Thursday, May 28, 2015

Control

This is a story about control
My control
Control of what I say
Control of what I do
And this time I'm gonna do it my way
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do...
'Cause it's all about control.
{janet jackson}

I, like Janet, like to feel like I am in control of the situation. Any situation. All situations. This is why I am slightly to grievously offended when I am not asked my opinion on the goings-on around me, and why I offer it even when no one asked. (This mostly doesn't matter to anyone else as I predominantly just speak to air. The twin houses being built in my neighborhood are currently on my radar as Things I Speak About That No One Who Can Change It Listens To.)

I guess I have gone through life just thinking that I might have an issue at some points in my life and then thought, I don't know how to deal with this or if I even should, so The End. I try to catch myself and not comment when I see persons in this house eating a granola bar for snack that was designated for lunch ONLY (in my defense, granola bars are kind of candy bars, and no one needs three candy bars in a day, plus I only buy a certain amount each week and avoid going back to the store because a) I just don't love it there and b) we need to be eating non-prepackaged snacks when we are at home and save prepackaged goodness and convenience for school lunches. And now I have delved way too far into the topic of: Granola Bars. That was a long, perhaps unnecessary, sidebar. Please keep reading.), and I am working on thinking before I speak. And act. Basically I'm working on thinking.

It has not really occurred to me that I try to take control--I mean like seriously micro-manage this family--not because I necessarily want to, but because I have some pretty serious trust issues with God. As in "Hi, God, thanks for being God, I'm terrified you won't show when I need you, so I'm taking control of everything I can and managing the best way I know how", which, if you know me at all, sometimes isn't managing at all but more like flailing. Flailing confuses people. They have no idea what is going on or what to expect. (EXACTLY. This is how the flailing begins in the first place.)

The main idea of trusting God is foreign to me, especially when I've prayed prayers for years that haven't been answered. It feels like I'm being ignored, and I hate with a capital H being ignored. Talk about making someone feel small and unimportant. (Which is why it is in a pre-teen's arsenal of Things I Can Do To Make My Parents Angry.) When the topic of trusting God comes up, I listen with interest but in the back of my head, my mind is swirling with questions like how does a person trust God in the first place and is God trustworthy. Sometimes it feels like other people have figured out this complicated "Trusting God" formula and I'm not part of the secret society.

There seems to be a correlation between trusting God, giving up control, rest, and peace, which makes sense, because taking control and keeping it is exhausting and mostly overwhelming. At least it is for me. AND, go figure this one, other people don't like it when I'm in control-mode. Even when I'm doing the best I know how. How's that for appreciation?

So when I opened up the Proverbs 31 ministries devotion for Wednesday, it was like someone else was finally speaking my language, and I had a mini-lightbulb moment where it dawned on me that my own fear of the world at large drives me to attempt to control every aspect of mine and my family's lives. I am scared. The world is a scary place, and with every day that goes by, I am made more and more aware of this sad fact. And I have moments where I wonder why God doesn't just do something.  And if He doesn't do something, does that mean that my faith is in vain and He doesn't exist? This presupposes, of course, that His doing something would conveniently correlate with what I think He should do, and justice would be served and everything would be fair in my eyes. But I have yet to get down successfully managing myself plus two other little people, so I'm not sure what makes me think that managing the entire world's justice system would be something I could handle.

And with those thoughts, I have neatly shoved my idea of God into a box, made Him more like me than God, and am disappointed when my expectations are not met by this God-in-a-box. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, just honest. But I was reminded yesterday that God is Holy. "And in that holiness, God manages the details of the whole universe...including you, me, and the people we love." (susie davis)

"Yet You are Holy..."

I may think I know, but the reality is I have no idea. The universe and it's details are not something I'm meant to understand or try to control, and I'm not meant to be God's personal adviser on all things worldly, however much I may think He should do or not do, change or not change, bless or not bless.  He is Holy.

Trouble may abound but God is holy still. His sovereignty takes the pressure off of us to control our sometimes scary circumstances and hold tightly to the things we think will bring us comfort. Because God shows up, we can live our lives unafraid.
{susie davis}

Susie Davis
proverbs 31 ministries

That means we don't have to be afraid of the future. Or what other people think. Or all the small and big things that we are afraid of.

It's not an easy thing to do. Even as I write this, I find myself worrying over my kids while they are away from me, as if my presence could or would change their situations. It's smart to be a good parent. It's overwhelming to be a helicopter parent. But in the quiet, when my thoughts shift to the what-ifs and the fears and I try to take control, I hear the promise whispered through the chaos. Yet You are Holy. And I repeat it to myself, as a reminder that He is Holy. And my fears give way to peace in my soul, because I know I can release my grip.

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