Control. We are all grasping for control: in the big things in our lives and in the little things in our lives. I see children, teenagers, and even some adults acting out because in their topsy-turvy lives their behavior is the only thing they can control. After a year like 2020, you don’t have to look very hard to see people fighting for control in their lives. Maybe you’re one of these people fighting for control.
One thing that tends to look the same is that as things continue to spiral out of our control, we tend to do a couple things. We either fight harder, trying to grasp onto control again or we give up and let the feeling of helplessness weigh us down. I think a lot of people have tried both options. I know I have. Neither one does much to help.
Grasping for control in our lives can look different for each of us. We try to control our finances, our diet, our bodies, our education, our relationships, our sleep schedule. You name it and we’re trying to control it. Sometimes we try to control different situations and scenarios. I tend to overthink situations before and after they occur. Before I’m thinking of all the possible ways things could happen and after I’m thinking of all the things I should have said differently. We plan and prepare and do everything we possibly can and yet…. Life throws a curveball and what little bit of control we seemed to have gained has slipped right through our fingers. Your car breaks down, your family member is sick, you lose your job, your child is acting out, you get an unexpected bill… one thing right after another. Again. And again. Sometimes we place all of our hope and trust in earthly temporal things hoping and trusting if it works out, everything will be right and in control again.
Control. No matter how hard we try, how far we reach, it’s always just beyond our grasp. Sure it might seem like we have control for a little while or in certain situations. But in reality, we as humans, can control nothing apart from the choices we make as we react to the world around us.
So we can continue to fight harder in the battle for control, we can give up and let the hopelessness wash over us… or we can choose option three: surrender.
Surrender and the term “giving up” may seem like synonyms at first glance, however I promise you they are not.
Surrender can be defined as a laying down of arms and submitting to authority.
Stop your fighting. Stop striving in your own strength. Stop. But don’t give up hope. Don’t let grief, anxiety, and stress overwhelm you.
Picture this with me: gather up everything you’re trying to control, the big things and the little things. Imagine holding all of your problems in your hands. Maybe you have so much you need to load up your arms, maybe you need a backpack, or a cart just to hold everything. You’re probably a little overwhelmed holding all your problems. Look at everything you’re holding and everything weighing on your shoulders. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could set it all down?
Let’s take a moment and analyze these verses from 1 Peter.
Humble yourselves – You need to choose to make yourself low, of less significance. This does not mean you’re going to beat yourself up, think the least of yourself, and look at all of your flaws and shortcomings. This means you’re acknowledging that you are not strong enough to do it on your own. You are not so strong, powerful, mighty or grand enough to carry all the burdens weighing you down.
Under the mighty hand of God – in submission (yielding) to God, who is mighty
Therefore – as a result
So that he may exalt you at the proper time – In God’s timing, not yours, you will be lifted up and elevated
Casting all your cares on him – “Cares” are the things you give serious attention to, the things you worry about, and all those things that you haven’t been able to let go of in your mind. Take every single one of your worries, your struggles, everything that is weighing you down and give it to God. The word “casting” literally means to throw something forcefully in a specified direction. So you are not to just hand your cares over, you’re not to be holding them out in your hands waiting for God to fix it, and your not to be clutching them tightly. Cast them upon God. Literally throw your worries at His feet in prayer.
Because he cares about you – In this phrase “cares” is a verb defined as feeling concern and having serious interest in something. However, it also can be defined as to look after and provide for the needs of. He (God) cares about you. The Creator of the universe has taken a serious interest in you. He will look after you and provide for your needs.
Will you put your trust in yourself, your family, your finances, your political leaders, your job or in other earthly things OR would you rather place your trust in our sovereign, immutable, good God?
You might be thinking in your head,
“I trust God. But it’s not that easy. I still get worried. Have you looked at the world?
I a m s t r e s s e d o u t. ”
Something I’ve realized is that sometimes when we are seeking control, we are seeking for it to come from another person or the “stability” of a certain situation. For example, many people across the United States were placing their faith for a good and better future of the nation in a candidate. With President Biden having been inaugurated some people feel crushed and in despair. They worry and fret about their future and the future of the United States. On the other hand, some Americans feel a sense of joy and hope for things to come now that President Biden is in office. If President Trump had won the race we would have people on both sides as well. Those elated and those crushed. The feeling of hopelessness comes from placing your trust in someone and a political system that are actually not in any sort of control at all. Likewise, the joy and hope placed in the political system and its leaders is also fleeting because this too shall pass. Romans 13:1 tells us that there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God, therefore God is the one in whom we should place all of our hope and all of our trust because He is in control. God is in control of every aspect of every thing.
There is nothing that surprises God and nothing occurs without Him allowing it to happen.
Surrendering control is hard. But the great thing is that we, humans who can control nothing, can surrender to the One who controls everything. God is sovereign. This means He possesses ultimate power, He is supreme ruler, in absolute control.
Lamentation 3:37 says, “Who is there who speaks and it happens, unless the Lord has ordained it?”
Practically, how does one do this? One cannot literally take their worries, make them tangible, and actually lay them down at God’s physical feet.
Surrender looks like prayer. Steady. Constant prayer.
When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, all of those cares and worries start pressing down on you, be intentional in immediate prayer. You might not even have the words to say, you might not know what needs to happen, what will happen, what should happen, etc, but that is okay, because not only does God know every minute detail, God holds it all in the palm of His hands.
So I urge you to do a few things:
1. Do not give up.
3. Confess your worries and your attempts to grasp onto control
4. Confess if you’ve placed idols in your heart in the hopes your idols will provide control and peace around you.
5. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray when praying is the last thing you want to do. Pray when you have no words to say. Pray when you are happy and hopeful. Pray when you are crushed and broken. Cast all of your cares upon Him because He loves you beyond all measure.
Lay it down at the feet of the One who holds it all and surrender control.
Here I am
All my intentions
All my obsessions
I want to lay them all down
In Your hands
Only Your love is vital
Though I’m not entitled
Still You call me Your child
God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go
God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To open my hands up
And give You control
I give You control
I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh, help me believe
Somehow You want me
The King of Heaven wants me
So this world has lost it’s grip on me
Tenth Avenue North – Control (Somehow You Want Me)