Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

The Illusion of Control

Today I felt it. It had been culminating over the last year, maybe the last couple years, but especially these last few months. There was not enough time for me to process everything that was going on because my list was long and my days were short. It is loss. It is an end of a season. No more little kids. No more story time and cuddles, and rarely a game or movie night. Yes, my younger son will still indulge me with these moments, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. And now I know how fast it goes. It’s a snap of a finger and a distant memory. What has replaced those special moments seem to be battles of the will, reasoning, and times of resignation.

This isn’t what I thought it would be. Not at all. I have prayed in preparation for this time, when one child would make the transition to adulthood, the second quickly following. I keep thinking, “Wait, there’s something else I need to tell you.”, and “Did I emphasize this enough?! Is it too late to do it now?.”

I long for steady; for stable; for knowable; for controllable. That’s what it comes down to. The lack of control over virtually every part of my life, at times it seems, even over my own self. I keep thinking, if I could choose, it would be better. If they would just make the choices that I want them to make then it would go easier for them; for me.

I’ve lost all control, I feel. But I don’t know how much I had to begin with. Maybe just a perception of control, really. I mean, at every stage I let them go, even when I would be fretting over them at the time, but this time seems huge, because it is. I’ve encouraged independence and critical thinking, but I did it so they would make right choices, not so they would turn around and use it against me.

I cannot do it perfectly. I cannot love, perform, think, will, act, or behave perfectly. And me trying to do any of these things perfectly, is me trying to control that which I have no control over. None. I can’t even control my own self at times, let alone scenarios, circumstances, or people!

God does not require my perfection in any of these things. He requires my obedience to him. He requires my obedience in the way I love, perform, think, will, act, and behave. I answer to him.

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18

While I may try to “take control” by withdrawing, withholding, silence, sarcasm, lofty words, reasoning, and persuasion, God does not even allow me the illusion of control. I am not master and ruler over myself, or anyone else. God is. I answer to God. And so does each person on this earth, including those I love and am closely knitted to. Whether they answer to him now, or in the future, is not for me to choose. I answer to him now.

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”  Psalm 56:8

I cannot change myself. I cannot change others. Only God can do that. This change only occurs in salvation through Jesus. He paid a debt I could not pay. I cannot earn it. I cannot gain it for someone else. It is a free gift given by God. Salvation, paid for by Christ. But in moments of weakness and desperation, that doesn’t seem to keep me from trying to effect this change in others.

He extends grace and mercy to me, through the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, and righteousness, only found through Christ.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

When I am broken and contrite in spirit, when everything seems to be spinning out of control, when I am in such pain that  I cannot utter one more word, I look to Jesus. I see the glory of God. I see his beauty. The Most High. The King of heaven and of earth. Majesty.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3

My hope is in the Lord. For every prayer behind or ahead, my hope is in my Lord. I have nothing else to offer or to give, except Christ. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” Philippians 2:14-18

He uses me and my obedience to him, as a vessel, broken, but willing. “Even if I am poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of [their] faith.” Willingly, gladly.

The weight of changing other people, through trying to “control” the situation, does not rest on me. I cannot do it. It rests on Christ alone. I am to obey, that is my yoke, which is easy, and the burden is light.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30


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