Friday, July 01, 2005

Surrendering the Illusion of Control

How powerful are we?
I mean, really... how much control do we ever really have over the events of our day, month, year, life? We work to become "financially secure;" but all it takes is one medical or legal or employment-related crisis to drain our bank accounts. We feel good about our health; but just one fall, one car accident, one biopsy can change everything. We invest money, time, emotion, etc. into a marriage or a family; but death, illness, or tragedy could strike at any time and reduce it to rubble.

Especially in America, one of the most prosperous and individually empowering cultures in the world, I think we fall victim to the illusion that we are in control and that we can "fix" things - sometimes even people - to become the way we want them to be. I have a dear friend whose grown child is facing the possibility of divorce in a marriage that's only just started. He confesses that he is tempted to get involved, exercise influence, and make some things happen to save this marriage. How much power does he really have in this? Is it any different with the smaller circumstances of life? I confess that my own impulses to control are just as notorious and troubling. But my friend and I are not alone in learning this lesson.

Job had a wife, kids, cash, property, friends, power, status, integrity, spirituality, etc. Then he lost everything... everything except his God. Though he questioned His justice... He still had God. That is the lesson we learn... that we are sheep - helpless, hopeless, relatively simple-minded, defenseless, sheep - wihtout great power to sustain ourselves, but with a Great Shepherd who can.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 says, "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God, not that we are capable in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our capability is from God."

King David writes, "He Himself knows our frame; His is mindful that we are but dust" (Psalm 103:14).

James, the brother of Jesus, adds, "You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).

Even as I search for my next step regarding a job, a church, and a ministry, I realize that I am not in control. So when God asks me to surrender, He isn't asking me to surrender control... I don't have that anyway. No, He's asking me to surrender my illusion of control. Everytime He says, "Peace, be still. Wait on Me." He's telling me to sit down in opposition to that illusion.

"Thanks Lord. I needed that."


Andrea Trenda said...

It was so sad this morning- we have this precious grandma who has taken care of her 2 year old granddaughter and brought her to the gym since we opened. I've really gotten to know and care for this grandma (Gloria). They found a tumor in her brain and went in to take it out a couple of weeks ago. Well, they found that it was a very aggressive form of cancer that has already she doesn't know how much longer she has and can no longer take care of her granddaughter every day like she used to.....which kills her. We both had a big cry today after she brought her to class. I read one of your blogs today about our lack of control and the illusion of control. This has gotten me thinking about this issue and how this can really happen to anyone at any time. Life is hard- and I don't think it's every going to get easier- I know we weren't created to be comfortable in this world and for life to be easy, but I often try to "make my home here" and am always tempted to seek comfort and ease as a big priority. This is what is on my heart today...

ivy said...

Still Waters

when my life is tortous waves
i miss all that you have to say
even if my ocean is filled
with nothing but your grace

i question where your voice is
why my waves won't speak your glory
i long to have your hand
calm my raging sea and then hit me

a tiny pebble so small so unpersuading, trickles off my forehead and leaves a mark
it's swallowed up by my raging ocean as i watch it sink to the floor.

for a moment i'm angry that that's all you say
so i turn red faced and broken hearted
i walk another path
one without a purpose
until at last i grow so weary i can't stand

I sit down, i'm so lost in silence
there is nothing but still water in a pond
it seems so abandoned, so lifeless
and then it hit me

a tiny pebble so small so unpersuading trickles off my forehead and leaves a mark
so i raise up my fists i'm angry at you until at last i see the pebbles fate

it drops in the stillness of the water
and three ripples come from its place
they say in a voice i've longed to hear, "My child listen,
I love you, I love you, yes i love you"
and they catch and toss each other one ripple to the next
and they leave no drop of water untouched by His love

"I love you, I love you Father, I love you, I love you too, You met me in the stillness and you promised...
In my stillness i can find you there"