Arnold Schwarzenegger and I turned 66 and 27 years old last week, respectively. Forty-five days from today I’ll be married and eighty-nine days from today I’ll be living with my wife in Nicaragua indefinitely.
I got my first glimpse of what this newly married season may look like. A few weeks ago, I had to put a deposit down on a house in Nicaragua I had never seen before. The house was in a town I had only visited for a weekend once in 2011. The two pictures online provided the only description I had of the house, and I was skeptical to what exactly ‘furnished’ meant in Nicaragua.
I prayed about the house. I still wasn’t sure. There was nothing else to think about, so I hesitantly made the deposit. It wasn’t fun. It felt like I was losing control of my life. It felt like I was putting all my trust in God.
What Are We Talking About Here
There is a man older than me, old enough to be nearly retired. Early in life, he made a decision with his wife to live different. A decision that would alter the course of his life. He decided to be a man of faith. But what does that mean anymore? He decided to attend church weekly? He decided to be a Christian? He decided to believe in God?
The definition of faith is ‘the trust in a person or thing’. He decided to be a man that trusts God. Simple enough.
Years ago, I heard him say something that has stuck in my mind ever since. He was reading Matthew 6:25, where Jesus said, “I’m telling you, do not be anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body and what you’ll put on.”
The man, older and wiser than me, looked up over his Bible and reading glasses, and said, “Guys, if Matthew 6:25 isn’t completely true, I’m fucked.”
I’ve yet to hear a more accurate description on a life of true faith. A life where there’s no plan B in case God’s promise isn’t true. If God does not come through, a man of faith is… it would be bad. But like my house in Nicaragua, it’s so hard to let go of control. It’s even harder when we can’t see to whom we’re giving the control.
Yet we’ll give up control to so much if we can see it, or if we can have just a tiny bit of the control. We’ll give up control and become a man of faith for our employment, our 401K, the stock market, the housing market, professional advisers, the government. That’s the safe play. The sure thing.
Playing – and Living – the Unsure Bet
We’re hesitant to lose control to God the father. Giving our entire life to him is the risky move. Believing he truly loves us enough to take care of every need – now we’re getting uncomfortable. That man, the man of faith, isn’t planning a move to Florida with his retirement fund. He doesn’t drive a particularly nice car. They still rent the house they live in, like they always have. Even after years of being a man of faith, if God left him and his wife now they would have nothing to fall back on. And he lives an incredibly fulfilling and joyful life.
Hear me, playing it safe is not always wrong. Sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes it isn’t necessary, but it’s responsible. Introspection is essential here. So is honesty.
If deep in your heart you find fear of giving up control, if fear dictates the major decisions in your life, know there’s freedom in letting go.
If the results of exploring the gritty depths of your heart reveal you don’t trust God to take care of your every need, ask your father for increased faith. Ask for enough to take the leap into the unknown.
If you trust him to take care of your needs, but you fear losing the extra stuff, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor. Then, you’ll have freedom. No, really. Those aren’t my words.
Becoming a Slave to Receive Freedom
I’m convicted writing this because there are places in my life I haven’t let go of control. Stories of faith in my life like taking the house in Nicaragua are the exception, not every day occurrences.
But I also recall where I was a few years ago. I remember when I was a slave to my own control. I remember the by-products of attempting to do it myself. There was fear and stress, only exceeded by playing life safe. I eventually decided to give him a chance. I let go, just to give him a chance to prove me wrong. Every day I try to lose control a little bit more, because God has yet to let me go, and Matthew 6:25 has never failed to come through. I think it’s going to be a good year.
Do you have a backup plan in case God doesn’t show up? If Matthew 6:25 isn’t true, will you be perfectly fine?