“Maybe I have control issues,” confessed a dear friend of mine the other day.
“Oh, honey… oh, honey, me too,” I said. A lump rose up in my throat. I identified so. It hurts, to let go of areas of control . We don’t hang onto personally unimportant things. No, we grip onto things that are close to our hearts, hurt spots, weak spots, sin spots. Control issues are like tumors- so attached, integrating themselves into networks of blood vessels. Yet, so foreign, unwelcome, and requiring of violent extraction.
I have seen the effects of a bulldog’s grip on life, and it results in no life I’d like to live. I have watched myself and others forfeit blessings for the taking in favor of control. Relationships, beauty, the chance to travel, time to rest, wisdom, intimacy with God… these are abandoned too readily, and it is a tragedy.
On pondering this a while ago, I thought to myself, What if I am forfeiting a truly beautiful thing by controlling my life? So I gave up control in a few soft spots, hoping that God would be faithful to provide. After I took what felt like a series of flying leaps off a cliff, my heart fell to learn that God was not doing as I had hoped. He is not providing how I planned. He is not speaking to me about topics with which I am comfortable. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me, but I know with certainty now: God is out of control.
So I am flying off this cliff, and if you have read any of my past entries, you know that I find myself in a difficult chapter. And I am hoping that God will throw a trampoline under me before I crash at the bottom.
Sometimes I wonder if this particular leap will require a set of wings instead of a trampoline, and maybe a series of patches, so that I might glide to my destination. There are no monumental events. There is no superman swooping in to save us just in the nick of time. I wish I could cite a moment when God tied everything into a neat little bow, to be able to say, “I thought He would and He did and I am no longer frightened!” but He hasn’t. I’m still flying an insane trajectory, and I am frightened, but I can say that I have not crashed, and I keep dwelling on Scripture that tells me I never will crash. And even though I don’t know, I do believe. And even though I don’t feel my faith, I have chosen this path of faith. And even though I fear God is not who He says He is, He is.
I must say, on the days I am brave enough to open my eyes, the terrain beneath me is breathtaking. It rushes beneath me at breakneck speed, the red dirt of my desert home contrasts brilliantly against the blue sky. This canyon was deep and unfathomable from my distant cliff, but as I fly into its depths, I find it is vibrating with life. Desert lichen, sage brush, cactus blooms, lizards, and rattle snakes, even hopeful sprigs of green. Can you see it? I could never bring myself to persuade anyone to take such a ridiculous and uncalculated leap…I would never try to convince you…but it’s painfully beautiful down here…
To be honest, there are times I fight regret–the days I yearn for Egypt. This morning was one of them. A conversation with my mother about the blessings upon which Steven and I are feasting turned into a tearful confession: my life is turning into something bigger than I had imagined and my capacity to handle it is shrinking every day. My need is growing and my ability is dwindling. I made a mistake, I thought. That wasn’t God’s voice I heard! I’m going to crash!
“Maybe your capacity to handle things was never that big. Maybe now you’ve gained a more realistic perspective,” Mom said. “Maybe you weren’t in control in the first place.” Maybe I wasn’t, and maybe I have more to gain now that I’ve been dangerously honest with myself and God.
I think I do.
I gain the inheritance of a daughter of the One who is so out of control, He was conceived out of a miracle, lived the only perfect life, was murdered on the Cross, and burst forth from the grave unfettered by death and more alive than any human had ever been. So out of control, He will descend from heaven, and the entire earth will quake. So out of control, His love for me, His tiny creation, has devastated my sin, has torn the heavy temple curtain from top to bottom, and has shaken my deathgrip on that which is less than heaven. HALLELUJAH!
Shout for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the LORD has redeemed Jacob. And in Israel He shows forth His glory. ISAIAH 44:23