"The secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
WHAT? I'm not God? NEWSFLASH LAUREN!!! You are NOT in control of your life or the people around you! Again, what?? Okay, had to get that out of my system! Over the last year (and probably throughout my whole life; it just depends on when I was listening), the Lord has been stripping away control from my life--bit by bit. It started with dealing with a difficult boss, conflict with coworkers, feeling disrespected at work, then a leadership position in my community group at church, not having help with various projects. Then there were issues with my husband and my marriage ... and then the big one ... losing my job! Talk about a humbling experience! "Okay, Lord," I prayed! "What are you trying to teach me?" I am learning many things, but one of them is that I am not in control of my circumstances! I must surrender to the Lord and trust in HIS ways! He is saying, "Trust in me, Lauren--not in yourself!"
"What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?
You want something but don't get it.
You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.
You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures...
But he gives us more grace. That is why the Scriptures says:
'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'"
James 4: 1-3, 6
I know I already discussed this book, but there are just so many good points from it, so I had to bring it up again. In the book, Keeping Your Cool ... When Your Anger Is Hot!, June Hunt has three points concerning control. If you are like me, this may be a very practical lesson for you too!
1. Control is impossible.
We cannot control anything around us: nature, friends, husbands, children, even our own feelings and emotions at times. Hunt says, "When we approach life as the absolute sole masters of fate and controllers of destiny, we are doomed already to failure, frustration, and anger." Anyone else been there? I have ... I am one of the people she would describe as a "control freak" ... perhaps a recovering control freak with the help of the Lord.
2. Control is a heavy and unnecessary burden.
Hunt uses the Mary and Martha example from the Bible to illustrate this point. Martha is trying to control Mary in this story, and asks Jesus to help her with her plight. Again, haven't we all been there? We get frustrated because our husband, friend, or children aren't doing what they are "supposed" to be doing. Jesus gives a shocking response to Martha. He first shows concern, saying that Martha is worried and upset about many things, but then says that Mary has chosen what is better. I think I could learn a lesson from this story. Instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing and getting them to do what I think they should be doing, just focus on siting at the Lord's feet and listening to what He has to teach me. This takes trusting the Lord and following Him!
3. Control is God's business, and not having this heavy responsibility is His gift to us.
I realize that the concept of handing over the reigns of control is much easier said than done. Believe me, I struggled with it even today! But, this can be such a huge weight lifted off of our shoulders! We can find such freedom in letting go letting "Jesus take the wheel" of our lives! "God's authority and sovereignty are intended for our protection and well-being," says Hunt. Many people feel that the Bible is full of too many "rules" and feel that Jesus is trying to steal all of their fun. In reality, these instructions are meant to save us from lives of pain and self-destruction.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
I know that I don't have it all figured out, so why not trust in the Lord who know a LOT more than I do! Why not follow a God that has promised to look out for our well-being? Our pastor once said throughout his life, he had been disappointed and hurt by decisions he had made by following his own desires, but he has never been disappointed when he had made decisions following Christ. We can find comfort in knowing that the Lord's way is better than our own way. Even when we don't understand it, we can trust that he is GOOD!
Although I think this is kind of a cheesy song, or perhaps I have just heard it too many times, I love Carrie Underwood's message in the chorus of her song, Jesus Take the Wheel:
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
Save me from this road I'm on
Jesus take the wheel