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Losing Your Life to Save It – The Illusion of Control

Posted on: March 27th, 2015 by Laurie Coombs 3 Comments

My daughters are beginning spring break today, and so I’ll be taking the next two weeks off to spend time with them. We’re looking forward to park days, bike rides, time with friends, painting our Ethiopian kids’ room, a trip to the travel medical clinic for our trip to Ethiopia, and applying for the girls’ passports! I’ll be back with you soon! Have a blessed Easter!

Lose our lives

I felt like I was in control of my life before my dad died. I had everything planned. I knew just how my life would play out. But then my plans shattered. The moment I was told what happened, it seemed my whole world came crashing down. I hadn’t planned for this. Life was not going my way. And all sense of control vanished.

I didn’t realize I was doing this at the time, but after that, I tried to grasp hold of control. I wanted to regain a sense of stability, and I think the only way I knew how to do that was to control all that I could. I tried frantically to hold on to my life, but I never could seem to attain a firm grasp for long. And as time went on, as I struggled to control my life, my level of stress increased.

The whole thing was foolish, really. Control is like a mirage in the desert. You think it’s there. You think you have it, but you don’t because ultimately control is not ours to have in the first place. We are not god of our own lives. And any attempt to control our lives is futile.

Scripture tells us God is sovereign over all. He is in control. We are not.

But I didn’t know God when all this started. I didn’t have anyone to rely on but me. And let me tell you––that was an incredibly heavy burden to bear. As I held on, trying but failing to keep my life under control, I felt myself slipping. Jesus said, “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35). This is precisely what was happening. The more I tried to take hold of my life, the more I lost it. But do you know what’s so amazing about that? The more I lost my life, the closer I came to receiving true life.

I had to die to myself to really live. The same is true for every one of us.

As I was finishing my manuscript a while back, I got to thinking. Now, this may not be the case across the board, but I began to wonder if unresolved issues are behind most anxiety and depression. I thought that perhaps those suffering with anxiety and depression bear the pain from their pasts. Pain doesn’t have to come out of some crazy tragedy like mine for it to impact your present. Pain is pain regardless of its cause. Residual pain effects the here and now, and until it’s properly dealt with, it will remain a hinderance to those who carry it.

I carried the pain of my dad’s death with me over a decade until God showed me that I needed Him to heal me. I didn’t know I had wounds that needed to be dressed. I thought I had taken care of all that years before. But I hadn’t. I hadn’t brought it to God. I hadn’t laid it down before Jesus, asking for healing like the poor beggar I was. And I had nothing to offer God in return. I was bankrupt in spirit. I had come to the end of myself––died to myself. I had lost my life. But this was the exact place I needed to be. I had just given my life to Christ. I had been made new, but I still needed to allow Jesus unhindered access to my soul so He could dig in and dress my wounds. I needed to open the doors of my heart so His light could cast away all the darkness within.

And when I did, I was healed.

I don’t believe true healing will come until we get to this point. We cannot control our lives. The more we try to save our own lives, the more we lose them. But when we lose our lives to Jesus, we most assuredly receive LIFE.

Any thoughts? Share in the comments.

*This post is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on LaurieCoombs.org on June 25, 2014.

  • Brad Mclaughlin

    I just want to thank all of you for your encouragement, honesty, transparency. I am a 4 time TBI victim and find myself struggling through so much in life. I do truly believe in the healing blood of Jesus and even the infilling of his Holy Spirit with the evidence of bearing his fruit. I thought I had accidentally came across this web link but now after having experienced so much love and honesty realize that without folks like you all sharing others wouldnt be challenged to examine themselves. if only I could write a book and or get a film produced I believe it would reach many lives , encouraging them in the fact that God is for us not against us and that in his Son we can be healed, restored and reconciled in most all relationships. This world is not our home . We as the diverse, universal, invisible body of Christ need to quit devouring each other with doctrinal differences and realize the oneness of the body God had intended through agreement of what his word teaches to all . Thank you father for connecting me to Mrs. Coombs and these others who reflect the same love in their testimonies. Blessings, Brad

  • Jef Cotham

    “Pain is pain regardless of its cause.” How true! We don’t always have the benefit of knowing the cause. We are not of this world, but are made of finer stuff. As compassionate souls, we often suffer the cruelties of the world more severely than we may realize despite knowing God’s love will ultimately prevail. Although we turn to Him in prayer, our hearts still hurt for those in need. We are,
    after all, only human.

    Just as love lost never dies, some pain never leaves. We simply struggle to manage until we hand it to God and, in return, He gives us the “peace that passes all understanding.”

    Scars remain, but the nature of scars are a simple question of perspective. We can become hard like
    stone and risk breaking or we can learn to bend like a reed in the same breeze that blows through some of God’s most glorious creations.

  • Kelly Dionne Bradicich

    Hi Laurie, this is absolutely “right on!” I recently shared with my growth group that one of the BIGGEST LIES we believe is that WE are in control of our lives. As a self-sufficient, independent, strong-willed, stubborn woman, I always felt like I was in control of my life and many lives around me. God had bigger plans for me and brought me to my knees reminding me of His sovereignty as I faced the chaos in my life that I falsely believed I had complete control. When I got to the point of anxiously spiraling out of control, this is when I clung to Jesus’ hand to rescue me from myself. Wholehearted, sincere, and dangerous (it felt) surrender was in fact what I desperately needed to do to gain liberty and be released from darkness and deceit. This is when I gained true, abundant life in Jesus. Thank you for reminding me of this truth and sharing your heart. It builds my faith!