So I'm thinking about certain things while I'm driving back home after helping Micah move and I'm thinking about prayer and mostly about giving God control. You know letting him be the driver in my life. It occurs to me that this issue of control comes up. How do you give control to God, without laying like a lump in bed all day long? You have to actually get out and do stuff. You aren't a puppet. And God doesn't want you to be. So I'm pondering this issue.
We hear this a lot in Christian circles. "You have to give God control." I think that "control" though is not the problem. I don't think the problem is that people try to control their lives. Controlling our own life isn't all that bad. If you want to be a veterinarian, you have to be proactive and go to school, educate yourself, meet the right people, and find a job. You know, actually make the dream happen. So control isn't really a problem.
I think generally speaking people should still be allowed to have some control over their lives but there can still be a problem. God sometimes does need to step in from time to time to remind us, to keep us on His path. So I think the problem is GIVING UP control when things get OUT OF control. We don't want to give up control when it seems that God takes the most control, when things start to go awry.
What I think is really being said in this Christian advice is that people are too married or attached to a certain outcome or a particular plan. I suffer from this A LOT. Because I like to plan things. I like to see things work a certain way. I'm a designer at heart. I want things to work right. Things working according to their designed intent goes straight to my heart. The stinking iPhone's battery is SUPPOSED to last all day long! Why do these programs crash so much? That person shouldn't be in the right lane. That person shouldn't be in the left lane. So I find it extremely difficult to let things go when things aren't happening according to "what's right."
When this happens I feel things are out of control, and my reaction is to try to seize control. So I think THIS goes directly in line with what a lot of Christian advisers say. I think what they are really saying is go with the flow when things start to veer off course. When things don't go according to plan... to YOUR plan, maybe thing aren't supposed to go according to your plan. Maybe God's plan is better and you need to just accept it. When you react, rather than try to steer everything back towards your plan, react towards the new direction.
It's like you are on a rafting trip and approaching a fork in the river. You want to go right but the current is pulling you left. And you fight it and try to force yourself to go right when the river wants you to go left. If you would just accept the left fork, maybe it's a better trip. God is the current. The problem isn't the control. You are still in the raft paddling and steering. The problem is that you aren't letting go when you have to.
When I have a plan that isn't working, I pray to God. I say things like, "God why isn't this working? What am I doing wrong? What is getting in the way? What is going wrong? Why can't I do this? Why can't I have this one thing?" All of those are bound up by... me. They are a reaction to my plan. Well, what about God's plan?
So I've decided to try to think about this when things start to go awry. Make little adjustments to see if they "take." But if they don't, then accept the new direction. If I want to plan a date with a girl and traffic is preventing me from meeting her on time, don't fight it. Call her calmly. Let her know I'm running late. React. Don't try to force things by rushing through rush hour traffic and risk dying. Accept the path God put me on. Maybe we won't see the movie. Maybe something better will come up. Whatever happens, I'm sure God's plan for the date is better than mine.
Book Review: Columbia in Manhattanville
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