Posts Tagged ‘control’

David is one of those characters that I can relate to well. He reminds me of me. David is a strong willed guy who can be pretty self-sufficient. On numerous occasions, David took control of his summit hike. It did not bode so well for him, but he learned a ton of character a long the way.

David was the youngest in his family. He was not so admired by his siblings. This part of the story sounds similar to Joseph’s story. David spent his days as a shepherd in the field, as well as a song writer. He was often excluded from family discussions, or anything that was going on with family business.

One day Samuel comes to visit David’s father, Jesse. I picture the scene playing out similar to that of Cinderella. Samuel is looking to anoint someone to be the next king. He asks Jesse for all of his sons to join him in the house. Like the wicked step-mom, Jesse presents his finest sons. Samuel asks if he has any others, Jesse says, “oh yea there’s my youngest David.”

In my mind the next scene goes something like this: David walks into the house, probably singing a song out loud that he made up. He dances his way into the kitchen where everyone is standing. I can picture David popping a date in his mouth from off the counter top while playing his air harp. His voice fades as he realizes that he walked in on something. Samuel presents David with the glass slipper that fits perfectly and anoints him to be the next king.

Wait what!? If I were David, I would be like, “what just happened?” It’s not like he was then ushered off to the palace and given a ring and robe. Nope. David returned to the field for shepherding and song writing. So how does the dream of being king even happen?

Cue David’s road of wonder.

After some time, maybe even when the dream of king had almost been lost, the tides change. David is sent with a picnic for his warrior brothers. It is on the battlefield that David is presented with an opportunity that makes him one step closer to his summit. David takes on a huge obstacle named Goliath and brings victory to the nation. With this win, David is then ushered to the palace where he is given fame and the one of the kings daughters to marry.

This is the first glimpse we get to David’s dream of being king. Before David ever stepped foot in the palace, God did some character work on him in the fields. God cultivated the character trait of faith in a bigger God. God taught David how to not rely on his own strength. This is a big character lesson for self-sufficient people. It was in the “simple” sheep fields that he learned to care about responsibility, protect the innocent, rise above his fear, and grow in intimacy with his God.

After Goliath, it might have seemed like David “arrived.” He was in the palace, and now son-in-law to the king. Break out the champagne! Sound the alarm for the party, King David had made it to the palace!

But was he king?

David might have been in the palace, but he was far from being king. After a triumphant entry into his new life, he then spent his days playing his harp for the king. David went through more time of waiting for his dream. He could see his dream, but he was playing the harp. Maybe God let David know that even though he was in the palace, he was not too good to play his harp and serve the king. God cultivated his character.

David went through a seasons of taking the reigns of his path, but God cultivated his character every step of the way. At the time David was given the throne, he was ready. Just because he was given the dream years before the actual throne did not mean he was ready for the dream.

How do you take control of your path?

How is God cultivating your character?


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I love traveling. I am a total wanderer at heart. I love new experiences and new places to see. I love basking in the nuances of other cultures and languages. My feet have been on dance floors all over this world. I love having stories that really require the experience to get it. I am so grateful to have seen places where my finger can’t seem to snap the camera fast enough to capture the essence.

No matter how much I travel, or even how long the trip duration is, there is something about home. I always smirk when I get to this point of traveling. The excitement of getting away from home was my motivation in the first place! Before every trip, my eyes get wide with the joy of escaping my “normal” routine and doing something new.

What is it about comfort zones and known places?

Makes me think about the Israelites who were wandering around the desert longing for the place they were just freed from.

The Israelites were held captive under brutal slavery by the Egyptians. God heard their groans for help and led a mass exodus to freedom. In the beginning, the Israelites were all about the excitement of something new. They were free! No more beatings from slave masters. No more long days of hard labor.

They were free – free from harm, punishment, exhaustion, brutality, oppression, and terror of enslaved life. So why would they long for that again?

Somewhere in the desert the Israelites nostalgia of the being freed wore off. Everything in the desert was unknown. Everything required trust and obedience in God who was making himself known.

Now they didn’t relocate back to Egypt physically, but in every other way the Israelites created their “knowns” – their Egypt. The Israelites kicked God to the curb and worshipped what they could control. They became enslaved once again.

I know home has its comforts, but what about when those comforts are harmful?

I read this story and think, “what the heck were they thinking!? How could they want Egypt again!?” I realized that I do the same thing. God has freed me from so many things in my life. His truth amazes me over and over again. God is matchless in every way, and yet I kick him to the curb.

Reverting back to Egypt kept the Israelites enslaved as a nation. I revert back to my own “Egypt” too often. I revert to placing weight on my fears more than truth. I respond out of lies that are on repeat in my heart instead of out of who he says I am. His truths are like signs post on the highway – truth that I let pass by so fast.

