I’m just going to say it. I hate not being in control. I’ve played tug-of-war with God for years over who’s in control of my life. I would yank on that rope, thinking I had control of my plans and dreams, and that God would come alongside and nod agreement to my plans.
I know. Silly me.
And then He tugs back when life circumstances overwhelm me with their bigness.
This past summer was a difficult one for our family. Choices were made that have long-range consequences and required changes and relinquishment of some freedoms.
Hubs and I dealt with the situations. My mom-mode was to figure out what needed to be done to fix the situations.
My heart, though . . . it was broken.
As we walked through the days and decisions and disappointments, I wanted to control it all. I wanted to force the right decisions to be made by the parties who had to make them.
But I couldn’t do that.
Fear of not knowing how to handle everything swirling around me—and fear of not knowing the way forward from that place—took root in my heart.
I had no way to control the outcomes. No way to make things work out positively for everyone.
That sense of helplessness had my heart racing and my stomach clenching and my thoughts dive-bombing into dark places.
And then I had a car accident. Not serious. No one was hurt. At first, it was one more thing weighing on my shoulders. One more thing that had to be dealt with.
As I talked with a friend, relaying the latest drama in my life, God used our conversation to speak truth into my heart.
Because I couldn’t control the situations in our family . . .
. . . because uncertainty was the only certainty . . .
I had slipped into a place of self-sufficiency. I had opened the door to fear.
And fear moved in, took up residence, wreaked havoc with my sleep and my health . . .
And I had allowed it to do so.
When I face uncertainty, fear sidles up and whispers its lies into my ear. It tells me things like, “If you don’t get a handle on this, bad things will happen.”
Last summer, I discovered how fear is the underlying motivator for my need for control. I want to control circumstances, because then I know how they will turn out. I don’t have to worry about being hurt or about failure.
But the thing is, when I take control, I leave God out of the equation. Then fear steps in and stirs things up. Fear creates a driving sense of urgency to do—to keep moving forward—without stopping to pray and invite my Father into the situation.
When I walk in fear I’m not trusting God . . . with my life. With my family. With my circumstances.
It’s a lonely way to live, because fear also isolates. I begin to tell myself lies that drive wedges into my relationships, especially with God.
When I seek to control things, I’m not trusting God. When I seek to control I’m trying to play God. But the thing is? I’m not nearly big enough, strong enough, or wise enough to take on this role. When I play God in my own life, I will fall short. I will fail.
Here’s the hard part. The way to loosen fear’s grip is to be willing to relinquish the control we think we have into God’s hands.
When circumstances feel overwhelming—when they appear far bigger than we are—that’s fear magnifying the unknowns.
The way to counter this is to remember that we are children of a Big, Glorious, Loving Father. Our circumstances may seem dire, but our God is bigger. They may appear scary, but our Father is the God of peace. He loves us perfectly, passionately, completely.
And though He never promises to shield us from life’s hard seasons, God does promise to walk with us through them. And He is the God of light. He reveals fear for what it is: a device the enemy uses to keep our eyes on ourselves and off of the Lord.
When we know God’s character—when we believe He is who He says He is—we can place our trust in Him.
When we place our trust in Him—to guide us through the easy and the hard, through the joys and the sorrows—we realize He’s the best One to have control of our lives.
Even when God allows difficult circumstances into our lives, we can trust that He will also bring us through the hard.
We don’t have to be in control. We don’t have to be fearful because we are held by the One who loves us best and wants His best for us.
As for our family, we’ve worked through most last summer’s events. My sleep and my health have improved. We’re figuring our way forward as we trust God to offer resources and wisdom.
I still don’t like not being in control, but I am doing better with remembering that my God, who loves me most and loves me best, has got me. And He is in control.
What about you? When do you find you most want to take control in your life? How do you handle fear when it comes knocking on the door to your life?
***This post originally appeared on The Fear Warrior blog.***