That term…control freak. I’m not a fan. For one, freak makes it sound like it’s rare, like I’m alone in my serious fear of a future unplanned. But, the more I open up about my struggles in this area, the more I realize, I am not alone. Neither are you.
Before marriage and motherhood, I really wasn’t organized or concerned with planning. That’s probably why I ended up on academic probation and with credit card debt..ahem. But, it was just me I was looking out for..or not looking out for. I didn’t see a big picture, or care about it.
Last night in a group I lead at church, we talked about the masks I talk about in my book, and the mask of control seemed to hit home with the most. We talked about how the controlling mask almost always begins out of good intentions. It’s fear or distrust over something we care about that leads us to hunch over it and attempt to guide our own path.
Then, we get emotionally attached to the behavior of others and their choices. It makes us respond with anger or all sorts of new boundaries and rules to protect our control. We’re all, “well I’m not going there again if she is there.” or “no one can ever look at one another again if you don’t stop fighting!” or “since we’re always late because of that, then for now on (insert some crazy rule that actually makes more work for you later).”
The trouble is that life doesn’t work that way. God doesn’t work that way… Here I am, trucking along on my perfect little figure 8 train track. I like the path because I know what to expect, I planned it so there are no surprises, no climbing or falling areas, and I made sure I was taking the pretty scenic route.
<Enter God and His plans for my good>
Suddenly, that little switch is flipped and my train turns off my perfectly planned track and onto a new one. One where I do not know the ending. One that has unexpected ups and downs and it’s not always the pretty scenic route i had first planned. It looks more sad and less perfect. My train passes others who have tragedy in their lives, and it hurts to watch. Eventually, I’m on the track long enough to get an idea of the path. I work it out in my mind so that I decide how the rest of the track will look, and I work hard to make that happen. Just when I get comfortable with it all again,
<Enter God and His plans for my good>
Are you seeing the pattern here? Let me guess, you KNOW the pattern from personal experience. But there is hope for us, ya know. Because, though we aren’t always sure what path we’re on or how fast we’re going, we don’t have to question the stability of that track or train. He’s got us. And though we won’t always like the ups and downs or the pain we’ll have to pass through, He has plans for our good. If He didn’t, He’d just let us stay on that same little figure 8 path going in circles and not growing at all. Even my kids get bored playing with a train on a simple little track.
Letting go isn’t easy. It will take a conscious effort to pry our hands off the wheel and sit back for the ride. We’ll have to be intentional to focus on loving and serving, not leading and controlling. We can do it! Just watch Jesus throughout the Gospels. He is the good shepherd! Did you know a shepherd always leads and never walks behind pushing his flock? If he did, the sheep my panic or feel threatened and they’d end up going in all kinds of crazy directions. So, he leads them gently, and they follow. We can love our families, and lead our children walking behind our husbands as they lead us. We can keep following the footsteps of our Father and love like He loves. and when we do that, we can step out of just being blessed, and begin to be the blessing.
What about you? Is controlling something you struggle with? How do you manage to let go of it?