Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Out of Control

I am currently reading through a book called "How People Grow" by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend. It approaches counseling from a theological perspective. It may sound deep and weighty but it's really an easier read than I expected and is providing a ton of insight!

One of the big ideas that is talks about is how, at creation, we were designed to let God be responsible for controlling the world and we are responsible for self-control. A ton of problems arise when we start assuming control of situations beyond our self, one of the primary being that we loose self-control. The book says, *"When we give up what we can not control, we regain control of what we were designed to control: ourselves." (*Tense changed from original.) It makes me think of the saying, "We must loose what we can not keep, to gain what we can not loose."

As they spelled it out, I was amazed at how true it is. Trying to make sure nothing goes wrong at work? You may find yourself loosing control of your anger and yelling at your co-workers. Trying to keep your kids, your house and maybe even your husband perfect? You may find your self loosing control of your eating and binging. Those are just a couple of examples.

As I was reading, I was challenged to take a second and reflect, 'God, am I being too controlling in any areas of my life?'

While He didn't give me an immediate and direct answer, this idea popped in my head because of a song I was listening to: "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him," Psalms 37:7. (Side note, because I asked God for insight, I need to be aware of what I hear even if it doesn't seem to "fit." Because He has promised to be faithful to answer me, I can trust that what I am hearing if from Him!) Be still. Wait. That sounds passive. AND that sounds like the opposite of what a controlling nature would be comfortable with! We might be on to something here.

Another verse popped in my head: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God," Psalms 46:10. This gives us additional instruction from the first verse, "...know that I am God." Who is God? Can He be known? What is He like? If I'm not still, it would be much harder to process these questions. When I stop... wait... am still... then I start hearing that still quiet voice of my Father whispering too me. It was there all along but I was missing it. What is it I hear? I hear who He is:
He is my Provider. He is my Comforter. He is my Protector. He is my Guide. He is my Father. He is my Bridegroom. He is my Friend. He is my Answer. He is my Shield. He is my Joy. He is my Love. He is my Peace. He is my Strength. 
You fill in a couple now....

Now re-read my list and yours and think about each of these things in the context of God being in control of specific situations in your life. I understand that I am simplifying things and that each situation has hundreds of unique dynamics, but as you process this idea, try to look at your situation objectively and see if God brings some revelation.

For example:
1- He is my Provider. I don't have to control my job or "prove myself" in order to keep it. I can do my best and trust that God will provide, either through this job or He will give me another. The result may be that I am better able to focus on the tasks at hand instead of worrying about what my bosses are thinking, resulting in more productivity.

2- He is my Comforter. I don't have to put pressure on others to make me feel good. I don't have to turn to books or movies or food or ____________ (fill in the blank). I can trust the Holy Spirit to come when I ask and give me a true peace instead of just finding things to put a bandaid on the hurt.  That may help me find real joy in the presence of others because I'm not putting pressure on them that they can't live up too.

3- He is my Protector. I don't have to defend myself. When I'm wrongly accused, I don't have prove to anyone that I am in the right and put up walls as I become defensive. I can let down my guard a little, be patient and let God bring the truth to light. Then my word becomes more "hear-able" and, when the truth is revealed, those around me have more confidence than they did before the situation.

I could keep going but you get the idea. Try one from your list and apply it to your own situation.

Do you see how it is all connected? Do you see how God showed me my answer even though it didn't seem like it at first? The ideas of waiting and letting God be in control go hand-in-hand.

A final thought, a promise:
"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him," Isaiah 64:4.

When you wait on Him, God will show up. He will take control. He will act on your behalf. That's the way it was designed to be.

Now, what do you need to let go of in order for Him to take the reigns and act on your behalf?