Tuesday, October 27, 2015

31Days - Not in Control

I love my car. It's not much to look at – a rather plain gray and nothing flashy. But I love how it handles. I loved driving the mountains of West Virginia last week. I loved the views and the curves, the open road. Behind the wheel of a responsive car, I feel in control not only of the car, but also the radio and my destination. I should probably admit, too, that I NEVER use cruise control. I'm not giving up my control to a piece of machinery (and it even drives me nuts when my husband does!).

I guess I've already admitted that I control my emotions (see Day 19: I am afraid of revealing my emotions).

I also don't delegate well. In part because I don't like asking for help (oh... Day 10: I am afraid of looking weak). I have a distorted view of my responsibilities and think everything is mine to do. But delegating also means giving up control. It might not be done the way I want it to be done. Ummm... yeah. What on earth makes me think that having a dirty bathroom is better than a "mostly" clean one? Just because I don't have time to do it and someone else might forget that dust accumulates in weird (and in my bathroom, hard-to-reach) places? Really?!

Before I had kids, I thought I would be in control of them, too. Huh. They have their own little minds and their own ideas about how things should work. Go figure! I sometimes still try for control, though. I'm not proud of that. I'd rather see myself as guiding. But if I'm honest, I have to admit that I can manipulate circumstances with the best of them to try to get "my" desired outcome.

Oh, shoot. I guess I have to admit that I did that just the other night with my husband, too. I was right in what I wanted (to let him grab a bit of sleep while I went and picked up our daughter at 4am). But I was entirely wrong in the way I used circumstances to get it. I was afraid that despite being right, I might not be able to succeed in getting him to see my logic. So I wrested control in a pretty underhanded way – I left the house while he was ummm.... otherwise occupied. Bad Jenn. I later hung my head and apologized. I'm not proud of that (the wresting control, I mean – not the apology!)

And while I'm at it... I'm rather frustrated with Facebook now, too. The whole lack of control over what shows up in the feed drives me crazy.

So my fear for Day Twenty-Four:

I am afraid of not being in control.

It's a real fear... with some valid reasons behind it. The little girl I once was wasn't in control – my abuser was. The sense of powerlessness he left me with wasn't even due to strength. Circumstances and knowledge put him in control. So history – my history – proves that not being in control can be dangerous. Other people can't be trusted to have my best interests at heart. There's some truth in that fear. But what's the real Truth? Truth with a capital T?

"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place...?

"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion?
"Can you lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites ?
"Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
So that an abundance of water will cover you?
"Can you send forth lightnings that they may go
And say to you, 'Here we are'?"
(Job 38:12; 32-35)

Ummm... I know I've read this before, but it's hitting me right between the eyes today as I hear God saying it. This time I'm not hearing Him say it to Job, but to me: Have I ever in my life commanded the morning? Ummm... No. Can I guide the constellations, call down rain, or throw out lightning? Ummm... No.

I am not in control.

Who has ascended into heaven and descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name or His son's name?
Surely you know!
(Proverbs 30:4)

God is in control of heaven, earth, wind, and water!

Just as a side note... Did you notice the writer of Proverbs mentions God's son as part of creation – long before He came to earth as a baby and became known to us?! Sorry, not really the point, but I just thought it was cool. So, getting back to the point:

The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these.
(Isaiah 45:7)

God is in control of light and dark, goodness and disaster.

What is really amazing is to go back to the beginning of the chapter and see what's happening there:

Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed,
Whom I have taken by the right hand,
To subdue nations before him
And to loose the loins of kings;
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:
"I will go before you and make the rough places smooth;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.
"I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
(Isaiah 45:1-3)

God is in control of the future.

God is announcing – by name (Cyrus) – the deliverer for His people from a coming captivity, and He does it 200 years before the man is ever born! And Cyrus doesn't even know God! Doesn't that just blow you away? It does me! But it gets even better.

See that section that talks about opening doors so the gates will not be shut? Armies under Cyrus conquered the city of Babylon in a raid described in Daniel 5. And according to an ancient historian (Herodotus) Cyrus conquered the city by diverting the river so they could march through the water and under the river-gates. They walked away with all the staggering treasures of the city. But they wouldn't have been able to enter if the bronze gates of the inner walls hadn't been inexplicably unlocked. Do you see it? God had it all under control! He opened the gates for Cyrus and put all of it in writing 200 years before it even happened! Isn't that just amazing?! Why did He do that? So Cyrus (who had not known God) would know it was the God of Israel who was in control – not Cyrus and his prowess.

God then tells us later in Isaiah:

"Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
"Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, `My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'"
(Isaiah 46:8-10)

God reminds us that He is in control. He knows the end of everything. He was there at the beginning of everything. And He knows it not just because He was watching, but because He was directing. Look at that last verse... "My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure."

God does what He wants and accomplishes what He sets out to do!

He's in control. But look again at how God starts those verses: He tells us to remember. Why? Because He wants to assure us. He wants us to find comfort and courage in it. He knows the end from the beginning and is in control of it all. We can "be strong and courageous" when we understand and remember that. I was actually going to give a reference for "be strong and courageous," but a quick search on the NASB version showed that those words actually appear together in SIXTEEN different verses! I'm thinking that God really wants us to take that to heart!

God wants us to have confidence and courage in His control!

Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for those times when I think I've got to have it all under control. Forgive me for thinking for one second that I can have even a semblance of control. Forgive me for not trusting Your control, because that's at the root of it. I think I need to handle it. And I am so, so wrong. So forgive me... and help me to trust. Help me to come with open hands, surrendering control to the Daddy who loves me.

Fear: I am afraid of not being in control.


  • I am not in control. (Job 38:12; 32-35)
  • God is in control of heaven, earth, wind, and water! (Proverbs 30:4)
  • God is in control of light and dark, goodness and disaster. (Isaiah 45:7)
  • God is in control of the future. (Isaiah 45:1-3)
  • God does what He wants and accomplishes what He sets out to do! (Isaiah 46:8-10)
  • God wants us to have confidence and courage in His control. (Isaiah 46:8-10)


Note: This post is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here to see the rest of the posts on my 31 Days of Fear (and Truth).

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