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Worrying the Days Away 2: Control

Worrying the Days Away Day 2: Control

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-26, ESV)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21, ESV)

I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things. (Isaiah 45:6-7, ESV)

I’ve got control issues, and no, it is not what you think. I always want to be in control but not really of people (although that is sometimes true, as well); I more desire control over things and situations. In other words, I was the one doing the entire group project in class. If I take on responsibility for every issue or need around me, I know I can rely on myself to do it and do it well. I worry about sloppy work or missing deadlines, so I take over and stress myself out in the process. Interesting how worry and control are linked like that, right? I start to worry about a situation, and then suddenly I’m “taking control” and scheming up ways to solve the problem. 

Why do we want control? Well, from the beginning of the world there has been a power struggle. We see the desire for control first rear its ugly head in the simple bite of a forbidden fruit. Satan charms Eve and tells her that the fruit will bring her knowledge that will make her equal with God. Tempting, right? She’s very familiar with God, seeing that she spent most days strolling through the Garden with Him, and she probably admired His wisdom. Satan presents her with “the answer” to getting that wisdom, and she bites, literally. Thus the power struggle began. The curse that God pronounced because of sin included the fact that women would struggle with the desire for power over men, whom He had designated the role of leader in the home and church. This desire for power isn’t just seen in women, though; we all want to be in control because we lack faith in others to make everything run well, including God. 

Who is in control? I think we all know the answer to this, but let’s say it together: God. The sad truth, though, is that we often forget this fact. Like we just discussed, we have a lack of faith, and that lack leads to our desire for control. We worry about work, school, family, friends, or life in general, and instead of taking the issue to God, we look for every way possible to remedy the situation ourselves. Now, we do play a role in solving problems, but we are not ultimately in control. All our worries and anxieties should be brought to God first, because ultimately He is in control of all things. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is out of His hands.

What is in our control? While everything is in God’s control, there are still some things that are within our control. We are in control of how we act and react. Contrary to popular belief, judgment and condemnation are not our responsibility. We should not react to things out of anger or bitterness or sadness. We may have these feelings, but we can choose how we react. We are in control of how we carry ourselves through this world and how we shine God’s light. We are not in control of others and we are not in control of our life—and that is exactly the way it should be.

My challenge to you today is to let go. It’s a pretty big challenge, I know, but entirely possible with practice. Remember that list of worries and stresses from yesterday? Actively give it to God through thoughtful and intentional prayer. Tell Him that you trust Him to work everything for our good, and in the process remind yourself that He is ultimately in control.

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