Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Refine: Giving Up Control

docked-sailboats

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—REFINE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

REFINE

True confession: I like control. Not controlling others, but being able to have some control of my life.

And God probably looks down at me some days, and says, “Silly, silly girl.”

Most of the time, I know how my days are going to flow. I’ve got a good feel of what’s coming.

And I like it that way.

The thing is? This way of living requires very little trust on my end.

Recently, God has placed our family in a situation where I have. No. Control.

Something is happening, and it’s way out of my time parameters.

God’s plans and mine have collided, and my heart hasn’t been a pretty place.

The things is: I know God is good. I know He’s in control.

And I have to trust Him with this situation. It involves people I really care about, and it’s hard not being able to do anything for them.

Sometimes, refining comes in the form of heart work. I talk about trusting God. And I do trust Him. I do.

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But sometimes God refines me by placing me in a situation where I have to choose trust. I have to choose to walk out this situation in His timing. His parameters. And this is hard for a girl who likes a little control.

God’s refining often smooths away the rough edges the world’s chipped off around my heart.  His refining touch brings smoothness to the rough places. It begins a work of beauty in a place of ugliness.

When God refines us, it’s always done with the utmost of His love. He never hurts, jars, or challenges us for the sake of just doing these. He is very intentional in the work He does.

His end goal is to help us to look a little more like Jesus.

If we didn’t face those hard places in life . . .

. . . if we weren’t put in positions where we had to stretch and choose . . .

. . . we would remain stilted. Half-finished. Incomplete.

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As painful as it can be to walk through the refining God has for us, we can look to the beauty of Him, and we can keep our hope in Him. Knowing that HIs plans for us may not always be easy, but they are always good.

What about you? When has God done some refining in you? How do you keep a good perspective when life throws you curveballs?

Click to Tweet: Sometimes, refining comes in the form of heart work.

I’m linking up with Kate’s Heading Home Five Minute Friday—Refine

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34 thoughts on “Refine: Giving Up Control”

  1. This. I’ve been through a refining of the heart that I am convinced took longer than expected because I was oh, so stubborn. But God kept chipping away at me until I felt broken without my own control but found His grace because I put my trust in Him. I’m still a
    Work in progress but I like where I’m heading. Thank you for your beautiful words.

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    1. Maria, I can be oh, so stubborn, too. I’m so glad our God is patient and continues His work. I try to let Him work in and through me rather than in spite of me.

      I love your words about coming to a place of brokenness and finding His grace when you trusted Him. That seems to describe a number of times in my life too. Thank you so much for stopping by. It’s nice to “meet” you. 🙂

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  2. Great post, Jeanne, and you are in my prayers. God will hold you close, rest assured.

    I guess God’s doing a bit of refining in me now…though it honestly sometimes feels like I’m overmatched in a cage fight. There does come a time when you pass the point of diminishing returns, and you just want the pummeling to stop.

    That is not, however, in the cards, and one must make do with that situation in which one has been placed, and I suspect therein lies the refining process. Pain and its terrors (and I don’t say that lightly) are just ‘stuff’; they will happen to everyone, in some form and to some degree. The refining is a cooperative effort, when we are willing to accept that deadly cup, the one we’d rather have pass by, and drink fully from it.

    The Cross, the individual one we all have to face, is not an instrument of torture so much as it is that narrow doorway through which we have to commit our passage, and our souls.

    Hard footsteps to follow indeed, but the only ones that lead to Safety.

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    1. Andrew, I love what you said about refining being a cooperative effort. I hadn’t thought about it in quite that way. When we accept the work God is doing, we can at least walk with a little more peace, even through the hard. And your words about the Cross? Yes. Yes. Thank you for your beautiful example of walking this out. I continue to pray for you, friend.

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  3. I love how you say refinement is heart work. So true! I know refinement has made me stronger, and I’ve definitely dug my heals thinking I can’t get any stronger, but He knows better! And I truly believe the refinement time is a building time for preparation of the what is to come, and the purpose He has for us. You say it so well–hang on to the hope and knowing that He is good!

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    1. Lynn, I’m so thankful God knows us better than we know ourselves. I agree. Refinement time is a building time, a preparation time. This is such a good perspective. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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  4. I’ve been brought to places over the last few years of having to completely trust Him, because he stripped everything out that I was holding on to. I can’t say it’s been easy, this process of refinement, but oh it’s so necessary. Praying for your situation. I’m #9 this week.

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    1. Barbie, thanks for sharing a bit of your experience. God does have ways of bringing us to a place where we’re holding onto only Him. I’ve never found that stripping, or the refining process easy. But coming out on the other side of it has brought me to a deeper relationship with Him. It is necessary, even when it is hard. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story here.

