Steady in the Storm, Chapter 12: Out of Control
“We are helpless. Learning one’s level of helplessness has got to be one the scariest realizations out there and we usually learn this through a traumatic event. We suddenly understand how fragile we are and how susceptible to hurt we are. Our brokenness moves from the hidden away broom closet we shoved it into and takes a front row seat in our lives, controlling our emotions and outbursts. We feel like school children again, wishing the adult would turn up and help us navigate the situation, only to realize we are now the adult. This is where surrender comes in. We must surrender to the acknowledgement of our weaknesses. We must surrender our thoughts and expectations, our ability to help and fix, and acknowledge our weaknesses. Only at this point of surrender can we acknowledge that God is our strength. We must step down from the place of control and shift the authority of our lives.”
When my husband first started drinking again I wanted to be the one to fix him. I wanted to be the shining light and motivation for him to come out of his brokenness. When I realized I could not do that alone, I wanted God to use me. I wanted God to work through me to create miracles and breakthrough. When that didn’t work I questioned God’s capability to fix and work miracles. I questioned my faith and if my prayers really did anything. The more I cried, prayed, stayed up all night with anxiety and begged God to step in, the more Rhett walked out of arguments and left for the bar. Why wasn’t this working?
There is a big wrestle in my soul right now over whether or not God actually needs us to accomplish his will. I have heard over and over in the church about how God uses people and works through his people. I do believe this is true. I believe God uses people to speak through and calls them prophets. I believe God uses people as a way to draw close to us and calls them pastors. I believe God uses the faithful to heal and calls them healers. But God doesn’t need us to accomplish any of this. I think we have elevated ourselves to a pedestal and believe God now needs us to complete his will on earth.
I’ve been there. I thought I was the answer to my husband’s brokenness. It was devastating to realize I was no such thing. The first three steps of AA and Al-Anon are the same:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
We are powerless. Our situations are unmanageable. If we are powerless and out of control, something or someone MUST be in control. We come to a belief of this and acknowledge the authority of a higher power in our lives. We then turn our lives and will over to this authority. AA was originally created by three christian men and the intention was to bring people back to Jesus. Over the years, to make the program more adaptable, they now state “A higher power” to be defined by the attendant of the program. Anyone of faith would acknowledge Jesus as the higher power in our lives. The main point is, for my husband to overcome alcoholism and for me to overcome my desire to be the one in control, we both had to surrender our lives and will over to God. We could not be each other’s help.
The world is looking for it’s help. They are looking to a leader to heal them. The world is actually begging for healing and unity, but it’s looking to humans to do it. I was discouraged this week to see a lot of Christians are actually looking to leaders to be used by God to heal the nation. This is just as helpful as Rhett looking to me to heal his alcoholism. I’m just as broken as the next person. I’m in need of healing just as much as the next person. I cannot heal you. I cannot heal alcoholism let alone a nation. This would be like the blind leading the blind. The healing people are looking for and the healing a nation needs can only come from God. Rhett was only able to find his release from alcoholism through God, through surrendering his will and life to God.
The healing of the nation will not come all at once. It will not be one human man or woman that brings it. It will come through one individual at a time surrendering their will and life over to Jesus. It will come through one individual at a time acknowledging their brokenness and weaknesses and allowing God to be their strength. To look to a human to do this is to idolize man above God.
One day, God will come back and collect up his family to take home. This will not be the healing of the nation either. This is the end game, and come this point it will be too late for the healing. This is why the urgency to go and make disciples of Christ, to bring people to Christ and allow God to change people through his love. I can only bring people to God through setting an example of my own life, being known for God’s love. This would require me to surrender my life and will over to God. This would require me to pursue my own healing through Christ and be an example of that healing. This would require me to share my testimony of Christ in my life with others, to show them that true peace, love, wholeness and grace is possible through the love of Christ. It is then up to them to come to the end of themselves, realize they are out of control and acknowledge that God is in control.
As Christians we should be telling the story of our testimony all the time. Tell it through your voice, through your actions, through your personality, tell it through how you treat others. How has God saved you? How has he been your peace in the storm? How has he expressed his love to you? I told my mom once that if just one person, through reading my testimony of God in my book, could know Jesus as I know him, all the pain of walking through alcoholism with my husband would be worth it. If just one person could know the goodness of God through reading my story and be there at the end game with us, it would all be worth it. If going through what we went through in our marriage would bring just one person to Jesus as I know Jesus, it was all worth it.
The only way for people to find Jesus through our testimony is to tell it. Share your testimony. This is your only job. If you want to see the nation heal through people, then tell your testimony and let God shine through your words. Don’t look to someone else to heal your nation. Don’t look to leaders, pastors or profits. Look to your own testimony and share it with those around you. Watch them walk a testimony of their own and encourage them on the way. Make disciples. Defeat the enemy with the blood of the lamb and the word of your testimony.
2nd Corinthians 12:9-12
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.