The problem is I never realized it. I thought control freaks were the strong dominant type who demanded, manipulated others, and expected A + B to always = C, as long as they were in charge.
The problem with the formula for control is that it leaves out a very important detail— the sovereignty of God. God isn’t into using cookie cutter formulas to make life work. He would much rather get down in the trenches of life with us and teach us a few things about our need to control.
How has he done that for me? By allowing circumstances and people in my life that I can’t control! Over the last few years I’ve struggled with some difficult personal issues. I’ve experienced shattered dreams, unmet expectations and a whole lot of personal losses. I would love to say I weathered all the storms with praise on my lips and a song of joy in my heart. But I haven’t.
Do I have a witness?
After some deep reflection, and teaching these truths to others in the counseling office, I’ve realized a few things. First, the only thing I can control is my own thoughts, actions, attitudes and beliefs; the rest is up to God. Next, in order for him to get me to release my sticky fingers off the wheel of my life, he’s had to allow some difficult things to happen to drive a sledgehammer through my nice neat theology of control. I believe he’s used the difficult situations in my life to expose my need for the only thing that will truly satisfy me—Jesus.
Somewhere along the journey of brokenness, I got it. God wasn’t out to break me; he was out to break my confidence in all the ways I tried to control life to achieve the set outcomes I so desperately desired. As I ranted and raved, cried, fretted, and felt totally confused as to why the plans I had so painstaking put in place to make my life work went up in smoke, God showed me that I was fighting the wrong battle. I was so busy trying to control everything in my life so that I wouldn’t experience pain, that I missed it. The real issue wasn’t how to make my life work; the real issue was what do I do when it doesn’t work?
Truth be told, I wasn’t trusting God with my life, or the people in it. The difficult places he had allowed, the ones I wanted to hit the delete button on, were the very places he was leading me to so that he could evidence himself in and through me. If I kept fighting against the current I knew I’d stay stuck. This left me with only one choice. Acceptance.
I had to choose to accept God’s plan for my life, and not do it with my arms folded and a sour face. A big part of that was realizing God’s goodness and believing he always has my best interests at heart, even if none of it works out the way I planned.
If you and I want to move through the losses and disappointments of life, we need to accept the sovereignty of God. In the words of Carrie Underwood, we need to let Jesus take the wheel. We need to be willing to surrender our right to control and allow him to write the final chapter of our story.
How do we begin? Consider this:
• Who is in control of my life—me or God?
• Am I demanding a right that says, God I must have things be a certain way for me to be ok?
• Surrender begins with an attitude that says, God I’m willing…do with me as you wish. Can I pray that?
• Am I willing to experience all the angst that goes along with losing control, and depend solely on God?
• Do I trust God with my life? If not, what’s standing in the way?
If you’re serious about ditching the control freak label, spend some time contemplating the questions above. They’ll be a start in leading you on a path of self- discovery and surrender—and there’s no better place to live.