There are still areas in me that groan in cries for help. Parts of my heart are in need of a second exodus from my own self-imposed shackles. So I am offering up my comforts to him in search of real freedom. I want to experience rubbing my wrists like they do in the movies after the handcuffs come off!

In what ways do you long for your “Egypt?”


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Take a minute and picture in your mind something that you would love. I am not talking about a chocolate shake or steak dinner. I am talking about life dreams and desires. What is your biggest desire? What is your biggest dream and passion? Picture what it looks like in detail. Now picture what it would be like to be in that place right now. What does it feel like?

If someone offered you to take hold of your dream right now, would you? If someone presented you with your dream, with all of its bells and whistles, would you take it?

The answer seems like a no brainer right? Why wouldn’t you take it?

Jesus was given this proposition from Satan up on a high mountain. Satan laid out all of the kingdoms and their splendor before him. With big eyes, Satan extended his arm and said, “all of this I can give you, if you will bow down and worship me.

Why are short cuts so tempting?

Shorts speak to the place in us that does not want to wait. If everything we dreamed of was available then we could avoid the hard of doing the work needed to get there. Short cuts cater to our mentality of instant gratification. We would much rather have things RIGHT NOW!

My temptation is to take the short cut that fulfills my dream of speaking to lots of people one day. I know in my heart that responsibility is no small thing. My heart is learning how to lead well and hold tight to humility – God is teaching me how to wait well. Choosing to take hold of my dream right now would enable a huge crash and burn effect. You can’t build anything well without the right tools to do it with. I know I would fail miserably if I had the dream the eyes of my heart sees.

I am working on my response to surrender. Jesus chose the cross. The proposition that was given to him bypassed the cross. This choice was less painful, or would it have been? Jesus chose the cross and all of its pain. He chose to surrender to what the father wanted. I am so glad that Jesus did not take hold of this short cut offered to him. What would life be like had he not?

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

What short cut is being presented to you right now?

What would it look like for you to choose the cross?

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Raise your hand if you have ever used this line with your parents, “mom said no, but I am asking you – the best day in the world.

I used to play my parents all of the time. If one of them said no, I was on to the next one. If they both said no, well I still thought the choice was ultimately mine anyway.

There are so many decisions I should have let my parent’s “no” be good enough. I have definitely filled a mental rolodex of decisions making fails.

Satan’s next move was trying to get Jesus to take control of his life, and manipulate God. Manipulation always comes in the form of false advertising. Manipulation seems to make sense, and even sound great. The fruit of manipulation is usually the feeling of failure and disappointment.

To back track a little, the verse that Jesus uses in response to Satan’s temptation illustrates manipulation so well. The verse comes from Exodus 17. The Israelites are having it out with Moses about needing water. The people demanded that Moses make it happen for them. Moses responds with, “why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord your God to the test?

This is a classic case of playing one “parent” against the other. The people wanted water, and they wanted water NOW. Basically the Israelites approached Moses and said, “Mooooses….you were so great about that whole parting the red sea thing… you rocked that staff and freed us! You can use your staff and get us water… right!? You’re MOSES!

Moses could very well have walked away feeling empowered and in control. Manipulation enables false attraction. God wants to be king. Moses had no power apart from what God enabled him to do. Had Moses taking the bait, he would have failed.

Satan presented Jesus with a chance to take control of his life. He tried to create the illusion that Jesus had the reigns and power.

If you are the son of God, he said, “Throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

How do I test God?

The idea of manipulating my parents has not changed. I have just substituted my parents for others things: friends, family, co-workers, etc. My fears rise, and I think that God is not going to remember me. I fear that God has forgotten me sometimes, especially in the midst of a season of dreaming. The temptation is to cut corners and take the reigns. I will fail every time pursuing that route. Life on this road of control seems like an unmeetable bar. The feeling of not being enough seems suffocating.

Jesus came surrendered

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

Jesus chose to surrender to the father. He constantly believed that the father was enough. Jesus craved his timing and his ways. He just believed. Satan was defused after that.

I am learning to recognize the temptation to take control of the false advertising of my own power. Manipulation is smooth and falsely empowering. Surrendering is about waiting and believing. I am working on it.

How are you tempted to take control of your own life?

What would surrender look like in you?

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I am sure we can all remember times in our lives where we have faced an “if-then” statement. I am talking about the statements that challenge your identity and cool factor.

I can remember a time when my friend wanted to me to do something, but I was not so on board with the proposition. In the middle of my pondering, my friend slid in there a, “well if you are a tough girl, then this situation would be no problem for you.” All of sudden I was sucked into a dilemma. Now it was not just a matter of deciding between right and wrong, it was challenge to who I was.

