It is the worst feeling in the world to feel like you are out of control. Last night in Des Moines there was ice on the road and it is difficult to drive on ice. Anyone who has driven on ice will tell you, there are times when you feel like you are out of control. You apply the brake nice and slowly but nothing happens. The car starts to drift left or right and you as the driver feels powerless. It would be nice to know in those moments that you will be okay, that you are able to gain control and guide the car to a safe spot, and eventually continue on with your day. But in those moments your reaction will be crucial. If you don’t react well and use some good judgement you could easily end up in an accident harming you or someone else. It is all about the need for control.

I know a lot of people who would be considered control freaks. Control freaks have this constant urge to be in control of everything around them, down to the smallest detail. I know about these types of people because I have some ‘control freak’ tendencies. I don’t think I have it as bad as some people…but I could be in denial. Control freaks are placed in the worst position when circumstances around them are out of control. 

But I would contend that most people, whether they identify themselves as control freaks or not, have a hard time with the concept of control. It is the student who takes an important test and waits to receive the grade. It is the child who is growing up and has to learn to speak to adults without a parent there to guide them. It is the parents who finally have to give up control and let their child go off to college without them. It is the biopsy result that you eagerly wait to hear about. It is the person who is sick and doesn’t know what the outcome will be. It is the family who watches a loved one struggle through an illness, not knowing the outcome. Each situation can lead people to feel helpless and out of control. That is, if you let it.

A humans first reaction when out of control is to: panic, freak out, react without thinking. Panic can cause greater harm to everyone around. When panicking we attempt to come up with all kinds of solutions to the problem that we face. We think, what is the worst case scenario? Is there anything that I can do to avoid the worst possible thing from occurring? The problem with these questions is that everything is centered on us. If it is up to us then we have every reason to panic!        

Christians know that their lives and futures are in God’s control. We have choices and decisions to make, but God is even guiding those decisions. When we feel like life is out of control our first reaction should be to communicate, not panic. In the Lord’s Prayer we start with, Our Father. Why would we say father if we believed God was some stranger that doesn’t hear us when we pray? We act as if God is the last resort or the Hail Mary Pass, when he should be our first destination. I also don’t want you to believe that God is some sort of cosmic genie that grants all our wishes, but God is always there to hear us and walk with us.  

In our pride it is difficult to reach out in weakness to God and others. It is so much easier to keep things a secret and not let anyone else know that there is a struggle. When we are weak then we are vulnerable, and people of control don’t like to be vulnerable.

Listen to the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 12:9-10, “But he (Jesus) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

What a relief to know that my controlling tendencies don’t have to consume me. That in everything I can pray, praise and give thanks to God who gives me strength, especially in my weakness. What a comfort it is to know that even when all of life seems to be out of control, I can trust in the one who is in control. To God be the Glory!

Have you been consumed by control only to find out that the situation is out of your control? Was your first reaction panic or prayer? Ask God for help and then turn to other Christians for help.

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