I recently finished reading Jennifer Dukes Lee’s new book about control and surrender and faith. It spoke truth right into my Type A, Enneagram 1 life. I have no doubt I’ll share more about it with you here because that’s what porch friends do. But today let’s welcome Jennifer to the porch, where she’s reminding us of the One who is truly in control and what we should do about that.
We say that God has everything under control, but we aren’t always aware in the same way that a farmer is aware. That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my years as a farmer’s wife.
Farming is putting yourself in a position to trust God. It’s a way of life in which you can’t miss the truth: God is God of the clock, God of the calendar, God of the weather, God of the to-do list. God alone knows when the rain will come, when the heat will rise, when it’s time for the seed to push up from the dark into the light.
A lot of people have romantic notions about farm life. But hard things lie beneath the idyllic overlay. There are grueling uncertainties, great losses, late nights, crazy markets, droughts, insects, disease, hailstorms, equipment that breaks down when you need it most, and tragically, despair that has led to a higher-than-average suicide rate nationally.
My husband Scott says he has no choice but to trust God. For years he’s gone around this farm saying, “God’s got it.” And when he says, “God’s got it,” he is talking himself into the truth. That’s a form of what I call active trust. Active trust is proactively believing God. Active trust is giving yourself the gift of future faith, in advance.
For my husband, active trust came out of necessity, rather than some superpious gene he inherited. He is a farmer, always at the mercy of God.
God’s got it = active trust.
In Western culture, it’s tempting to say “God’s got it” but not really live it. We’re more of a “you got this” culture.
You want to pursue your passion? You got this. You want to start a business? You got this. You want to start a new exercise program? You got this. You’ve definitely got it in you to do all of those things, but how often do you and I forget that what’s “in us” is the very Spirit of God?
We live in a culture where we’ve set ourselves up to play God. The first time that I found out my mammogram was abnormal, my immediate instinct was to run for the Google machine and ask it what “asymmetrical tissue” means.
For almost every possible scenario, we have a means of control available to us: a spray to control weeds, a cream to control wrinkles, a pill to control hunger. It’s no wonder we’ve been fooled into thinking we are the ones calling the shots. It’s hard to surrender our lives to God when we’ve got everything covered ourselves, isn’t it?
This, of course, leaves us feeling on the hook for everything. And suddenly we turn around, inspect our lives, and find that we are miles from God.
What do we want with our lives? What do we really want? When we strip all the faux self-sufficiency away, we can see it clearly. We want Jesus. We are hungry for the God who first stole our hearts. We want to do the things that God wants us to do. We want to partner with him, not boss him around. When we lay our heads down at night, we want to feel the incomparable satisfaction of knowing we spent our day in the center of his will. We want to be remembered as women who did exactly what God wanted us to do—rather than as overworked, weary women who lost their joy.
Nothing else on our to-do lists matters as much as knowing we were completely obedient to his. Nothing will give us more joy than giving our yes when God invites us to be a part of what he’s already doing, knowing it deep and true:
God’s got it.
Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, “It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible,” and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic. This post is adapted from that book.
Giveaway alert! I’m so excited to be a part of a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of “It’s All Under Control.” Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book!
Giveaway ends September 30. Tyndale House Publishers will notify winners.