Just in case there’s any question, this isn’t a good thing.
Control, or the need to control, usually stems from a lack of faith in God to take care of our circumstances. The control that I’m talking about here is a negative desire to control the circumstances around us through “intercession”, even though it’s likely not done intentionally.
Sunday morning I was driving to church and I saw for what seemed like for the thousandth time, dozens of FOR SALE signs lining one of the most beautiful streets in Nashville. Some are for auction, others, I’m sure are in foreclosure.
As I do from time to time, I began to lift up Nashville to God and ask Him for mercy, praying intensely for, or interceding on behalf of the city. These houses represented to my mind, a need for the finances of many in this city to be rescued. As is the case for much of the country right now, Nashville needs help with the economic side of things, so my prayers were directed there.
As I began to pray, the Lord made it very clear that I was not to carry the burden for Nashville. Even now, as I write this, knowing that this city is not mine to rescue feels like something is being ripped out of me. Why? Well, I can only assume that feeling is there because at one point, or at all the points up to this one, I have needlessly “carried” Nashville on my shoulders in prayer — not out of a true desire to see God do His will, but to feel that I have some level of control over my environment — with the mask of a intercessor. This breaks my heart. To think that I’ve been deceived all this time… Selfishly, and self-righteously petitioning God to lift up this city and take care of the people within it, while not truly giving Him room to do all He desires.
Were these prayers in vain? Did they accomplish little to nothing because of my sinful heart, which wanted my will over His? I have no idea, but I do know that I no longer need to falsely carry the weight of a city’s destiny on my shoulders. And I’m not saying that my heart was wrong or that I had intentionally prayed out of wrong motives, but we can only fulfill our potential to the degree that we are healed — with Jesus being the standard.
Some people may wonder what is wrong with carrying the burden of a city. For some, there may not be anything wrong with it. For me, I feel it was because there was a need to control my circumstances (i.e. get value from feeling that I was contributing to the greatness of a city).
1. I don’t have to do anything, be anyone, go anywhere or look any certain way to be loved unconditionally by the only one who truly matters in the end.
2. My life’s hurts, fears, disappointments and scars leave deep wounds in the form of lies and deceptions that skew the way I view myself, God, and the world around me.
3. Out of those wounds mixed with truth, I operate to the best of my ability. Sometimes my best isn’t sufficient to accomplish a goal on my own.
4. Ultimately, I must rely solely on God for everything. He is the only one who gives me any ability whatsoever and it is only as a response to my love for Him and of His love for me that I should act.
Papa God, your truth is beautiful. There is so much room to rest and enjoy your glory when my false responsibility is removed. Continue to teach me to be a servant, a friend, a son and an heir. Your love is amazing.