No, I have not traded in my pen for my webcam. While I love doing the Tea Time with Tracey blogs, I am still a writer and it’s days like these…when my heart is heavy and I feel as though I have been forced backwards in time to the vulnerability of my youth…that only words on a page will do. And I guess I’ll start there. This is my truth for today. In these past 8 days since Ash Wednesday, I’ve been feeling a little broken. As though my soul has been laid bare and the desires of my heart have been increasingly more exposed. The funny part is…I asked for it. Not directly, of course. But in the way that a person who asks to be clean no matter what may suddenly find themselves in a hot shower. Or, like when a child asks to be grown and then before he knows it, finds himself having to work and pay bills. There’s a cost for most desires, I suppose. During this season of praying and fasting, I asked God to simply free me from myself. Or at least the self that I’d chosen to be for much of my adult life. The self that I acquired when being the real me seemed weird and different and unacceptable to the status quo that I found myself surrounded by.
I traded in my authentically creative, passionately loving, fearlessly curious, successfully resourceful self for, in one word, control; the need to try to manage the outcomes of my (and anyone else’s for that matter) circumstances. I wanted to control the things I couldn’t even as, ironically, I continually procrastinated on the things that I could. Can you believe that I thought I was trading up?
Fast forward to now. Does it mean that in all of this time I haven’t been creative or loving or curious or resourceful? Of course not. But check the adverbs in that sentence I highlighted up top. What it does mean is that my desire to control everything and everyone around me has hindered my creativity from being authentic, the love I give and receive from being passionate as possible, my curiosity from being fearless, and my ability to be resourceful from being truly successful. Ouch.
I know where it comes from. This need to be in control. I know why I chose it. Because for a very long time not being in control left me open to being hurt by people. People that were supposed to protect me. People that I thought loved me but really only said they did. The feeling of not being in control became defined by hurt or degradation or rejection. Unable to process that pain appropriately and place people in their proper place and God back on the throne of my life, I washed myself in the deception of my emotions (sadness, anger, frustration, fear) and allowed control to be my chosen mechanism for living. Note: Because emotions were my driver, I’m not a controlled person (adjective), but I do need to control (verb). To some of you, that might sound like the beginnings of an emotional manipulator? It was. So much so that there have been many times when I struggled to know whether the emotions that I felt in a particular moment were real or just manufactured by the need to control the people and situation involved. The sad thing is that somewhere buried beneath the emotional manipulation is real pain. Pain that I’m acutely aware of but can never resolve because I’ve chosen the wrong way to deal with it.
Which, again, brings me to today. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made a conscious effort to work on being less controlling. But in doing that, I found myself trying to control that process as well. Did you get that? I was trying to control the when and how and why of not being controlling. Insanity! It doesn’t even read coherent on paper. That’s why it’s time for me to give up. Give it all up. The control, the manipulation, everything. And, if I’m honest, it hurts to do it. As tears fall against my will right now, I’m burdened by the realization that because of my desire to be sovereign in my life, the success and accomplishments that I’ve had have been mediocre at best. Sure, to everyone else, I’ve done some great things and taken some great chances. But based on the greatness that I was/am destined for, I’ve fallen way short. If you don’t get anything else from what I’m saying, remember this. The only real mastery that we can have on our own, apart from God is of own mediocrity. What God has designed us to be and do is so much greater than our finite minds could ever imagine. Yep, the need for control has made me a master of my own mediocrity.
In eight days of prayer and fasting, I’ve been made aware of this and have decided that no matter how much it hurts, I’m giving up control over my life. For the first time in a long time I’m choosing to trust Him with a child-like sense of expectancy. I’m turning over the wheel to the One who made the car. The One who knew me in my mother’s womb and knitted together the fibers and sinews that 33.5 years later would be sitting on this couch and writing this blog; this declaration of sorts. He is sovereign and for so very, very long, I haven’t allowed him to be. I’d made God my right hand man, only really believing that he could do something magnificent in my life, if I couldn’t do it first.
But guess what? I also feel a little bit like my ancestors must have felt towards the end of slavery. I see my freedom just over yonder, just beyond the residue of my sin and sadness. My hope is restored and in the shadow of that freedom, I see the fearless, wildly passionate, creative warrior for Christ that I was always meant to be. I’ve lived the first quarter of my life like a too-big kid riding a bike with training wheels. Being comfortable with the pseudo-security given by those two fragile wheels and not really realizing that the bike wasn’t designed to be ridden like that forever. My life was given to me by my Father in Heaven who loves me fiercely and it was designed to be ridden with WHEELS OFF. So I’m going to ride, y’all and as I do, I’m trusting the One who, in this new season, sends the wind to flow through my locks and gives me the balance I need to remain steady.