I needed to hear these three words today… maybe you do too?
Hi, my name is Michelle, and I am a control freak.
When I think of the little girl in me, I understand why control is so paramount. Even now, being in control feels like survival, and losing control triggers me into a slow spiral of complete helplessness. I equate control with safety, and when I am not in control, it can be terrifying.
But, what if it’s not?
If I could sum up 2020 in a sentence, I am not in control of anything.
I had my future planned. And suddenly, everything changed.
It triggered me and brought back my old friends: panic, anxiety, and fear. They unpacked their bags, and for a while, they were my constant companions, especially at night when they whispered, “What are you going to do?” It was just like old times. I started planning my next move while anticipating all that could go wrong.
One night, as I browsed the internet searching for my next opportunity, I landed on information about a graduate degree in Pastoral Counseling – Crisis Response and Trauma. I filled out the form to request more information, and when I submitted it, my phone rang.
The man who called offered to answer my questions about graduate school, so I asked, “When do classes start?”
Hello? Are you still there?”
Dates are a big deal to me, and May 11 is a significant date for me. I held my breath as I listened to him list the requirements, but honestly, graduate school was not my plan. He ended with, “The deadline to apply is April 15th.”
I put that away in my mind and continued to convince myself that it did not make sense to go back to school at my age. The control freak in me continued to look for my next career/opportunity. When the thoughts of going back to school came into my mind, I pushed them away. There had to be a better plan for me, but I went ahead and ordered my transcript to see if I would even qualify. I called a few friends hoping they would talk me out of it.
On April 14th, I opened the refrigerator and stared at the expiration date on the milk.
I applied the next morning and was accepted. The last paper I wrote in college was on a word processor. I had to learn what APA meant. It has been incredibly challenging and exhilarating.
It feels like I am walking blindfolded with Jesus, learning to trust and depend on him for every step.
It’s been challenging to juggle school with family and a new job. I usually wake up early and go to bed late to work on school work. On weekends, I take breaks to make meals, but mostly I am writing papers. I thought I would never get through my first few classes, but God has been faithful to help me. I’ve had to rely on him entirely because I am way beyond my comfort zone.
Why am I telling you this? Maybe you struggle with control issues too?
In Matthew 14:25, Jesus walked on water towards the disciple’s boat, and they were afraid. He told them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
My need to be in control makes me choose security, stability, and safety. It makes it hard for me to step out onto the water.
Not Peter. He said, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
Peter got out of the boat, and he walked on water towards Jesus.
It is hard to be like Peter. I don’t enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone, and I don’t want to fall. While this season of not being in control has triggered deep places in me that require further healing, it has also opened my eyes to an amazing and profound truth:
Losing control helped me to realize I never had control in the first place.
I still have to remind myself (and the little girl inside of me) daily: “Go for it! You have nothing to lose. His plan is better than anything you can imagine. God is your helper, and you are not alone. Keep your eyes on Him, and walk. If you fall, get up and try again. It is going to be okay.”
Maybe He has laid something on your heart that seems impossible.
Is He calling you to get out of the boat? What is holding you back?
I’d love to hear from you! Go for it! You have nothing to lose.
I am sharing the lessons I learned from 2020 that I am bringing into 2021. You can click on the link below to read Lesson 1.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
The lens of Childhood Sexual Abuse affected my life and my vision. It distorted my perceptions and impacted my decisions. It filled me with fear and paranoia. It absolutely covered me from head to toe with shame. When I looked through that lens of brokenness, it affected how I saw God and how I saw myself.
But when I began looking through the truth of God’s Word, I could see. The truth set me free. Looking through the truth of God’s word will set you free.
The truth is I am a dearly loved daughter. Do you long to live as a dearly loved daughter?
Last weekend, I shared my story at the Boundless Sisterhood Conference. Click below to watch “Dearly Loved Daughters.”
You are His dearly loved daughter. Hold your head high, straighten your crown and walk in that love.
This was a song that I kept #onrepeat last year: “Dearly Loved” by Shaylee Simeone. I pray it blesses you.
I pray this sets someone free.
It happened two Sunday’s ago. I walked in a little late to Sunday School and sat quietly in the empty chair directly in front of my friend Tope, the teacher. The four of us took turns reading through Proverbs 29. I had read the chapter before church and verse 25 stood out to me every time I read it.
When we finished reading, Tope sat back in her chair and asked us in her rich accent, “What do we see here?” When she looked at me, I read verse 25 out loud again and explained, “This verse really resonates with me.” As we discussed the verse, Tope said, “Yes, our fear of man can make them be like an idol in our life.”
I am not sure if I said it out loud or whispered it, “I am not afraid of him.”
As they moved on to other verses, I stared at the Bible App on my phone, and started reading verse 25 in other translations.
I was thinking, “I am not afraid of him, but I am still so afraid..why am I so afraid?” when I came across verse 25 in The Passion Translation:
My heart started pounding, and I saw mini-movies and screenshots flash in my mind of the ways he convinced me to NEVER TELL about the abuse.
Can you imagine the amount of cruel intimidation it takes to ensure a child keeps a painful secret? As a child, I didn’t really understand all that was happening to me, but I completely understood that if I ever told, the most awful and dreadful things would happen. And, it would be all my fault because I told. I had to keep the secret.
I could faintly hear them discussing another verse in Proverbs, because I was still staring at my phone and the word intimidation.
I thought about what it was like to live and grow up in fear. Bullied. Terrified. As an adult looking back to that small child inside of me, I felt deep anger and incredible sadness at the same time.
Tope circled back to me and said, “Michelle, what are you thinking?”
I shook my head and quietly said, “It is too soon,” because I felt very small and vulnerable. Yet, I also knew I was in a safe place with sisters in Christ, so I continued…
“When you said our fear of man can make them an idol in our life… I am not afraid of him. On the day I confronted him, he walked in like a Goliath but he left small. It’s not that I am afraid of him, but I am so very afraid. Look at this verse in The Passion Translation.”
As I read it, my eyes filled with tears and with a shaky voice I said, “Intimidation is a trap that holds you back. He bullied me constantly to keep me quiet. I never told.”
As I continued to break down and share more, they moved closer to me. Tope stood behind me and prayed over me.
We were going to be late for church.
A part of me felt like I needed to apologize to them, but I also knew I had experienced relief and deliverance once again and I was so thankful. There are layers and layers on this healing journey, and I’ve learned it is always worth it to keep going deeper and experience more healing and freedom.
This spirit of intimidation has wreaked havoc in my life for years. It has held me back and made me feel trapped.
Have you been bullied? Intimidated? Filled with fear? Manipulated into silence?
It’s a trap, designed to hold you back.
I’m praying you are able to see how you were intimidated and bullied.
I’m praying you are able to grieve the deep pain from it.
I’m praying you have a safe place to process how it impacted you.
I’m praying you are delivered from the trap.