Me: Howdy Prodigal! That is nice artwork behind you.
Prodigal: Thanks, it is a mural of the community of Pinellas County coming together and working together. It was done free hand in a couple of hours.
Me: I would think that in order for us to work together we would have to give up control.
Prodigal: Can you please explain?
Me: Of course I have a passage from Robert Raines that explains the different ways that we tend to take control.
Most of us don’t trust the process, we try to control the future in one way or another. There is the bureaucratic style of controlling the future in which we become the logical thinker, laying out the future in graphs and statistics, organizing committees and task forces, squeezing the future dry of its creative and joyous juices and hanging on the husk of our analysis even as life overflows our tidy technology. Or there is the seductive style of controlling the future in which we become a smiling seducer, wittingly or unwittingly charming those about us with unceasing good will, smiling our way past real conflict and opposition, working our own purposes through geniality. Or there is the paranoid style of controlling our future, in which we become a fearful list-maker of what will happen today, tomorrow, next year, afraid to leave any eventuality unanticipated. We fence in our future so as to protect ourselves against any uncertainty and thus any spontaneity. Or there is the gangbusters style of controlling the future, the aggressive battler, in which we take the future by the scruff of the neck and shake it. It is a zap-them-before-they-zap-you approach. Then there is the dependent style of controlling the future in which we become the friendly helper and facilitator. We fill other people’s needs carefully and thus get them in our debt so that we can say in one way or another, “Look at all I have done for you”
Well which one of these sounded just like you today? I love control so much I have attempted to use all these in the same day! What I discovered though is that while I was in control there was no room for me to trust God. So what does God do. Does he ask me nicely to give up control. Yes and I give up control for five minutes. Then came years of painfully prying all control out of my hands. Then God gave me a test to see if I really did give up control and do I really trust him. The kind of test that means there are no plan B’s and there is no escape route. You are falling off the cliff and only the hand of God can reach down and save you. So do you want to know if I trust God today. On this day I trust God completely. Do I trust God because he gave me all the answers. (no) Do I trust God because my life is easy (no) Do I trust God because he answered my prayers (no). I trust God because as he was taking control out my hands he showed me what real love was. I jumped off the cliff in trust and he reached down and grabbed my hand and protected me in his arms. I learned that whatever God has in plan for me is better then my plans. It means that I don’t try to control God, it means that I surrender and it means that I open a door to a real relationship with God as my center.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust is the Lord with all thy heart and do not lean unto your own understanding.
Jennifer Van Allen