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    1. Agreed, Annette. I seem to have this nasty habit of forgetting Who’s really in control. I begin to try taking it back, and God has to remind me that nothing is truly mine. Not even that control I think I have. 🙂 Thankfully, He’s usually pretty gentle with me. I’m so glad He’s at work!

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  5. “Refining comes in the form of heart work.” Love this! Thanks for the reminder that God sometimes places us in these hard situations to refine us. A challenging thought to live out on a daily basis, right? Great writing, Jeanne.

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    1. Heidi, I (and possibly others?) tend to think the hard places of life are just that. The thing God keeps bringing to mind is that He has a purpose in the hard. When I can trust Him and let Him work in my heart, my life, things go better. And hopefully, He is glorified. 🙂 It’s definitely challenging to live out that mindset on a daily basis! thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. Jeanne,
    Control has always been an issue with me. I don’t know for sure, but I think sometimes fear drives my need to be in control. Because I fear the unknown, the more that’s in my control the less there is to fear?? Or if I can’t control it, at least I can “fix” it. I’m a great fixer. God has had to pull off each finger of my controlling fist to let go of whatever I’m holding onto and TRUST Him. I am learning to trust the unknown waters to Him…trusting He knows the way and will get me through whatever comes. My new “motto” to counteract control is “God’s got this.” Right there with you in the control issues…
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. Ahhhh, Bev. I see we share something else in common. Often, I like to think I’m in control because I fear what will happen if I’m not in control. There’s such a delicate line between fear and trust, isn’t there? I was trying to fix the situation this week, or at least make it a little better. But I can’t. Plain and simple. And therein lies the essentialness of trusting Him to fix/work in the situation. As I am walking this out, I’m hurrahing your motto. “God’s got this. And He has me.” This is a good truth. Thank you so much for adding to this conversation!

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  7. Oh Jeanne we share a common struggle! I too desire control out of fear. I need to know what’s coming (which is why I prefer the front seat of a rollercoaster). Currently, I am being refined in that area. I have realized how my relationships; particularly with family, are affected when I try to take the reigns away in order to prevent what I perceive as a bad outcome. I am learning to trust God as a redeemer and Lord. None of us is perfect and am learning to trust that God is in all circumstances. In the end, it’s about acknowledging that truth. I’m #63 this week.

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    1. Stephanie, I knew I couldn’t be alone in this struggle. 🙂 It’s funny how our craving for control can influence our relationships, and cause tension within them. I’m learning with my pre-teen and teen boy that I have to release more control to them. Some days, IT’S HARD. But you shared the key: trusting God in all things. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself here. So glad you stopped by!

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  8. jeanne, loved your post. i think even those of us who don’t think we like control, find we do when we get in situations where we lose it…and have less than normal. that’s when GOD shows us that even we like a certain amount of control.
    praying for you in your situation. those times when we lose control are painful…but they do draw us closer to the One who has the power to heal things in better ways than we can fix them.

    i’m at #70.

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    1. Martha, I think you’re right. Even many of those who don’t think they like control probably want control of some things in their lives. I’m guessing we all have lessons to learn in trusting God with all of ourselves and our lives.

      Thanks so much for the prayers. They are much appreciated!

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    1. I’m so behind with blogging things. I think for us independent women it can be hard to trust. Well, for that and other reasons. But, when we trust God, such peace and freedom open up within us, don’t they, Anita? Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  9. Jeanne,
    oh oh oh, my sisterfriend! Once again, we thought alike because we’re in that refining place. And it’s not because we asked to be there, but because He is reminding us who is in control. Whew. Not my favorite lesson, but always worth it in the end, for we’re being prepared for our crown. I want my crown to be brilliant and splendid. No tarnishes or dents or dark spots. But, that requires Him to remove all of me and pour into it all of Him.
    Praying that as you step back and allow Him to work, that He will give you a glimpse of the beauty He is able to bring forth through your obedient heart.
    Love,
    Tammy
    (#80 this week)

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    1. Yes, Tammy. Unfortunately, I give God lots of reasons to remind me Who’s in control. 🙂 But, when I get down to it, I’d much rather He be in control than me. I make so many mistakes when I’m given too much control. 🙂 And yes, it is definitely worth it to surrender to the Lord’s plans and lessons. Even when they hurt. Thank you for your beautiful words, sisterfriend!

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  10. Beautiful, helpful post, Jeanne! I share your perspective (as usual!) … 😉 Praying for patience and continued trust as you allow God to lead you on the path you can’t see …

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Kate! I hope you’re feeling better this week. 🙂 Thanks for those prayers. Patience is never an easy lesson, but I’m beginning to see how important this quality is for other aspects of life and lessons God has for me. 🙂 I appreciate your words!

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  11. THIS: “God’s refining often smooths away the rough edges the world’s chipped off around my heart. His refining touch brings smoothness to the rough places. It begins a work of beauty in a place of ugliness.”

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