Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Control is just an illusionDid you know there’s a National I Am in Control Day? Really. And it’s observed annually on March 30.

When I first learned of this dedicated day, I laughed. After all, I’m a self-confessed recovering control freak. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that control is nothing more than an illusion.

After all, there’s really not much we can control.

  • Weather? Certainly not. Meteorologists will be the first to tell you that.
  • Children? Parents of prodigals might wish it were so.
  • Spouses? Okay, on the count of three, let’s all roll our eyes at that one!
  • Health? You can do everything right: eat nutritional foods, exercise regularly, and still receive a diagnosis that sucker-punches you so hard you’re gasping for air.

So if control is next to impossible, why are so many of us consumed with its pursuit?

To admit I’m not in control means having to admit that someone else is. Someone else who is not only in control of the universe, He’s in control of my life.

But if I admit that, then I must also acknowledge accountability to Him. For those who refuse to worship the God of creation, this is an unacceptable admission.

I’m especially reminded of the illusion of control as I studied the life of Jesus this week, focusing on His time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Remember the gospel accounts? Jesus was praying in the Garden when Judas betrayed Him.

Consider the cast of characters:

  • Judas thought he was in control. After all, he led the soldiers to Jesus. But in the end, regret caused him to take his own life.
  • Peter thought he was in control, and he cut off the ear of one of the mob. But Jesus restored the man’s ear and told Peter to put away his sword.
  • The soldiers thought they were in control. Yet when Jesus identified Himself they initially drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:6)
  • The religious leaders thought they were in control, but the person whose death they requested did not stay dead.
  • The Roman Governor Pilate thought he was in control. But he was left asking, “What is truth?” even as he gazed into the face of Truth.

Although it doesn’t appear so, Jesus was the only one with absolute power over His circumstances. He could have stopped the proceedings at any time with the intervention of legions of angels, but He chose not to. He may have temporarily submitted to the domination of others, yet He trusted the power—and the control—of His Father.

That tells me something about control. It’s an illusion if I think I have it. But when I trust my heavenly Father, acknowledging His power over my life and my circumstances, then I’m no longer deceived by the illusion.

I can claim God is sovereign over His creation. But if my behavior contradicts what I say, what does that reveal about what I really believe? The adage, “Actions speak louder than words” comes to mind.

Not that it’s easy. If anything, it’s one of the most difficult things this recovering control-freak has ever attempted. Still, the reward is well worth the effort. Great peace results when I cease striving and know—rest in the truth—that God is God and He is in control (Psalm 46:10 NASB).

How about you? In what area have you been striving for control…only to discover it’s an illusion?

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1 Comment

  1. Barbara Farenwald

    WOW, this is one of the best blog/shares I’ve read. Loved your profession of being a recovering control person – you know that I am too! Its really exhausting and I’m getting to the point of fully submitted I can’t/don’t control much of anything! That is huge! So thank you for this Ava – I’ve printed 2 copies and emailed to myself to reread when necessary! I plan on placing one copy in my Bible for my daily reminder I am NOT in control – The Lord is!
    Grateful and thankful to “let it go”, put it at the foot of the cross! Love you much special friend – hopefully you have time for lunch soon……let me know and we’ll make plans for lunch, sharing and lots of love and hugs!

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