But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. –Galatians 5:22–23 NLT
Growing up as the youngest in a poor family wasn’t all that great.
I rarely got new clothes. Hand-me-downs from my older sister had to do, whether I liked them or not—and just about everything needed hemmed or taken in.
Then there was the keep-her-close-to-home syndrome my parents seemed to suffer from. Neither my brother nor my sister were rebellious in the sixties way, but, for some reason, my parents kept me close to home—and that included not wanting me to get a part-time job. A little pocket money would have improved my practically nonexistent social life, but my parents told me my job was “to be a good student” and “help your mother around the house.”
I obeyed on both counts. I made the honor roll every grading period and cleaned the house every week during the summer months. One time, wanting something different, I rearranged my bedroom furniture, now that I had the room all to myself, then spent the evening at a friend’s house. When I returned, the room was back the way it had been.
Then there was the financial situation. I’d been selected to be a band majorette for my junior year, and that meant money for boots, tassels, a new baton, band jacket, and a brand new uniform—and occasionally a soft drink after practice. My parents were still struggling from my father’s layoff years earlier. Knowing it was hard for them to come up with the extra cash, I got a part-time job at the school library for the summer months. It was one of those underprivileged student jobs through the local government.
My first day was heaven. I loved the work—I mean, here I was, an avid reader, working in a library. And I loved feeling useful, doing something to contribute to the family finances.
But when I got home, my mother told me that I wouldn’t be going to work the next day—or any day.
“There was a mistake,” she said.
Once again, I obeyed, but when I landed my first teaching job years later, I seized the reins of my life. And have struggled with relinquishing them ever since—even to God. Even though I know His way is best and He’s not a control freak like my mother was.
The kind of control my mother exerted led to frustration, disappointment, heartache, and rebellion.
But the kind of control that God, through His Holy Spirit, exerts leads to only good things—such as joy, peace, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
Isn’t that what we all hunger for?
Dear God, when I fight You for my way, remind me that Your way leads to all I’m searching for, all I desire. Break the control freak in me. Amen.
Read and reflect on John 15:1–8; 14:16–17, 26; 16:13
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.