Temptation uses the voice of manipulation.

The first temptation that Jesus faced brought him to crossroads of either choosing to be self-reliant or dependant on the father. Temptations will always bring us to the same crossroads as well. The battle of temptation forces us to choose between ourselves and God.

Satan approached Jesus with the temptation to choose himself. Satan asked Jesus, by way of manipulation, to prove himself, as well as, his abilities. Manipulation is the string that leads you into action.

If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

This request may seem simple enough, but Satan is tempting Jesus to make things happen for himself. In essence, Satan is saying that Jesus does not need God to do anything – Jesus is more than capable of providing for himself, if not better than the father.

What is my bread?

My dreams and passions are filled with the desire to influence, lead, and offer. My greatest temptations will rise up around these areas in me. My temptation is to make things happen for myself instead of waiting on the timing of God. I can get caught up in the areas of depending on my abilities rather than depending on the one who makes me able.

Truth is that when we become self-reliant failure is not far off. Temptations seduce us cut corners. The long-term repercussions of choosing to be self-reliant have created patterns of fears and insecurities in my life that could have been avoided had I chosen to be dependant.

The response

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Jesus chose the father. He chose to remain dependent on the father’s abilities. Jesus knew his identity was not in himself, but in the father. Jesus did not consider himself equal to the father, and chose dependency.

I desire for my response to be the same. The first question I want to ask myself facing temptation is, “would this make me more self-reliant or dependant?” This looks like more waiting, seeking him, faith, and trust in the father.

How are your temptations inviting you to be self-reliant?

What would your life look like dependant instead of self-reliant?

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Last week I attended a cultural training class at my church. It was definitely an early three hours on a Saturday morning. I do not do mornings well at all. So for all the information that did not stick, one sentence did. It was one of those phrases that makes you stop whatever you are doing and look up.

Our instructor was talking about the differences between cultures, and one thing she said was that, “Americans believe in God, but Africans rely on God.”

What! Oh my dang!

I have been marinating on the differences between believing and relying. Both words include the confidence that something or someone exists. Both words also carry a level of trust in that existence. Belief is one level of faith that let’s us know that we are just enough out of control, but relying takes submission and dependence.

I had to ask myself the question, “Do I rely on God more than just believing in him?

I believe. I believe in God. I believe in my friends. I even believed in Santa Clause at one point, (until yesterday! Okay just jokes. I had an older brother. No chance to believe past the age of three.)

I digress

My belief in God lacks reliance. Too often,  I renege control of me. It is a wonder why life is not working so well. I have had glimpses of how great depending on God has felt. Those times of dependence on him have changed me. I want more than glimpses. I want a life that resembles someone who has been with God. You know you can tell when people have been with God. I want that to be me!!

I don’t just want to be able to “have an answer” for who I believe God to be. I want to know because I have an active dependency on him. The fruit of reliance is a heart that is obedient and intimate with God.

What is the difference between believing and relying for you?

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I remember times as a kid when I would do things that would tic my parents off. I am a person who loves to test the waters. I have been pushing boundaries since I popped out of the womb. I realized it was not because I have this attitude of wanting to be rebellious, although I’m sure there were times a purposely wanted to push my parents buttons, but that something in me needed to see for myself what is okay and what is not. If my parents told me the stove was hot, I would have to figure that fact out for myself.

This mind set of self-sufficient behavior has not served me well all the time. I am miss independent, who takes control more often then not. Self-sufficiency makes it very hard to trust and and depend on someone else. I can even feel myself physically reacting as the feeling of being out of control approaches.

I am realizing that being in control is an illusion. I am realizing that I am not in control, but in those moments control has control over me. Dang it!!

Choosing faith has everything to do with living in a place that seems very out of control. Trust is the heart beat of faith. Faith requires the risk of dependence and fight to surrender control.

Whenever I would ask why I couldn’t do something, my mom would always say, “because I know what you don’t know yet.

God says that to me all the time. I ask why a lot. He is always saying to me, “Tracee, I know what you do not know or see yet.

I am growing into a place where my behavior looks like surrender, and my answer is trust. My blood pressure is slowly fading to calm as I place my faith in the one who knows and I don’t.

So how do we get to the place of knowing?

Trust simply comes from knowing him more.

How do you do that?

Read his word. Spend time in your thoughts with him. Look for him in little and big ways. Try, even for one day, to choose trust instead of control. Maybe one hour.

If I do not come to a place of surrendered trust with the Lord, my relationships will suffer in the areas of intimacy, trust, control, jealousy and fear.

I know a work in me has to happen before a work through me can. Same with trust. Trust in me has to happen before a trust through me can. I have some trusting to do with him and a surrendering of control.

How do you do with trust vs. control?

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