Control Issues

To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, Ann Lamott, I have tiny, little control issues- hardly worth mentioning. I have strong disposition to fix other people’s problems and generally to make sure life runs smoothly for everyone I know. As Yoda might note, the force (to control) is strong within me.

This inclination to control is so much a part of me that sometimes I don’t notice when I have been trying to control things. That is until I’m deeply in control mode and things aren’t going well. I try, I really do, but not controlling is a very hard lesson for me to learn.

I try. I try to pay attention to what I am doing. I pray. I pray for awareness and the ability to let go. I pray “thy will be done”. And then.. almost without fail.. I say, “but I do have one or two very small, helpful little suggestions to make”. When things are a mess I have been know to pray, “Is this any way to run the world? What are you thinking?” Not pretty but true.

My desire to control situations, outcomes,  people, etc, isn’t about power. At least I don’t think so. Well, okay a bit of it is, but mostly, mostly it is about not wanting bad things to happen to people I love. I want to keep them safe, keep them healthy, keep them happy. And it drives me crazy when I can’t.

I was talking to God about this the other day saying,”God I am so afraid for ….What if things don’t get better? You don’t understand how scary this is.”  And God said, “I don’t? Whatever gave you that idea.”

When God decided to be a God of love rather than a God of control, God took a great risk. When God created a universe that could create itself, God took a great risk. God doesn’t coerce and God doesn’t force. We have choices to make.  I can’t imagine how much God’s heart must break over the choices we make. Billions of people over thousands of years- all making choices- some good and some terrible. Only God could bear that.

At the same time, I don’t think God is uninvolved, watching us screw up from a distance. I think God nudges, whispers, occasionally shouts, and always points the way for us. I think if we ask God to help us change (as opposed to fixing those misguided other people), God will help us to change. Not instantly and not without effort on our part, but with God’s love and support.

To know that God cries and worries over the people I love, just as I cry and worry gives me comfort. I am encouraged toI try to love and care for the people around me in the way that God loves and cares for them (and me).  For me  means much patience, an occasional nudge, the rare shout, and much support and encouragement.

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