Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chapter Five: Control

Releasing Our Sticky Fingers

"All of us want to hold on to the illusion that we are in control of our lives.....at least a little bit anyway..."

The title alone of this chapter immediately grabbed my attention. I know this is one of the (many) areas I struggle with. 

Hi, my name is Shelly.  I have control issues.

But seriously.....coming from a woman's perspective (cause that's where my expertise is, ya know...)....we all have ideas and dreams of how we think and hope our life is going to go, and we think we know how to make it happen. 

I have an idea of how I think my kids' lives should go.  How they should do things, how they should dress, what they should say, who they should marry.....you get the idea.  And I think its certainly okay to (and we should) have expectations and dreams for our children, but ultimately God is in control.  And we are not.

Our daughter is graduating next weekend and I know that things are going to be a little different. :)  Although she is still living at home, going to a community college, she is becoming an adult.  The hard part for me will be giving her the freedom to make choices and decisions.....even when they are not the ones I think she should make.  This is new for me.  How do you watch as your child makes a wrong choice and you know there will be consequences?  I know this is a part of the process, a part of life, character building, a part of who she will become and how God will use her.  Lord, help me to trust You with Your daughter.  Help me to release my sticky fingers.

And sometimes things just don't work out like we had planned.  Sometimes they do!  But sometimes they don't.....

Paula tells of her personal experience with skin cancer.  This really hit home for me.  5 1/2 years ago while pregnant with my baby boy, I received some similar, unexpected news - I had melanoma.  (Read that part of my story here) 

That was definitely not supposed to be part of my story. 

Or was it?

I believe that God will bring something good out of every bad situation or circumstance in our life.  He can't help it!  He's a good God.  Did He cause my cancer?  No.  Will He use my story for His glory and to draw people to Him?  Yes, I believe He will.

Today, I attended the funeral for my niece's twin boys who were born prematurely at 23 weeks.  My great nephews....Ayden and Evan.  Not how we imagined or hoped things would go.  Definitely not according to our plan.  Does God have a plan?  I just KNOW that He does.  As Starla said in one of her comments to a previous post of mine, I know that God is going to bring greatness out of this sadness.  Somehow.  Some way.

Paula quotes advice she received from a friend, "You have to realize that your dreams aren't going to materialize in the way you have hoped - even the ones you thought God gave you.  Some will turn out better than you could ever imagine.  Some will go belly up.  And hardly any will match the picture in your mind."

It's not always bad when our ideas or expectations don't materialize.  Not everyone will get cancer.  Not everyone will lose a child.  But we each have our own trials and tribulations....our own character building....our own story. 

And we each have our triumphs where God shows up and shows out.....and things are BETTER than we had hoped or imagined (even though they weren't part of our 10 year plan or vision board with accompanying pictures). 

When our oldest two children were 13 and 9, God decided we needed another one!  Not part of our plan....but definitely better than we expected or could have planned for ourselves! :)

God sees the big picture and He knows what He's doing.  Too often we ducktape our fingers around our circumstances and try to make things happen, fix things, or change things (because we know better). 

Rinehart exposes two faces of control:
  • one looks anxious, overbearing, just plain trying too hard (ahhemm....you talking to ME?)
  • the other is more a story of avoidance and self protection (again....)
Often our hurts and/or past experiences influence our future decisions, our plans, our goals and our dreams.....how we attempt to build our life.  If we can just do this, or avoid that, things will be fine and dandy.

Paula states that often the pain in our life "just sits there fermenting, expressing itself as control...."

"Most often, our need to stay in control springs from inner vows we do not know we have made:
  • I will not hurt like that again.
  • I will never be loved the way I long to be.
  • I am really all I have.
She goes on to say that control "masquerades as strength, but it's really not........We try to get a life by arranging the pieces as best our limited vision and wounded, misbegotten hearts can do.  God may be a prop in the play, but He is not the director."

If I am going to trust God with my life, (and that of my children) I have to trust Him with every part of it.  The happy times and the sad times.  I have to trust that He already knows and that He has a plan. 

