Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.
I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. I would probably not enjoy it, if someone told me to hop in the car for an impromptu vacation and said, “we’ll figure it out as we go!” Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t even hop in the car! I like organization and planning. I like knowing what to expect. In fact, I don’t really like to feel out of control of anything. I’m a total planner who likes to have money put away for that inevitable rainy day fund. I am the girl who plans the wedding years in advance or maps out the future of my kids at birth. You know the type. I’m a recovering control freak. Now, I don’t admit that to you, lightly. I have tried for years to cover it up in fancy Christianese. I’ll tell people that I’ve given a situation over to God, only to talk about with my friends far too much, worry about it way too often, and lose sleep repeatedly over that thing. And may I be completely transparent? There have been a million things.
When I was a little girl and young teenager, I needed to have my room spotless, bed made, closet and drawers organized, and everything neatly in its place. People told me that would change once I had children, but it didn’t. It just expanded. I kept their rooms clean, neat, and organized, their faces washed, and their clothes immaculately ironed. As they got older, I tried desperately to control their friends, choices, and futures.. I worked hard to keep my budget in order, my health in check, and everything perfect.
The need to control (and the perfectionism that followed) has kept me in bondage for years. Perhaps it stems from past disappointment of others or failures of my own. Maybe it was having suffered through years of traumatic abuse. Whatever the cause, the need to control a situation (before it controlled me) has been an ongoing battle. Now, more than ever, I have been on a journey of self-discovery and some of the things I’ve discovered haven’t been easy, let me tell you! I have begun to dig deep into what Christ wants for my life versus what I have created in my life.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, “I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.”
That’s the kind of life God wants for me (and you). He doesn’t want us bound by a small, fenced-in life. He wants us living and walking in the freedom that is found only in him. He wants us to enjoy the seasons of our life, whether expected or not. He wants to give us peace, even when life’s storms are tumultuous. As I’ve been on this journey of discovering how to lose control and find freedom in Christ, there are three things I have discovered that keep us from living freely:
The God that delivered the Israelites into freedom many years ago is the same God that sets people free today. He’s the same God that allows us freedom to walk in forgiveness, to let go of control, and sets captives free. Join me in this amazing journey to live the wide-open spacious life and leave the rest behind.
** Article first appeared at iBelieve.com.
Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com