I know you hate it. I know you hate that panicky feeling that sets in when you watch people leave the conversation and you know you won’t be able to control what they do next. I know you hate that fierce flash of anger that floods your soul and offers to protect you from the fear you actually feel when you hear what someone else is saying about you; how they’re telling your story with words that feel wrong and inaccurate.
I know you hate the spinning of your mind as you lay in bed and try to sleep – knowing that the world will spin on if you shut those eyes, but knowing that your illusion of being in the loop on what it will do taken from you – and the panic is so real.
I know you hate the illusion of control altogether. I know you hate the way your mind tempts you with the ifs. If you could make better decisions. If you could get more information. If you had made better choices. If you could get the words right…then you will be able to control their pain, protect the ones you love, be understood.
The reality is – there are some things He has entrusted to us. While He still sovereignly governs us, His hands wrapped around ours even as we steer, He has also given us the capacity to make real decisions inside of real time. And so this surrender of control is two-fold: (1) accepting the things you never had control of anyway, and (2) also surrendering control of the things that you might be able to steer, not because you have to, but because you want to.
Instead of gripping tighter, you can relax your grip and feel His hands wrap tighter. You can press into Him – His chest against your back so that you can feel where He is steering. At some point, you just take your hands off all together and give up, give in.
Because, here’s the truth: He could have called angels down. Jesus could have stopped that march to the Cross.
He had choices too. Instead of telling that leper not to tell anyone, He could have sewed his mouth shut. Or subtly steered the guy’s spirit to not speak. But instead He – who controls all things by the power of His word – resisted the urge to control. He let His father advocate, fight, decide, steer, govern. He didn’t have to do that. He’s the only man who actually could control what happened when people left the room, but instead, He became like us in every respect. He became someone who knows how it feels to give up control.
Find Him now.
Don’t let this be an intellectual understanding of a glorious doctrine. Let this be a man who sits with you at this table and tells you His story. Who tells you what it felt like when He could no longer do ministry as publicly as he might have liked because people who he healed couldn’t even thank Him by doing what He asked. Let Him tell you what it felt like to let the soldiers think they held all the cards. Listen to Him tell you what it felt like in the moment when Satan himself scoffed at the son of God. And He knew He could do all the things. He knew He could do anything, but He resisted the urge to prove it. He instead, entrusted Himself to the faithful father.
Fabs, this man is your God and He is also your friend. Find Him and hear. He knows what it is like.
This man is your wonderful counselor who – if you hear – will tell you that even though it is tremendously terrifying and painful – that there is freedom to be found in entrusting yourself to a faithful Creator and continuing to do good. There is freedom to be found – not just in accepting what you cannot change – but sometimes, in letting go of what you might actually be able to change.
This is how you learn to obey, Fabs. This is when you learn to obey, Fabs. When control is held out to you by our enemy and he offers you the illusion of taking your life into your own hands and tell you it will lead to the same place, or maybe even a better place, in those moments – we learn obedience.
Oh Fabs, take a breath and remember that what you really want you have no idea how to get anyway. Give control to the one whose steadfast love binds Him to your good, whose kindness promises to take you down hard paths only if it’s necessary, and whose wisdom enables Him to see how the details of today line up with the destiny you ultimately desire.