Monday, April 2, 2012

The Control Myth - Wrinkled Brows

Wrinkled Brows is a Monday series on a word or quote of interest (perhaps only to me.)

Control:  to regulate, dominate, rule, direct, or to have influence over

There is a catchy country-western song (I believe sung by Tim McGraw) which says:

"I like it
             I love it
                        I want some more of it..."

And although the song is referring to something else entirely, I think the same could often be said of our desire for control.  We like it, we love it, we want some more of it, if at all possible.  Of course, maybe that's just me.

I grew up in a household where there was little control.  Dad could not control his drinking.  Mom could not control dad.  And we kids could not control the fact that we moved every other month (okay that is an exaggeration, but not too far off the mark) and thus had few friends and no stability to speak of.

The upshot of that kind of childhood is that I can tend to be a bit of what is euphemistically called a "control freak."  I like to know what is going to happen well before it actually occurs; and it will not surprise you to learn that I hate surprises.  If possible, rather than just knowing what is about to happen, I like to be the one to decide what is going to happen, as well as determine when and where.

Guesswork is anathema to me.  "Ball-parking" it gives me the heebie-jeebies.  When I ran a corporate office, they liked to talk about taking a  "S.W.A.G." at something.  This denoted a super wild-a-- guess.  Now I really despised those.  How could you carve out a budget, determine a project timeline, or deliver a product based on "swags"?  It was beyond me, but I learned to live with it because I really had no choice.  And very little control.  Yuck!

Ah me, there are so many things over which we have so little control:  age, gender, height, weight, oh wait, I guess that one is actually within our control, more or less.  Where we would be born, who our parents would be, and on and on.

Psychologists tell us that of all the variables in our lives, we actually have true control over only about two-percent of them.  What!  Two-measly percent?  How can that be?  How do we cope with that? 
                                         # # # # # 
Well, here is a thought.  Perhaps the well-ordered life is more about contemplation that control.  Possibly surrender brings about more peace than constant wrestling for supremacy over our circumstances.  It is just possible that control belongs to Someone else. Someone who can handle it a whole lot better than I can.

                                     # # # # #
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like 
this?' "  ( Romans 9:21 NIV)

So today, if you "have it all under control" more power to you.  The rest of us are still working on it.  Until next time ... Marsha


  1. Marsha - ah, you have hit a nerve with this one. I have always thought the "control freaks" were the really domineering, prideful types. Not me. Oh, how wrong I was. I have discovered the ugly truth - that in my own sweet ways, I am also a control freak. And that is why I spend so much (lost) energy on fretting and worrying. It's because I am trying to juggle all the balls by myself.

    I loved your phrase "constant wrestling for supremacy over our circumstances" - that just puts it so well. And that wrestling is exhausting. Must I pull a *Jacob* and wait for God to knock my hip out of joint to get it???

    Yes, surrender - the most difficult challenge I have had lately. And yet, I am beginning to feel the peace of letting Someone Else (we know who!!) be sovereign in my life.


  2. An interesting discussion on control. I like to be in control but I can cope letting others be in control. The older I get the less control I want. I think it is tied up with confidence too. I am less confident now than I was when young. So now I don't always feel that I'm confident enough to be in control. It is sometimes easier to let some one else take control.

  3. Oh my goodness Martha - I NEVER have anything under my control! I just try to do the best I can. Whenever things have been going really well for awhile, I start looking over my shoulder, waiting for that other shoe to drop. Life is just a continuing cycle of ups and downs. What IS within our control is how we react.

  4. Amen to this! I used to be much more of a control freak than I am now. It is so much more peaceful to let Him have control.

  5. This is an excellent post----dang...I wish I had written it!

    I guess we all have some urge to control in our lives. But I am so happy that you brought God into the mix, because in the end, He is the one in total control, whether we know it or not.

    Personally, I have come a long way in this area. And I still have a long way to go. Thanks for a great topic.