The Control Conundrum (part 1)


Do you ever wrestle with control?  Have you tried to control things only to have it all blow up in your face? 

I have been described as a doer and a go-getter and confess I used to embrace those descriptions like badges of honor pinned to my chest; something to be proud of. But as the Lord continues to mold my character more into His image, I’ve begun re-evaluating things. 

Could my cherished badges of honor actually be chains around my ankles dragging me down and enslaving me? 

Go-getters are good at going. And going. And going! Like the need for speed, the sense of control and achievement falsely promises a thrill that neither lasts nor is sustainable. 

Sometimes the thrill itself can become the destination. Other times, the pursuit of control masquerades as something honorable:

But Lord, I care and I’m capable! 

I see something others are missing! 

I have to step in and do something about this! 

These are inner conversations I would have with myself right before (re)acting. Have you ever experienced something similar? For me, the first statement is the most convincing, catapulting me into action: I care and I’m capable! 

We all possess varying degrees of caring and capability, which isn't the problem. The problem is when we operate out of that combination as our go-to.

When I (re)act in that mindset and motivation, my outcomes are always going to be fatally flawed. Why? Because I’m not God. I can only go so far. I don’t know the full story. 

My character and motives are tainted. I often find myself acting in order to avoid hurtful situations, to protect against loss of something I hold dear, to prevent uncomfortable relational frictions, or to solve a problem so I no longer suffer its inconvenience. God is motivated into action based on His own good character and for the best interest of all in His Kingdom. Big difference.

And there it is: the control conundrum. I want what’s in my best interest according to how I see it; God wants what’s in the best interest of everyone according to His purposes. I seek relief; God seeks restoration. I am limited; God is limitless. I am flawed; God is faithful. 

I have friends who are more laid back, and don’t seem to act on their impulses. but I know they quietly churn over situations or worry about them. They may even secretly manipulate in order to change the other’s opinion about a situation or about themselves. And that too, is control. 

When I have a hard time being still and trusting, it’s because deep down in the dark corners of my heart I mistakenly think God is either non-caring or He’s non-capable, so I step up to the plate and grab control. 

This past week I’ve been reading and meditating on John chapter 15 in my Bible. It’s near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and Jesus chose to use something they were all familiar with -- a vineyard -- to remind them of some very important truths. I couldn’t help but appreciate that He knew they’d be scrambling, desperately looking for control as their world would soon be turned upside down. 

Here are some highlights that stood out to me. I couldn’t help but notice the repeating use of “remain”words  (“abide” in other translations), and the why of verse 11.

Verse 5: I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (This speaks to my identity and reminds me of His ability) 

Verse 9: Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love. (This speaks to His care and desire for me)

And what is the result when I don’t dash off on my own trying to control a situation -- when I learn to abide; to be still and know that He is God? Joy.

Verse 11 -  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 

Identity, ability, care, and desire are all basic needs that are most satisfied in a relationship with Jesus.  

Join me for part 2 as I further explore this concept of “being still" and help me encourage others in this journey we call life by subscribing and sharing with others who also yearn to have more of His Kingdom Heartbeat pulsing within their hearts. 


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