This past year, a recurring theme in the Sunday School Class of my wife and mine, has been that of “control”. At no point have any of the lessons contained the word in its title, but in analyzing the root cause for relationship issues, lack of humility, unhappiness at work, or just plain being a curmudgeon, the “C” word keeps popping up.
I’m a self-confessed ‘control freak’, just ask my wife, or the other two people in my family to which I issue commands. It’s not that I think everyone should use their turn signals each and every time they change lanes, but rather that they just need to stay home if they don’t intend to do so. That makes perfect sense to me; freedom of choice. Abide by my way of how things should be done, or stay at home! In fact, the world would be a much better place if every inhabitant subscribed to my rules of the road, believed the way I do, joined my Political Party, and enjoyed Indian cuisine. Yes, six billion clones of Blaine Little would make the world a better place… for me.
Awakening from my dream-state, I realize that will never happen. I will never have the honor of issuing an edict providing for the backs of hands to be smacked by a ruler should they not pull the little lever on the steering column. Children will never stop doing things that embarrass their parents, and parents will never stop doing things that embarrass their children. Though, I do savor the opportunities to make my kids cringe.
What we are all chasing, that to which we all feel entitled, is control. Control of society, the political process, our family, our work, and even from time to time, God Himself. Oh yes, we like to espouse what God would or would not do. Well, it’s a good thing none of us are Him. Corporate CEO’s, Generals, and Doctors all look good in their respective articles of clothing, but none of them are in control. They just want you to think they have it all figured out, which is the reason for suit, uniform, and lab coat. The harsh reality is none of us are in control. We never were. I will not even go so far as to say we are only in control of ourselves… because we’re not.
Attempting to gain control is a futile exercise which ends in anguish. It’s a workshop on self defeatism. Putting our hands on those things in our environment in order to change the course in which our circumstances lie is like teaching a cat to fetch a stick. Well, have you ever tried it? All you do is wind up aggravating yourself; I have the blood pressure pills to prove it.
What we really want is; peace, love, happiness, and a certain amount of satisfaction in our work. Here’s the irony; we don’t need control for ANY of those things! We can find peace by knowing God is in control, and living the way He would truly have us to live our lives. We can start by “loving our neighbor”. Some will even love us back. We can find happiness in our family, so long as we are willing to accept all their imperfections. We can feel satisfied by taking the right attitude into work with us.
Good things will inevitably come our way, but if we hold on so tight to things in our present, we will completely miss the opportunities of the future. The sooner we stop trying to gain control, the sooner we can just start living. Perhaps they just didn’t make turn signals on that model of car.