This blog has been on my mind for about a year now. It addresses one of my worst character defects: control. Admitting the strong-hold this defect has on me is just plain embarrassing. Nevertheless, I have the prefect illustration for control and it is high time I share it out loud.
Last summer we stayed at a Resort in Florida. One afternoon my daughter and I rented one of those bicycles that has a bench seat, 4 wheels and two steering wheels. Do you have the picture in your head? Even though there were two steering wheels, only the one on the “driver’s” side actually maneuvered the bike. Needless to say, I was stuck on the side with the “dummy” steering wheel; the one typically reserved for children who might otherwise steer you into a ditch.We had it for a half-hour. It just about killed me. I had zero control over where we went and any attempt to redirect our course was Useless. If we got too close to a curb, I would madly turn the wheel with frustration. My daughter would point out, with the vast wisdom of a teenager who can’t even drive a car yet, that my steering wheel was just for looks. It wasn’t connected to anything. It was just there to make me feel like I had some semblance of control while in reality I was just wasting a lot of energy and sweating profusely (I mentioned we were in Florida in July, right?).
This is a great image of how I operate with God, regularly. He has full control of my life. He is in the drivers seat with a functioning steering wheel and am wildly trying to make Him go where I want to go. I may feel like I am contributing but the reality is that my steering wheel isn’t hooked up to anything. My job is to enjoy the ride and let Him take me where He wants to to take me. I am fooling myself if I think that if I just put more effort and energy into it I can somehow manipulate which direction I go.
I have a friend who has a couple little children. One is about 10 and one is 7ish. Certainly neither are at an age to parent, and yet, the older one occasionally thinks he knows what his mom should be doing to keep the younger one in line. Once when I was visiting, he came to his mom with some “information” on what his sister was doing as well a few tips on how she might go about addressing her behavior. My friend (who I am personally a little afraid of myself) gave him some good, calm advice right back, “hey bud, how about if you let me parent your sister today? That ok with you? You can go ahead and take the day off.” He sighed and ran off. I feel a little bit like that 10 year old. I think I have great ideas and also some pretty handy information that might help God do His jobs a bit more effectively. I mean, maybe there’s something he hasn’t taken into consideration in my particular situation (as if I am the first person to encounter such a dilemma). Me trying to tell God how it should be done better is like a 10 year old telling his momma how to be a better parent. He believes that if only he were in control, things would run much smoother. That ten year old and I just keep right on trying to get our two cents in there.
I have been wondering since last year why I keep putting off writing this out. I never really had a good answer except that when the time came, I would know. Well, let me tell you, this weekend, I know. God has provided some lovely and obvious opportunities for me to writhe in the sensation of having absolutely zero control of the people, places and things around me. And though I fought it for a couple days, I think I am ready to surrender. I am ready to just sit next to Him and let him steer. I am not even going to pretend.