Giving up Control
by Carol Nicholls
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. II Timothy 1:7
Facebook was alive with disgruntled fans. Super Bowl just didn’t really seem “super.” Neither team was doing anything amazing. “Boring…I’m going to bed,” one fan wrote. Fans urgently wanted their team to win. From the players viewpoint, however, the strength of both defensive teams was clear. Both quarterbacks were analyzing, trying to find a weakness in those defensive lines.
These were two strong armies clashing face-to-face. Boring? Not to them!
When there is no control over an outcome what do we do? Give up (go to bed)? Get upset (yell at the TV)? Bad mouth others (the players)? This is not terrible behavior when it involves a televised sporting event, but it reflects how much we want to control life.
Too many of us live our daily lives trying to control outcomes. Unable to see the path to something we want we manipulate, maneuver and try to win others to our cause. This is especially true when the stakes are high and the outcome is unsure. Praying, we give it over to God to do what He sees as best, but by the time we get to “Amen” we are, again, trying to figure out how we can make it happen. Being out of control, not knowing how things will end is unnerving. Stress and anxiety can ruin our health, our relationships and steal our joy in life.
So, why do we do it?
Fear of the unknown is the underlying factor for me. I want to know what is going to happen and how it is going to affect me, my life and my family. Anything that I don’t understand can set me off. Learning to truly trust God’s Word and believe He means what He says is my life’s biggest challenge.
When my house was in foreclosure, when my father developed dementia, when my brother was dying, I had no control.
Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22), became my mantra. It was not easy, but now that those are past I see how God guided and sustained.
Even small events can cause anxiety. When there is too much month at the end of the money the stress can set me off. It is in these moments that I need to rehearse the truth that I have been given a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. It is my choice to walk in that or to worry and try to fix it myself.
Waiting on the Lord is not easy. Have you ever noticed He never shows up early? I have found that taking the challenge to walk out in patience, waiting for instruction, really works! That doesn’t mean it always resolves the way I would have preferred. But, I can always see how He was with me the entire time. I am never alone no matter what is going on in my life.
My challenge to you is to think about the things that upset you. Are they based in your need to control and to know how things will work out? Why not start applying God’s Word to the little things in your days? As you do you will learn that Father can be trusted. Then when something really big happens you will find that you are prepared to trust Him fully as together you go through the deep waters.