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It's Out of Control

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 7:16 PM
Are you a control freak? Personally, I admit to being one. When a situation gets out of my control I lose my composure and stress out. I was thinking on this yesterday, and I realized everyone has a little bit of "control freak" in them even if they don't know it.

For example, when I was in Australia with my brother and Grandpa the shower in our lodgings was a little tricky. If you turned the hot water knob, it was cold. If you turned the cold water knob, it was cold. We began to wonder, "Will we only have cold showers for two weeks?" My brother, who has the great gift of thinking outside the box, tinkered around with the shower and sink. He found if you turned the hot water on in the sink and waited for it to get hot, you could turn the hot water on in the shower and it would get hot. Hurray! After my brother, I took my shower. I quickly realized I could either have a scalding hot shower or a freezing cold shower. There was no happy medium.

When I came home and took a shower, my first thought was, "Hey, now I can turn on the water to whatever temperature I want and it stays that way." That's when it hit me.

It was just a shower, yet when I couldn't control the temperature I was dissatisfied. When I could control it I was comfortable and happy. Have you ever thought of the things you like to control in your daily life? I started to. Here's couple I thought of:

Air conditioning/Heating - We keep our house and cars the temperature we like it. Goodness, what I terrible thing when it isn't.

Backseat Driving - Have you ever sat in the backseat or passenger seat and critiqued the driver's driving because it didn't suite you?

What if we lived in a world where we couldn't control anything? Would you be happy or upset? Sometimes I feel like this can be my initial reaction to God when He presents a situation I'm opposed to because it's outside of my control which in turn, is outside of my comfort zone.

He has a plan for my life, and I want in on it. But that would ruin His surprise, His blessings, for me wouldn't it? If we knew God's plan, why would we need to trust Him? I'm learning every day that God cares for my well being and He challenges me to trust in Him. I'm truly thankful. (Though, I admit in the moment it's hard to feel thankful.)

I hope my question to myself also made you think. :)




Jonathan Lovelace said... @ March 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

From Scripture I glean at least two facts that might appear to be in conflict, but are both true:
1) God is the only one with true control. "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain," and even the devil (who some would have be all but omnipotent) has to do his bidding and seek his permission.
2) On the other hand, God designed us to be in (limited) control (under his authority). Our first parents were set in a garden that was designed for them to "tend", and they were commanded to "fill the earth, and subdue it." I think this desire for control---dominion---is something we get from being "made in the image of God", and so the limited control he allows us to have is one of his good gifts.

When I think about it, though, I'm glad that I'm not in control of much more than I am, or in absolute control at all---I know how badly I'd mes things up. Just like, at ten, I was allowed some authority over my own appearance and "space" but not expected to take over the maintenance of the whole house, so we are being tested here as God's delegates and ambassadors with a few small things, so that when he comes if we have proved faithful he will know we may be trusted with more.

Twyla E. Brooks said... @ March 15, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Jonathan, thanks for the comment. :D

1.) This is true, yes. I guess what I meant when I mention "in my control" it was to say "what I think I'm in control of, but obviously not", because like you said, the Lord is over all.

2.) Hm, that's a good point as well. But I have to wonder, although Adam and Eve were to "tend" to the Garden, they really didn't have much control over it or the animals (at least before sin), did they? Ultimately, God oversaw everything, right? I'm not trying to argue, I'm genuinely curious. :)

I, too, am glad that I don't have "control" over everything in my life. If I did, I would never grow deeper in my faith. The faith I have now is not from living a cushy, painless life. Through events and trials out of my control I've learned so much about the Lord and trusting Him. ^^ I liked your example on that. ^^



Jonathan Lovelace said... @ March 15, 2012 at 1:15 PM

1. I'm not so sure that our control is illusory so much as limited and subject to God's government. "In my control" isn't wrong, just incomplete: the better phrasing, I think, is "in my control, God willing."

2. The one clear example of this is that God brought the animals to Adam to name them. And until they sinned, they were permitted to eat of any of the trees in the garden save one (even the tree of lie!). But I interpreted "tending" as including artistic pruning, planting new generations of some plants, and so on.

Jonathan Lovelace said... @ March 20, 2012 at 7:45 PM

In re that last point, of prelapsarian responsibilities, I found an interesting quote in a comment on a Speculative Faith post (from last October; yes, I am that far behind on my blog reading ...):
Before the Fall, Adam did all kinds of jobs that mattered very much to God: zoology, maintenance, landscape architecture."

Twyla E. Brooks said... @ March 24, 2012 at 8:43 PM

!.) Hm, you have a point there. I hadn't thought of it from that angle.

2.) So in all technicality, God was the one in control of the animals, but Adam gave them names.

That's a good comment. But is tending the same as controlling? I'm not asking in debate, but again, curiosity. :)

Jonathan Lovelace said... @ March 30, 2012 at 11:51 PM

(Sorry it's taken another week to reply. And you double-posted.)

The analogy with childhood is, I think, a good one: God bringing the animals to Adam for him to name them was, I suspect, rather like letting a child choose what outfit to wear but not yet permitting him to dress himself. I presume that "tending" the Garden similarly involved our first parents in decision-making and what we're here calling "control" while still leaving ultimate authority, power, and "control" in their Maker's hands.

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Proverbs 16:9

"In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."