freedom from worry and control

For as long as I can remember, I have believed in God. I grew up in a church-going family, but the focus was on keeping up appearances and doing right in the eyes of others in our church community. Our involvement in church was very calculated and all about how it looked to others instead of worshiping God.  

It was a confusing place to be and I looked to circumstances to form a false image of who God was. I was convinced I had to work hard at making myself acceptable to God and to others through school and community involvement, grades, a constant hamster wheel of things that would make me feel better about myself. I thought that one day I would be judged and it would be a dependent on God’s mood whether or not I would have salvation.

Emily Kleiber

Emily Kleiber

In high school, through a ministry called Young life, I was introduced to the concept of God’s grace being an undeserved gift through Jesus Christ. I knew then that I would never earn salvation and that Jesus died for me. This was truly the best news I had ever heard. Upon moving to college, I got involved in the campus crusade ministry and it was here that I made a commitment to give my life OVER to God. I spent so much time praying and worshiping – I just couldn’t get enough of this concept of having a real relationship with my savior. I started to see myself in a new way – not as a girl forever damaged by my parents’ broken marriage but as a new creation who could trust fully in God ‘s plans for my life. It was so freeing!  

For many years after I became a Christian I thought that I had to have all of my “ducks in a row” to show that God was at work in me – that I was the wife and the mom who had it all together. I dealt with crippling anxieties – worrying about so much and struggling to hand over control of my life. But God has truly pursued me. As I have matured in my faith, I have found freedom in more of Christ and less of me. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Laying my life down is not something I have all figured out – absolutely not – but is a constant process and ongoing invitation. I am completely aware that nothing I could do could make God love me more.

I love teaching my children that we all will never be “good enough” on our own – and that everything that we have, physically and spiritually, is a gift from God. We can see our shortcomings, confess our sin, and know that we are forgiven – giving all the glory to God. It is a humbling and freeing concept our family is built upon.

God continues to ask me to give more and more of my life over to Him. A lot of things that I once thought would be important to me have grown strangely dim in light of the purpose and hope I have in the great God who loves me and has redeemed me.   

EMILY KLEIBER