When Lane Of Roses reached out to me to write on a time in my life when God had a radical impact, I so quickly wanted to turn down collaborating with them and writing this post. Not because I didn't think what they were doing was powerful and glorious, but because it is difficult sometimes to reflect on your journey with God.
To truly be transparent, open and vulnerable about the moments in life where I have struggled...the thought of sharing all that scared me a lot. I e-mailed her back saying I would pray about it and let her know if that was something I wanted to share. I started praying, and the first thing that popped in my head was control. I started thinking about all the times in my life where I thought I could have a better life if I took full control of everything and gave God control of almost nothing. The "I can do it myself" attitude. "I don't need God to work in my life"... I loved him, but I didn't NEED him, per se. Man, was I wrong.
A few years ago I found myself stressed out, never satisfied (no matter what our results in life and in business were), so addicted to the idea of success that I forgot to be grateful for all the blessings our lives had already. I was stuck in a cycle of comparison.
Comparison became my primary motivating factor. "Their life is better, I must work harder to keep up." "They just got engaged so I need a ring like that ASAP." "Their business is growing faster, I just push harder to prove myself." That is dangerous way to live your life, and a few years ago I really realized that. My self-worth had been based on performance and results, and I wasn't happy. I had to shift what motivated me in life. My reasons and my drive had to start coming from a different place. I knew I needed to make the shift from being motivated by earthly things to being motivated to glorify God. I knew the only way I would have pure joy and happiness in my life was if I learned to count my blessings every day, let go of control, and - in dark and in light - have faith that God has a plan for me and is using me in His way. I made a decision to let go of control and work on my faith.
Prior to embarking on this faith-filled journey, I would either try to control the chaos in my life or I would drown in it, but either way I was pushing God away and having no faith. I once heard somebody say that the opposite of faith is comfort; if you are comfortable, it requires no faith. I found comfort in trying to control everything, thinking that if I worried and stressed about things instead of trusting in God to provide and work, it would lead to a more efficient life. I had to learn to let go of control and have faith, pure faith. I was delirious in thinking I was in control or thinking that I (instead of God) knew what was best for me. We all hear the "Let go and let God" talks, and before I might have written it off as a cliche, but really that's what I had to do. I had to put real trust and faith in God for my life. We have to realize that if we live our lives in fear and worry, we are minimizing God and all that He can do. If God is good, and He is, how can you live your life in fear? How could that even be possible unless you believe God is powerless? You can't hold two opposing views in your life at the same time. Either God is good and He will take care of me (“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” -Matthew 6:26) or He isn't good and I have to do everything myself. In living my life through worry and fear, I was minimizing and underestimating God's power. Now, my primary motivations are to glorify God and live a joyous life, and I now realize my worth is from God. "So you are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority" Colossians 2:10.
Along with letting go of control, I had to learn patience. Having patience is having faith. When I would try to force everything out of the fear of what I didn't have, it would take me further from God and further from the goals I was striving for. I was caught in a cycle of working hard for the wrong reasons. I was working out of fear. Fear of losing what we already had and fear of not gaining what I wanted. I did that in my relationship and my business. This is hard for me to admit and also embarrassing, but I was seriously so consumed and obsessed with the idea of getting engaged about four years ago. I was seeing so many friends get engaged, and thanks to my comparison nature I started putting pressure on Nick. I had ring qualifications and time requirements that if he did not meet I was not going to be happy. WHAT?! Looking back I see how ridiculous and sad that is. But I'm telling you, I was so detached from wanting God to work in my life that I just wanted to force things to happen. Now don't get me wrong, I love Nick with all my heart and am so grateful we got engaged and are now happily married, but I rushed him into it. He felt financially stressed to provide what I was asking for, but I was being selfish and pushed it. He and I both would have enjoyed it all a lot more had I not been so controlling, been at peace with being patient, and waited until the timing was right in God's eyes.
I was doing similar things in our business too. I wanted more sales, higher ranks, more results so badly that I would work like a crazy person just to prove myself in business and out of the fear of not getting what I wanted. I still love winning in life, and I still love working hard. However, now I remind myself everyday that I am grateful for my health, my loving husband, my supportive family, our thriving business and the freedom I have to pursue things I love. By reminding myself of these things every day, I am in a state of gratitude which allows me to feel peace, give up control and work my booty off to give all thanks and glory back to God. The one who truly deserves all the glory.
I am not perfect, and when I call it a journey, I mean it is one I am still on and will always be on. It is a daily discipline to practice having faith and letting go of fear and control. I still have days where I struggle to have faith, but I can honestly say, the majority of the time now I feel at peace and very grateful. When you shift your mind from the results you want to the blessings you have, and let control go, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the blessings that pour in. It makes me think; maybe I wasn't receiving more blessings because I didn't even appreciate the ones I had already. It makes sense. In searching for happiness, I also found a huge amount of peace in my life. I am constantly reminding myself of the powerful lessons the Lord has taught me in the last few years, and when fear creeps in and I want to rush or control my life (ex: having babies, buying our first house, etc), I just remember that God's timing is perfect timing. And God's plan is a perfect plan. I could not, have not and will not ever create a better plan for my life than the one He has designed for me. I hope my experiences and lessons can help someone, anyone reading this. I pray that my journey and being vulnerable in writing this will help someone else in their walk with God.