I have to trust that He is ever present, holding my hand, whispering softly the words that I need to hear, molding me, equipping me, making me, loving me.

Because He is.

Is there something in your life that has happened that wasn't exactly how you planned it?  How has it affected you and your relationship with God?  With other people? 

Are you allowing control to masquerade as strength and cover up the places that God wants to expose and heal?

Are you missing out on God's plans for your life because you have your own plans?

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 Corinthians 2:9

Ask God to help you peel off the ducktape.....release your sticky fingers.....and truly become the director of your life (and mine).  Pray for me, and I will pray for you. :)  I need all the help I can get.

XO
Shelly

10 friends had this to say:

starla said...

"Too often we ducktape our fingers around our circumstances and try to make things happen, fix things, or change things (because we know better)"....sometimes the only way is shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh know who I am in you, trust ME...and I will give you what you really want if you do it my way.

I have found that it takes HONESTY when my ego wants to control through anger and manipulation to get what I want. They make me feel powerful for the moment when honesty may end me up in the bathroom in tears. Then comes waiting for truth to make its own way. There is no better ending than when God does it. AMEN!

********Shelly******** said...

Starla....

Oh man. "...when my ego wants to control through anger and manipulation to get what I want..." Ummmm, yeah. That, too.

Mold me and make me, Lord....

Rachel B said...

Thanks for sharing this Shelly. I've been a bit scarce in blogworld lately...focusing on my new baby and family life. Anyway, just reading about this book. It sounds wonderfully convicting!! :)

Control...ugh! I use to be quite the control freak AND I drove myself crazy! Often times things don't go the way we planned. It is a great reminder that we are not in control, but we have an all-knowing, all-poweful God who is!

The things that I didn't plan, the things that didn't seem to make sense at the time, are the same things that drew me closer to the Lord. I'm so thankful that we can trust Him and the plan He has for our lives. I have found such hope and peace in knowing that. I've been able to relinquished control (at least most of the time)...and I'm okay with that. ;)

Love to hear your heart! You have such a gift!!

Sheri said...

Wow this is so powerful and true. I have huge control issues, which is probably a big reason why my life seems to be spiraling OUT of control right now!

Congratulations to your daughter! My son is now officially in high school, and that is just unbelieveable to me. I can't imagine four years down the road when he goes to college. Of course I want to micro manage my kids' lives too, but I know whatever plan God has for them is infinitely better than anything I could come up with.

fallingintofavor said...

So true. God has been working on control with me...now that I have fully surrendered. I was like, why do you have me living?? I'm like Moses, if you're not going, I'm not going!

I took a God given dream, put a time limit on it, and walked away from it when it didn't do what I thought it would.

Now I'm picking it up and running with it. In God's way. God's plan must always remain His plan. I can't even adopt it as my own! I have to be stewart over it only, or I start to try to control it. ugh!

Linda said...

As always an inspiring and thought provoking post! I am always encouraged when I am here!
Have a nice weekend and I am praying for you and your family.
Hugs.

Doris Plaster said...

What an insightful post. And I am saying that mainly because I tend to be a control freak. I have become more aware of this, which is good, because I'm trying almost daily to get more relaxed, and let God guide my life. Thanks for sharing.
Doris
www.doris-socialworker.blogspot.com

********Shelly******** said...

Thanks to all you girlies for taking the time to comment! I find that this is yet another issue that is pretty universal among the ladies :) I thank God that He loves us enough to correct us and allows us opportunities to lay these things at the feet of Jesus so that our relationship with Him is not hindered. Praying for you all! :)

Pam said...

This chapter so spoke to me and boy do I have sticky fingers! My husband and I have an agreement. Whenever we see each other's control issues begin to take over, we say just what you said, "My name is Pam and I have a control problem". There is something powerful in admitting that fact. You see it for what it is. It's a journey and I haven't completely overcome but I'm a work in progress. He's still working on me!

********Shelly******** said...

Thanks, Pam...I think that's the key....realizing that we do have an issue! :) And then surrendering our will for His. We are being refined for a greater purpose!!

XO