Okay, here me out…
Control is not the enemy, it’s having the humility and wisdom to know what you can control and most importantly, what you can’t.
How often have we as humans felt the destructive actions of control. From a parent that was insistent upon their way or a boss that had a superiority complex. How often have we felt suffocated by an overbearing relationship, be it romantic or what we thought was a friend. To put it simply, control can be the very tool used to dominate, take advantage of and abuse those around us. Sounds pretty awful, right?
So how is control ‘not‘ the enemy?
Because friends, control, is a choice, it’s the free will that God graciously gifted us. When God designed the universe, set the big bang in motion and blew his very breath into the first man, He could have easily left out free will. He could have created a utopia that prevented us from making our own choices and nurtured us into His perfect and gracious plan. But He didn’t, why? This is one of those questions I have asked myself many times, wishing God would not have granted me such power, such control. Often, I wish God would just make the tough choices for me, so I wouldn’t have to. But at the end of the day, God didn’t create us to control us, but have a relationship with us. And you know as well as I do, a loving, flourishing, life breathing relationship begins with free will, begins with choice.
So how does control and free will align?
Control is taking the responsibility of an outcome (my definition) and free will is the choice to make it happen (also my definition). So, what do we have control of? Well, I’m so glad you asked!!! This is where it gets good….
We have control over our actions. When others wrong us, abuse us, hurt us, inflict pain upon us, abandon us, control us, we get the choice on how we respond. We have the free will to harbor anger, resentment and retaliation. But, we also have the free will to forgive, to recognize that their actions are not ‘our‘ fault, that even if the law, the justice system, fails us, we have a King that never will. (Revelation 19:16) We have a judge that will atone for every ounce of pain we have ever felt, and no one escapes this judgement. He will deal with all injustice accordingly and no stone will be left unturned. (1 Thessalonians 4:6)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12: 17-27
We have control over our faith. God did not force His will or His ways upon us, He simply left them as options. You can find stories throughout scripture, from Adam and Eve to the Israelites, where Gods people went against His will. This is not a foreign concept. In fact, this was the reason we went from Judges to Kings, simply because God recognized that we, as humans, needed more authority to help keep us on track. Then, as He watched His wayward children make one mistake after another, worshiping other idols, committing adultery, murder, selling their bodies and souls, He brought us the 10 Commandments through Moses. A list of laws, rules, to help guide us, to know what was right in His eyes. As loving as an intent this was, to help His children, we still fell short. We sacrificed our lambs, to sin yet again. That’s when God made the ultimate sacrifice, not because of control, but love. God sent His only son to this earth, His own image in earthly form, to live among us and be the ultimate sacrifice, so that we no longer would be separated from Him by our sins. (John 3:16) But still, it would be our choice, our free will, to turn to Him, to ask Him for forgiveness and to choose Him. For me, this is a daily choice, as I am not perfect. But it’s a choice I have control over and will choose every time.
Why? Because the isolation, lonliness, shame, judgement, fear, anxiety I felt when I tried to live this life my way was too great a burden to bear for my soul. I sought God in a season of deep pain, wanting to understand how a “God” could allow this much pain, but what I found is a Father, Abba, that loved me so much that He held me, wept with me and promised me that this life was not all there was. (John 11:35) That He had prepared a home for me and when it was my time, He would bring me there. (Revelation 21:1-27) I found a relationship with the one who created me, counted every hair on my head and called me his beloved, his heir, his child. (John 1:12) There is no earthly relationship that has ever measured up to the peace I found when I found God, studied Him through the life of Jesus, and began a relationship with Him.
So that my friends is the purpose of this post. To release you from the control of others by showing you the free will that you have been given to now control what you can, your actions, your words, your thoughts. One of my favorite authors, Erwin McManus, says it best in his book, The Way Of The Warrior, “Anger is not your strength, intention is. Every person you have not forgiven, everything in the past that holds you, has stolen a part of who you are. One of the greatest battles of the warrior is to reclaim the territories of the soul.”
Lets reclaim the territories of our soul by releasing those that no longer have control over it. Lets stop trying to control our spouses, our finances, those tiny humans that don’t listen, the past that can not be changed, the future that has not yet happened or the actions of others. Lets regain the control we have over our actions and the very words that leave our mouth. We have control over our anger, our pettiness and the wisdom we seek. We have control over what we read, what we worship and what we dedicate our time to. So lets do that. Lets be advocates for our future by controlling what we can and letting go of what we can’t. Living with a heart posture of open hearts and hands, not white knuckling our lives out of fear. Releasing ourselves and others from the past and living in the present, not worrying about tomorrow, for it has enough worry of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Control is not the enemy, our pride is.
Melanie, Mothering In The Mess