As I get older I see how little I actually control. Sure, I’d like to tell myself that I control my world and I definitely act like I have more control than I really do. Look at how much I worry and get stressed. I act like there is something I can do to change the outcomes of lots of things that I have absolutely no power over. My body tenses, my mind obsesses and my prayer life sounds more like a list of things I need God to help me get a handle on. Yes I believe that God wants to care for us and help us, but I think more of my prayers are me trying to hold on to being “God” and if the true God can help me hang on to that than sure I’ll do things His way. The problem with this is that God has no desire to let me hold on to being my own God. In fact, if history is any teacher it’s that God will often disrupt our attempts at playing God. He graciously and patiently allows me to go on believing that I’m in control waiting for me to come to my senses and truly turn to Him. But He also arranges circumstances to demonstrate what is true and how much I need Him.
You see, I think one of the most fundamental tasks of our faith is to learn what we control (and how little of it we control) and where we need to surrender and trust. The craziest thing to me is that I know God is for me, loves me, and actually is powerful enough to do some amazing things in my life. Yet I doubt that too often, think I know better and tell myself that I have the power to change things. When will I learn? Or maybe the better question is, “how will I learn?” It’s not that God hasn’t arranged some great laboratories for me, so why hasn’t it stuck yet? I think of all the hours I waste worrying, obsessing and trying to arrange my world while God sits there waiting for me to surrender and trust.
God invites us to rest in His care. We must begin by putting ourselves in our place. Read the Bible, particularly the accounts of many of the kings. It was often their pride that kept them from seeing God. They fought against God, refusing to recognize His power. King Herod is one such king, at the birth of Jesus it was his desire for control, his paranoia and fear and his illusion of power that prompted him to seek baby Jesus’ death and caused him to order the murder of the boys under 2 years of age. He missed out on Jesus because of his pride. If I’m going to learn from mistakes like those of King Herod, I need to know my place and be okay in it. Jesus is King, I am not. He gets to call the balls and strikes, and He gets to orchestrate life going forward. I am finding by simply asking myself that question: what place am I in right now? I’m beginning to move towards a healthier mindset.
The second and final question I’ll share at this point is: what would someone who was truly trusting and resting in God do in this situation? While I’m not that person most of the time, I find by asking myself that question I am able to focus on the kind of behaviors I could exercise. And there have been many times when doing those behaviors actually began to change my mindset and anxiety levels. I actually began to believe what my actions were demonstrating.
This is not a one time decision and this will likely be a lifelong wrestling match. The only issue of concern is if we stop wrestling, give in to our pride or determine that, “this is just how I am”. True faith comes as a result of battle between control and trust. God does want good things for us, let’s choose to rest in His care and do the things that someone who trusts actually does.