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His Way is Better

And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 14: 29-31

Career-ending injury, battle with chronic pain, bout with anxiety, rejection upon rejection...

At first glance, the past 4-5 years of my life seem to be riddled with disappointment and suffering, struggles and trials. And in a way, they have been. But as I have been going through my first year of college at the university that I was so opposed to for so long, I have been struck again and again by how sovereignly in control my Father is and how He has been working everything in my life with purpose and for a purpose. I needed only to let go and let Him have control.

During these last few years, my perspective on letting go of control has continually been refined and renewed. During high school, God taught me how to let go of my need to perform by allowing my ability to be taken away during my injury. I had no other option but to trust that He would get me through. And He did... in abundance. During the college admissions process, God taught me how to let go of my pride and my need to control the future by allowing me to get into only one university. He taught me that what I desparately wanted and thought I needed fell drastically short in comparison to what He had in store. And now during the first year of college, God has been showing me what can happen when I make room for Him to work, when I unclinch my hands and entrust my every moment to His intentional hand.

This year, I have lived through moments and walked through doors that I did not even know existed. He truly is opening my eyes to the "why?" behind my placement here at tOSU, and showing me that He never lacks purpose in what He does. He has blessed me with loving community to last a lifetime, academic excitement and unique opportunities, and He has opened doors to experiences that I could have only dreamed of. He has made this place feel like home, not because of the worldly things He has given me, but because He is showing me that He is with me in everything.

Despite this growth and although I feel more open to Him and His ways in my life, and He has shown me how He works through that surrender, I know that there are still aspects of my life where I haven't unclenched my grip, where I am still desparately holding on. These past few weeks, I have been reading through Ness Cannon's study "I am Not in Charge" and I have been wrestling with those areas that I know are not fully free from my tendency and desire for control. Yet as I wrestle, I also feel my heart opening and desiring to see how Jesus will work in my life, where He will take me and what adventure He will call me out to next. It is quite the dichotomy of feeling, but I'd rather be working through both than to be content in my need for control.

Peter's story in Matthew 14 has really resonated with me because He too felt this dichotomy. He called out to Jesus so that he could walk on water and experience something that only God could do, and that was an incredible movement of bold faith. Peter left the comfort of the solid boat for the risk of the wild water. He believed in that moment that God was calling him to something better than his security and so he let go of the control that he felt on the boat. Yet, he also struggled to maintain that release of control when the winds started to blow and the circumstance became scary. He grasped at his own strength and that is when he started to sink. He had to look up beyond the waves to see Jesus and be pulled up out of the water in that moment. He reached for the One who was standing right there and his hand met a solid embrace in the One who truly has the control.

I think that we are all a lot like Peter. We see an opportunity, hear a call, feel adventure on the horizon, and we get excited for the possibility of something radically amazing to happen. Yet at the same time, we are plagued by fear when the circumstance becomes dangerous or we are facing a failure, and we start to sink back into our natural tendency to cling to our own sense of control. Or other times, I think we are a lot like the rest of the disciples on the boat. We never even step foot on the water because the thought of the unknown, of the risk, terrifies us too much to even begin to let go.

As I have meditated on this story, I am starting to truly believe how much full life exists on the otherside of surrender. I want to be like Peter stepping out of the boat. I want to bravely call out to Jesus and ask Him to take me somewhere I have never been. I want to believe in His power so deeply that I am content to leave the safety of what I know and embark on a new adventure. I am not content to limit God to the areas where I already feel comfortable letting go. I want to say "Yes" to every prompting, every opportunity to live out the adventure-filled life He is calling me to, despite the risk, despite the fear of the unknown. I want to see Him in everything.

I should feel safe stepping out of the boat into adventure because I know that He has me taken care of. He will not let me drown. He will be there holding out His hand whenever I need it, and He will do more through me taking the risk than He will through me remaining comfortable. For His way truly is better.


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