cupboards. I soon discovered that people don't passively let you rearrange them in the same way bowls and plates do!

Obviously, the efforts to change my husband and the people in our church were futile. God had to reveal to me that truth by showing me the chaos that lived in my own heart. He helped me to see that, while I may be good at keeping a clean house, my own heart was a mess of resentment, criticalness and faultfinding. He also helped me to realize that all of my self effort to make myself, my husband, our children and our church into my own image of perfection was silly. I couldn't even clean up and change my own heart without turning to Him, yielding and surrendering to Him and completely depending on Him to do the inner transformation my heart so desperately needed, so what in the world made me think I had the right or the know how to try to change other people?  I had to settle down and let Him deal with the clutter and chaos in my own life and I also had to settle down, let go and depend on Him to work in others instead of trying to fix them myself.

Some would say that my cleaning and organizational skills are my strength. But, I know the truth that sometimes our unguarded strength becomes our greatest weakness. My weakness is trying to fix things that it's God's job to fix. Every day I have to consciously keep my hands out of God's business.  How silly of me to think that my ideas of what others should be are the same as God's perfect plan for them. How silly of me to think that He needs my help to complete the good work that He promised to finish in those I love and care for. How silly of me to waste my strength on all of this self effort when my strength comes from my complete dependence on God. I can't save myself. I can't save others. But, this I can do, I can settle down and trust in the One Who can.


  1. "Sometimes our unguarded strength becomes our greatest weakness." This is truly something to think on as it is so true. Thank you for reminding me this morning to "settle down and trust the One who is able to fix all things and all people." Blessings!

  2. It's so odd that an Elizabeth signed the above post because I am an Elizabeth and it was as though I was reading my mind. I've gone through almost everything you mentioned. This past week I read two Bible stories where God told His people to stop and let Him do the work (2 Chronicles 20 and Exodus 14), and then today I read your amazing story. Coincidence? I think not. I believe God is telling me to stop and let Him do the work. What a relief! Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement.

  3. Thank you for delivering this message today! I believe that message was meant for me also. Sandra


Thank you for stopping by, we love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact us with any prayer requests or questions by commenting below or emailing us at the About Us page.