“It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process, but God, who makes things grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7 MSG)
In this season, gratitude lists abound, and for good reason. When I stop to take the time to consider what I feel truly and desperately grateful for, even beyond the material blessings of the day-to-day, I return again and again to that verse in Corinthians 3 that tells me that I am not in charge of my own growth; God is. And for that I am profoundly thankful.
I am not in charge of my own growth. God is.
I am not in charge of my own healing. God is.
I am not in charge of my own refining. God is.
I don’t have the power to mature or fix myself, any more than a doctor has the power to lay down on an operating table and do surgery on herself.
All I can do is submit myself to the master of transformation Himself, and let Him do His work.
This is where I find myself the most thankful in this season – in the reminder that I am not in charge.
And when my “work-harder-hustle-more” tendencies get triggered, and I find myself battling the vulnerability of being messy and in-process, I have to remind myself of some truths about what is in my control and what is not.
No matter how hard I try, I can NOT control these things…
- I cannot control the speed of my healing. I would choose to snap my fingers and be all fixed-up, and that has not yet happened in my almost-30-years of life on this earth. My favorite song on my yoga teacher’s playlist reminds me each week that “You can’t rush your healing.” As much as I wish I could.
- I cannot control the visibility of my healing. I would say that the most difficult and painful part of my closest relationships is when my flaws, sins, and shortcomings are shown in front of others. I’d be happy to keep everything wrong with me hidden from the world. (#perfectionism) I shrink in shame when my sins overflow onto those around me, and my need for healing is exposed. It can’t be healed without first being exposed, and I hate that part.
- I cannot control the extent of my healing. Again, I wish healing and growth were complete, instantaneous, and miraculous, but one beautiful and difficult thing I’m learning about the Lord is that He is more concerned with who I become in my time on this earth than He is about my comfort level. God works at His level, and it is always different and better than what I would have planned.
Once I have (attempted) to strip those untruths away, I come back to the things I CAN control…
- I can control my attitude in the process of my healing. In fact, psychologists have coined the phrase “post-traumatic growth” to reflect the phenomenon of how much challenge can be the catalyst for transformation, depending on the perspective we have of it. It takes so little to shift my attitude in the midst of growth and change, but I avoid it so naturally, because it takes maturity and work.
- I can control the loneliness of my healing. As Brene Brown reminds us, “shame flourishes with silence, secrecy, and judgment.” I can choose to share my pains, my struggles, and my shortcomings with my community, and in that way, keep shame from taking hold and convincing me that I’m in this alone, which is not the truth, no matter how unique my struggles might feel.
- I can control who takes the credit for my healing. I know that God doesn’t need the credit, but as much I try to steal that credit so that I can meet my own need for productivity and control, I am in the wrong. I know who is in charge of fixing me, and any attempt to take that is stealing. I want to pat myself on the back and act like some part of the growth that takes place in me can be credited to my account.
I truly do want to grow into the woman, the leader, the wife, the servant, that God has created me to be. Yet, I so often get caught up in the vast chasm between who I am today and that person that I will hopefully be someday, and I get impatient for that transformation. What’s dangerous is when I start to project that impatience onto God.
Shauna Niequist writes these words in her book “Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life”, speaking from God’s heart to hers, (and mine, as well). He says, “I didn’t ask you to become new and improved today. That wasn’t the goal. You were broken down and strange yesterday, and you still are today, and the only one freaked out about it is you.”
If love is patient and kind, and God is love embodied, then He is by nature patient and kind, and does not struggle with my impatience for growth, and for that I am profoundly grateful.
ABOUT SARAH ROSE LOCHELT
Sarah Rose Lochelt is a Southern-California native who is passionate about the power of communication and the connection that happens through conversation, especially when there is coffee involved. She is a pastor in the LA area and loves to write and speak about the lies of shame, the truth of grace, and the freedom that comes from relating authentically to one another, especially for women in the church. She always has at least one book to read in her purse, is infamous for making silly faces at babies in public, and could live on pizza for every meal.Follow Sarah