The past two weeks were rough for me. I was daily at odds with my toddler. It deeply pained me and caused me much regret by the end of every day.
I had frequent outbursts regardless of his behaviors or actions. I felt overwhelmed and burnt out. Which only caused more meltdowns as a response from him. I began to fear that I was doing damage to my child long term. Insert shame.
After getting into prayer, I was reminded of an interview I listened to on a radio program recently. The premise was that some parents may have to grieve over their children leaving a certain stage of life. For me, I realized I had to grieve that my little boy is no longer “my baby”. I used to be his primary source of comfort, food, and care. He’s more independent now. He doesn’t need me like he once did. And, I felt like I no longer had control.
There it was; the root. Control. I could no longer control him. Every time I tried, he opposed me all the more.
I had some wise elders suggest the reason I was this way. Since I was a victim of abuse previously, I became controlling as if to guard my heart from ever getting hurt in the future. The mindset that I had to be in control put others in a path of hurt that I now created. Essentially, trying to be in control caused me to act out of control!
In addition, I was taking on “God’s role”. I was not fully trusting my eternal, all-powerful God. He sees the future (Isaiah 46:9-10). He can handle all things (Isaiah 14:24). He strengthens the weak (Isaiah 40:29). I was not created to do these roles for Him. Wow. Talk about humbling a heart.
I felt I had to get alone time with God. So, I decided to go on a 30-minute walk. Walking toward the dead end part of a road, I journeyed on a dirt path. Eventually I came to a fork in the road. I had a choice. I could journey on the dirt path that was visibly traveled. Or, I could journey on a path into the woods- a path less traveled. I chose the latter.
This physical representation was a spiritual decision I was making in my heart as well. I wanted to choose the path less traveled. The one that says I choose God’s will above my own.
I was reminded that the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (causing temperance). This was already a gift given to me when I accepted the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Except, I had been choosing to receive a replica gift; packaged by my adversary. The so-called gift of being in control (causing a bad temper).
As I continued on the path less traveled, tears were flowing from my eyes. I asked God for forgiveness of everything I had caused through my foolish acceptance of control. I asked Him to remove the added weight of regret, fear, shame, and pride. Finally, I asked God to remove the root of it all to prevent it from reoccurring again.
With my head hung low, I caught a glimpse of some water trickling downhill beside my feet. In that moment, God refreshed my mind with the 23rd Psalm. We communicated together what it means to me presently.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
God is leading me, tending to me, and providing for me daily. I will not lack anything, in any given day or time.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
God beckons me to stop what I am doing to rest in Him; in His pleasant, sprouting, dwelling place.
He leads me beside the still waters.
Yet again, He guides me directly to Him. He is my source of living water. He quenches all of my thirsts. Here I receive more rest.
He restores my soul;
Because of Him my soul is renewed, refreshed, rescued, revived, rewarded, recovered.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
In; not on. “In” is indicative that there are walls. I am surrounded. His righteousness is all around me. I can only live rightly through Him.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
The choices I make that lead to sin are from hell itself. But I do not have to fear it. Jesus conquered sin and death. I accepted Him and believe in Him. He IS with me. I am overcoming because of Jesus.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
God’s compassionate correction and discipline is to bring me to repentance. That is where I find comfort.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
God has given an abundance of provisions and prepared them for me in the midst of my enemies- regret, shame, fear, pride.
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
All of my being- the outer, physical manifestation of this body and the inner vessel- are satiated. God makes me abundantly full and beyond satisfaction.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;
My additional promise. Not just one day. Not just on the days that I choose right or act right. But, ALL the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Whether I abide in Him on this Earth or in the heavens, I am promised to be with Him for eternity!
You see, God gives me everything I need for every circumstance. There is strength to be found in my moments of weakness. Especially when I act out of control. Now, I am encouraged all the more to entrust all my cares and concerns to the God who is my Good Shepherd.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.”- 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 (MSG)