It’s Tough Being in Charge

You know you’re a control freak when:

  • No matter where you are or what you’re doing, a phone call from your best friend is an unwanted interruption.  
  • You hate going to the doctor because they see all your imperfections.
  • You use up every spare moment “getting a start on” tasks that were scheduled for tomorrow or next week.
  • You feel little emotional difference between the prospect of having your writing arm amputated and the prospect of having a wisdom tooth pulled.
  • There’s a death in your family and your first reaction is, “Will I have to change my schedule to attend the funeral?”
  • Your whole body has forgotten how to relax.

Unceasing tension. Anxiety. High blood pressure. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Road rage. All have their root in one inviolable law of nature: Try to lift too much weight, and something breaks. And there’s no heavier weight than that of the world–which is what we control freaks demand the right to take on our shoulders. Endless planning and anticipating are our tools, making everything predictable and infallible our goals. The smallest delay or malfunction–along with anyone having a hand in such–is an enemy not to be tolerated. 

Small wonder that control freaks have a reputation for the sort of “even temper” that’s “always mad.”

And what a wonder that the One Who actually does carry the weight of the world is noted for His patience and understanding. Search the Gospels all you like, you won’t find Jesus fretting over the length of a To-Do list or snarling at anyone for interrupting His schedule. His work was hard and stressful, but He reveals His secret in John 5:19: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” In other words, the key to not going crazy over the world’s refusal to go “right,” is to concentrate on doing your part of God’s work, and leave the big picture to Him.

I like the Good News Bible rendering of Proverbs 16:1: “We may make our plans, but God has the last word.” We can accept that God has and deserves the only real control, or we can persist in trying to seize control ourselves–and either way, we won’t always get what we want. Whether we accept disappointment as a step on God’s way to something better, or resent it as a sadistic tool intended solely for our misery, will determine our lives’ bent toward bitterness or joy, pain or peace, ultimate failure or ultimate success. 

May we be like Joseph, who was neither bitter over his struggles nor arrogant over his accomplishments because (Gen. 45:4-950:19-20) he gave God credit for orchestrating the path of his life through good times and bad. 

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