“My husband has no job.”

It was something that was very hard to say. Humbling. Embarassing. Because that never could have been us, at least we didn’t think so.

Five and a half years ago, my husband’s seminary internship was coming to a close, and we were excited to see where God would lead him to serve in his first church. In our church body, once you are close to finishing the internship, churches in need of a pastor are given the green light to interview and potentially call you to join them in ministry.

But as graduation approached, we didn’t feel led to the churches that had graciously extended calls to us. Needless to say, it was making me more than nervous!

Graduation came and went, and my husband hadn’t yet taken a call. Some people advised us to just go to whatever church would give us a job but we didn’t feel like that would be fair to the church, ourselves, or to the Lord. So we waited and prayed, and in the meantime….we lived with my in-laws.

Thankfully, my hard-working and resourceful husband was able to find a job making tomato cages (a place he used to work in high school). It was humbling for him to have to get up at 5:30 am and leave his wife and child to do something that was not the original plan! We had no space of our own, a 16-month-old in need of stability, and no career prospects at the present time. 

During this time, I came down with a case of very. little. patience. Along with that came an insatiable need to control the outcome of the situation, much like I had done many times before.

You see, I’m wired to control. When it comes to the little things, the big things, and everything in between, I figure I’m pretty sure I know what should happen and when. And for the most part, up until this point, God and I were able to “work together” to get things done (or so I thought).

But this time, I didn’t have even the slightest thing I could do to turn the situation my way. And it was making me mad.

There was a great struggle going on inside of me during this season of life. I tossed and turned at night, had terrible headaches, and cried out to God on many, many occasions to just “fix things” so we could move on. After all, we were honoring God by becoming debt free, so why didn’t He honor that? 

I felt as though nothing helped; not reading Bible verses, praying, or talking it out. It didn’t bring about the immediate result I expected. I was completely helpless. 

Finally, God brought me to the point where I understood how controlling I really was. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, but I don’t think He could have taught me in any other way except to bring me to a realization of my own sin. The way I was behaving and thinking wasn’t helping me and it certainly wasn’t helping my husband!

But I couldn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and use a 12-step method to help me behave better. My thinking needed to be completely transformed.

Once I began to recognize the battle in my own heart, it helped tremendously. The situation didn’t change immediately–in fact, it was still several weeks before my husband took a call to our current church. But the call came at the right time; at a time when I was ready and willing to yield to the Lord and accept His plan for our life, which had nothing to do with my own! 

The past five years still haven’t been easy. I’m still learning {and always will be learning} to stop controlling and start trusting the Lord. 

Internalizing this important truth in my life is like operating a slow internet connection; it’s something that works smoothly for a while but eventually needs refreshing and repairing in order to resume its good performance. 

My heart needs to be refreshed by God’s word, prayer, and encouragement from others. And the brokenness I often feel when things aren’t going my way must be repaired by God’s grace and that alone.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

Can I encourage you today if you’re in this situation? If you feel like you have a tendency to control, whether it be your children’s lives, your work situation, or your husband, can I pray for you? {Really, I’d love to! Please email me at jenn {at} thepurposefulmom {dot} com. 

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49 Comments on How I Learned to Stop Controlling and Start Trusting the Lord

  1. I SOOOOO need this book! I am very controlling of our schedule and have a hard “going with the flow” some days!!!
    kwhorton (at) bellsouth (dot) net

  2. “Let. It. Go.” is on my “to read” list. My husband retires in six months after 26 years of active duty service. Although I know God has a plan for our family, it’s really hard to not try to control/manipulate our next path. Thanks for offering a great giveaway.
    * Kim (nrg4god70@gmail.com)

  3. I’m totally struggling. I really really need this book. Please pray for me. I’m ashamed at how badly my controlling attitude and ways interfere with my ability to be a wife and Mother. I pray I win a copy of your book. I feel God is leading me to read your book. Thank you

  4. Thank you for this post today. It has really inspired me to look at my actions just a little bit closer and question whether I am just trying to be in control. I tend to do things myself so I know they’ll be done “right”. As well as expect others to do things the way I want them done. I have a long way to go but if I can let go and let God just a little bit more each day I will be one step closer to living the path God has set out for me. Again, Thank you.
    I am putting the “Let. It. Go.” book on my wish list. Winning a copy of this book would be a wonderful blessing.

  5. i need help stopping before it starts because my mouth doesn’t stop. i at least recognize it and confess right away, mostly; but i need to be the example to my daughter and newborn son.

    • Taming the tongue is a REALLY hard thing, isn’t it? I struggle with the same issue. Praying for you!

  6. I would love to win a copy!

    Being in control is something I’m continually working on. God has taken care of us over the years just as He promised in His Word…and when I look back on His faithfulness I’m reminded that the future is safe and secure in His hands.

    • Yes, it is so good to look back and see how God has provided for our every need! I remember a Bible college professor telling us to “walk backwards” when we’re moving forward so we can remind ourselves of what He has done for us in the past!

