I was reading Michael Hyatt’s “We Have More Control Than We Think” blog post from March and began thinking about the topic of control.
Webster-Miriam Online defines the Control as the following:
a : to exercise restraining or directing influence over
b : to have power over
Synonyms include: authority, bridle, discipline, domination, government, guidance, management, manipulation, might, oversight, predomination, qualification, regimentation, regulation, restraint, restriction, rule, subjection, subordination, superintendence, supervision, supremacy, sway, upper hand
Antonyms include: helplessness, powerlessness, relinquishment, renouncement, weakness
I don’t know about you, but those antonyms sure make me feel squirmy – I mean, really…who enjoys feeling helpless and weak? But that’s exactly how we all feel when we ‘lose control’ don’t we?
We are taught early to control our emotions and actions and even eating habits. As children it seems like everyone, from parents to relatives to teachers, are determining what we can and can’t do and we long fervently for independence where we can ‘make our own decisions’.
Once we become adults it’s like a badge of honor to be in control – so when life begins to careen in another direction, when our best-laid plans are not coming together we begin to experience those feelings of powerlessness: loss of control.
How many of us teach our children how to cope when (in the words of Tammy Cochran) Life Happens? Obviously they are learning from us regardless, but are they learning that when things aren’t in our control we fall apart? We give up? We stress and overeat and rant and rave and blame and…you get the picture.
I don’t know about you, but it annoys me when my daughter just throws up her hands and gives up – I don’t want her to learn that that’s how things are dealt with. I want her to be able to handle life’s little curveballs. Sometimes that’ll be finding a different solution, or making a new plan, or letting go of something that isn’t working. Sometimes the answer will be just getting through it. Everytime it will be giving it over to God and trusting in the knowledge that He will be there good, bad or ugly!
It won’t always be easy. Sometimes the curveballs just suck (for lack of a better descriptor) – like cancer or death of a loved one.
These are the times our lack of control makes us want to curl into a little ball and cry and find someone to blame. And it’s ok to curl into a ball and cry and have feelings – showing emotion is not lack of control – lack of control is when you give in to those emotions.
These are the times, more than any others, when it is imperative to ask Him to help you up and hold you and yours through this valley.
There are so many things in this world we don’t have control over, from the weather to how long that dash represents on our headstone. What we DO have control over is whether we give in to those feelings of helplessness or whether we choose to cast all our fears to God and walk on with our head high knowing that whatever trials we face He will be there beside us every step of the way.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” – Matthew 6:34
When you begin to feel out of control – take a look at that word itself:
Love the acrostic. I'll have to remember that.
Seems the issue of control is experienced differently by men and women. My wife, Charissa, feels unsafe when she cannot control her circumstances. As I have discussed this with other men, we agree that, for us, inability to control circumstances translates to impotence. That, in turn, leads to shame.
Ultimately, we men must learn to feel our worth ("feel," not "derive") in faithfulness rather than success. We can control our faithfulness to do all we can, and then leave the results in God's sovereign care.
This was a refreshing read. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Mark – I love that your comment allows us still to control, but it focuses on what we control – feeling our worth in faithfulness! What a fabulous way to look at it!
I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment!