letting go of control.

Train, train, bus. That’s how I get to work and vice versa home. You know how it goes…one is late and you miss the next one or two. When one of the trains just stops plain still on the tracks, not at the station, I get frustrated and anxious and struggle to think about anything other than being late and losing precious minutes of time…

I want control. I want a plan. I want the weather forecast, the train timetable, the social agenda for the month ahead. I also need the cupboard doors to be shut when I go to bed. I’ve needed that for as long as I can remember.

So what to do when the weather turns surprisingly cold, people cancel, trains run late or all the other things in life that don’t go to plan. My default: get angry, anxious or sad or a combination of the three.

This is crazy isn’t it? Cupboard doors aside, I have no control over any of these things! So why do I yearn for it? The (elusive) promises of comfort, security, efficiency, ease.

I can be controlling over people in my life too (or at least on some level I want to be). Again, I have zero control here. I have struggled with this temptation to sin by being controlling for a long time. I confess it to God on an almost daily basis – probably should be about 10 times that! As part of a new Bible Reading Plan, I was reading Genesis the other day….

Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16

And the part about the “desire to control my husband” really struck me. On one level, this passage validates the desire I have, as one of Eve’s daughters, as a result of the Fall. God knew when He made me, that one day I’d want to control my husband. But it doesn’t end there. He also made me for a relationship of trust in Him. For a life where we choose to let Him ‘take the wheel.’

The world and the evil one, seem to love spinning me the lie, that I can or should be in control. Believing this always ends badly, with anger, disappointment and tears. Being controlling isn’t the way God intended me to relate to people. God’s plan for me and for all people is…

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

What an astonishing counter-cultural instruction and promise this is:  entrust your whole heart to God, don’t go thinking you know what’s best, let Him be in control and this is the way to life!

The words in this very passage recently played a big part in a step of faith for some very newly married friends of ours. They went to the other side of the world to study at Bible College less than a month after they got married. Doesn’t make sense, but then God’s plans are bigger than ours. Always.

A personal challenge

Inspired by a friend’s commitment to abstain from TV for a week cos she spends too much time watching, I’m thinking of trying to “let go” for a week in an area where I seek control regularly. Next week’s probably not the week to face the train times or the cupboard doors since I’ll be away for a work training course in the Blue Mountains all week. I wonder if I could abstain from looking at my weather app? Scary thought. I’ll see how I go!

And perhaps every time I worry about the weather, and the potential consequences of it being different to what I expected, I can recite the words from Proverbs 3 in my head! I suspect that the more I let go and trust God, the more life I will find in Him, the more adventures to be had.

An update…

I posted a couple of weeks ago about two things which were very much on my heart to pursue and I made a commitment to take steps to pursue them. Read more here.

1. Missions at Church – I’m taking on being the missions person at church. We have an exciting opportunity to be strategic about who/what we support in the year/s ahead because of various changes happening at the moment.

2. Volunteering at IARC – Application submitted this week. Got a response that said no need at the moment but we’ll put you on the list. To be honest I’m really ok with this. Applying was most of the battle

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4 Replies to “letting go of control.”

  1. Naomi, it was great to see where you were up to on your ‘new year’s commitments’! Well done to you!! The rest of this post meant nothing to me because I am not a control freak. Oh, but I am a compulsive liar!! 🙂 Can definitely relate to the anxiety when others don’t do what you want or expect! What am I thinking?!
    All the best for next week and hope you all thoroughly enjoy Access training!

    Kathy

  2. Nai,
    reflections on a ongoing struggling indeed. i don’t need my cupboard doors shut at night, but maybe that’s because i don’t have a door on my wardrobe. but i do have a door to my heart than needs to be shut everynight before i go to sleep, with everything neat and locked away. or so i hope. i resonate with your struggle because i know it all too well myself. my prayers are definitely with you on this one.
    xo

  3. Nai – I feel your pain. My control-freakdom is often out of control. Interested to see how you go this week in ‘letting go’. We can swap war stories: giving up TV vs giving up control (though I think yours is a much more noble cause…)

  4. Thanks ladies for sharing with me in this struggle. I have posted an update in one of my recent posts on how I went with the personal ‘no weather checking’ challenge for last week.

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