  7. Wow, it’s amazing how God can put things infront of us right when we are ready to hear them. I was nodding my head in agreement through the whole post. I have a hard time letting go of ‘my’ control of most things, this would be a great book for me.

  8. I would love the chance to win and read this book. This sounds exactly like me. For the past year or so, the Lord and I are in a battle for control. I know I am to submit to him, to allow Him to lead me. BUt I struggle so greatly. And I question everything, especially when things get difficult. Though the most difficult part for me is learning how to hear God talk to me. Others talk of hearing Him, I never do. How do I know what I am to be doing, if I am doing things correctly, if I cannot hear Him talk to me? Thank you for blessing someone with this wonderful gift! alizabeth palmer whimzzy1 (at) gmail (dot) com

    • I really understand the battle for control and the questioning. I think I over analyze instead of just recognizing that I can’t do anything about it and leaving it at that. Part of “hearing” God for me is spending time reading the Word. Over time, my desires and my understanding of a particular situation changes as I read the Bible and let it soak in. (I am not perfect at this by any means!) I also think He speaks through godly counsel, if you can share your concerns with someone that has a lot of wisdom to offer. Praying for you!

  9. Thank you for such an inspiring post. I too, had this kind of difficulty especially since I’m a new married woman, I spent years living alone and controlled everything in my life. Now that I’m married, I cannot (and will not and should not) control my husband’s decisions, and sometimes it’s frustrating. But I’ve learned that it’s God’s part to fix him if He sees fit, not mine! Thank you for the giveaway, please count me in.

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season

    • Yes, you’re so right! It’s good to recognize that it’s God that does the changing in our husbands (and in us, mostly!) as we learn and grow in marriage. I’ll be praying for you!

  10. I would love to win this book. I, too, have a problem with controlling everything, including what people think of me. I want everyone to like me and think I have it all together. I do everything in my power to portray that. One problem, things are out of control in my life. I am not supermom and I am becoming crushed under this image I have portrayed.

    • Praying for you!! Thankful for the mercy and grace of God: He saves us not because of righteous things we’ve done but because of His great love for us through Jesus. I cling to that truth often! We can live under grace, not having to strive for perfection or acceptance. But you know, I still do that anyway (something about that old nature rearing its ugly head!) So I completely understand what you’re going through. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

  11. I so absolutely need to read this book. (I have the daily schedule posted in 5 different places in the house – in 15 minute increments) I’ve been crying out in prayer for help conquering my anger at my little ones who just won’t toe the line (4 small children) Help!

  12. This book sounds like I need to read it. I drive myself (and just about everyone else) nuts needing to be in control of everything. It’s exhausting but I don’t feel like I can let it go or things won’t be done “right.” I try to plan everything for every possible outcome, I don’t try new things because I’m afraid I won’t do them right, and I yell when my plans get thwarted by the normal life of four small children. And I pray, and pray and pray some more and wish I had a switch to flick that would make me into the person I want to be. At least I try, but I hope the book might help kick start me in the right direction!

  13. Would love to win a copy of this. My struggling area lately are the things that my kids are supposed to “appreciate.” My emotions say: Doesn’t my son know what a great mom he has who will make Christmas cookies with him? Why can’t he listen instead of dumping the entire container of sprinkles all over the cookie sheet?

  14. We are just two days away from welcoming Baby #6 into the world, and I struggle with organization and home management…Keeping up with my large family is often times overwhelming and often I fall short in so many ways and then “beat myself up” over it because I can’t seem to Let. It. Go. I so want to just enjoy this season of life with my young children, while at the same time keeping some level of order in our home. Prayers are extremely appreciated!!!

    • Yes, I will definitely pray for a safe arrival for baby #6 and that you won’t put yourself under pressure to perform and have everything perfect. I know how that feels!

  15. This sounds like a wonderful book! A sure blessing to those of us who struggle to balance responsibility with grace, for ourselves and others.

  16. I told my husband I wanted this book for Christmas! The biggest place I need to give up control is with my husband. I would love to read this book!

  17. And now you’re living in the best town in all of America! Wooohoooo!

    Great post and the book looks great too!

  18. I’d love to read that book. I saw this post in my reader and postponed reading till after I got some chores done because I know this is me right now, but do I really want to read it?! Hubby lost his good paying job in March, and things are still not okay. Really feeling that trusting God is getting harder and harder for me to do!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s job, Jessica. I completely know what it’s like to be in that situation. Trusting God is very hard in a time like that. Hope I can encourage you with Psalm 37:25-27, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends,and his descendants are a blessing.”

  19. I struggle with a controlling personality every day. I know I should step back and follow God and my husband’s lead, but I am impatient as well. These are two traits that drive me insane. I would love to win a copy of this book.

  20. I would like to win a copy. My house is so out of control that it is very frustrating. I try so hard to keek in control, but have yet to have that moment when I truly let God take over. Thanks for the honesty.

  21. I have this controlling problem too. My excuse is that I always want to be prepared for all those “just in case” times. I have a hard time just letting go and seeing what would happen, or to just be spontaneous. I forget what it is like to have a child’s heart and mind and want to be straight forward with everything.

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