Confession: I want more control

I’ve been going through some pretty significant melancholy feelings lately… some ups, some downs… but consistently reflective on my current situation and the state of my heart in the midst of it. The other night, Kat tried to get me to talk about it. “Come and talk to me about it on the front porch. Share some watermelon with me…”

I don’t really talk about my melancholy feelings to her (or anyone, for that matter) too often, so she probably didn’t realize that I don’t really like to say much when I my focus is so internal in these times. I told her I didn’t really want to talk about it that much… but I went out there anyway.

The even was beautiful and after listening to the breeze for a while I said, “You know… I guess I just wish I had more control of things. Work, relationships, income…”

As on top of it as she is, she responded with, “Well, you know you can’t control things.”

And this is the root of my melancholy. I wish I was more in control, but my heart and mind tells me that I am not. The battle that ensues is a result of this tension of acceptance.

As I reflected on this… and listened, felt, and breathed into the breeze… I realized the silliness of my situation.

So I told Kat I also wished she would pay attention to the things I wanted her to pay attention to and not pay attention to the things I didn’t want her to. She asked what I would like her to pay attention to and so I told her. Then she asked what I don’t want her to pay attention to. “I can’t tell you that! Then you would pay attention to it.”

This put it all in a clear light for me. I realized how grateful I really am… for God and the provision, the surprises, the community, the joys of following my soul’s calling… even in the midst of no control.

So is gratitude the counter-balance to a need for control? I wonder…

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”

~ James

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3 thoughts on “Confession: I want more control”

  1. “So is gratitude the counter-balance to a need for control?” Hmm. Interesting question. I find that it often is. I not only struggle with control over everything but also with the notion that it is WRONG to try to control everything or even what that means. This is a HUGE thing with my health, particularly my diet and my depression/anxiety. Should I be alert and constantly searching for solutions, so that I can be in control of my health? Or should I just live and let things happen? For some that might mean just accepting that you have a certain health condition and not trying to be healed from it. Is there a balance between these two extremes? I think so, but I desperately wish I knew where to find it.

    Gratitude. I am so grateful for the wonderful things in my life and the fact that I am overall a healthy person (if we want to stay on the “health” topic). I praise God for each moment I enjoy complete peace without a racing heart or a day with no headache, neckache, stomachache, etc. (I know I should do this more.)

    I could easily say “I am so healthy compared to ___” and then just enjoy life with my minuscule problems right? But I don’t. Instead I want to be better, more healthy. IS this wrong? Am I trying to attain perfection. The line can get blurred at times.

    Sorry for blabbing. But I just wanted to say to you, my dear brother, that I can relate to your need for control. Right now I pray that God would help me want to change since I usually don’t. Change in a way that’s good. I think God has given us spectacular minds and wills, in this way allowing us to have control over such things as our health and bodies. But there comes a point when the striving needs to end. I pray he will give me the wisdom to know how to balance my yearning with his peace.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I LOVE YOU.

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  2. Britt,
    A couple things… I don’t think that it is WRONG to want to control. Getting into right and wrong on this matter is not helpful to our emotions or our psyche, and it just leaves us feeling guilty for choosing the wrong option! To want to control is part of being human. But to find ourselves part of something bigger, part of the created world, created in God’s image means that we learn that we don’t have control…

    … except of our SELVES!!! I like to think that the only control we really have is of our own will and our ability to choose. To have self control (not in a forceful stubborn kind of way, but in a choosing for ourselves kind of way) is perfectly scriptural. To choose to pursue health is essential! To just let what happens happens, when it comes to our health or self, seems almost lazy.

    Comparing ourselves to others in regards to health, choices we make, or the amount we try to control just separates ourselves from them. We’ve got to get away from comparisons. We must learn to listen in our OWN bodies and our OWN hearts whether we are healthy enough. Can we live in peace? Can we live with clear digestion? Are we tired or relaxed? And our heart… are we living in love? Are we experiencing the fruits of the Spirit? These are questions that we only answer for ourselves and choose to deal with for ourselves.

    I think I got the concept early on that I am in process. I learned that change is a good and necessary thing. And also in the midst of that, I was never going to be perfect. This, it seems, is an essential part of the spiritual journey towards union with God.

    So yearn on, my dear sister. Yearn on and enjoy the journey. The light and the dark.

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  3. It is also a stage of life. This is one that many of us here in MN are going though. Jesus is not about success. I can’t wait for my next step. I wish Nicole could be home with Fin (wait till you have kids to add to the equation). We need a bigger house for more kids!! Needs wants a bit of both. No answers not sure how to balance it all. Do I use the talents to get me and my family out of this or do I have faith (cause that is what I am good at) and accept that I am not in control. Your thoughts are not alone and I know that it is not just me…it is a stage of life.

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