When we try to control what is not ours to control we can cause some messy situations. There is much to learn from the Old Testament account of Abram and Sarai (whose names were later changed to Abraham and Sarah) about the way situations can backfire when we try to control what should be left to God. While they were traveling, Abraham decided to tell people that Sarah was his sister, because she was so beautiful he was afraid someone might kill him in order to have her. This turned into an embarassing mess when Pharaoh decided to take her as his wife. God warned Pharoah in a dream that Sarah was a married woman. Needless to say, Pharoah was angry and sent her and Abraham on their way with no invitation to return. Then while awaiting the promise that Abram would be the father of many nations, the couple became weary. After years of hoping, praying and waiting, Sarah was childless, so she decided to take control. She instructed Abraham to sleep with her servant Hagar so that she could build a family with another woman’s child. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Then some years later Issac, the promised child, was born to Abraham and Sarah. The result of Sarah’s takeover continues to cause conflict in our world today. Ishmael’s descendants are the Palestinians and Muslims. Isaac is the father of the Jews and thus the Christian faith. When we try to usurp God’s timing, God’s power, God’s control, we are out of control, and it results in unexpected and unwanted consequences.
Ec 3:1; Phil 4:6-7, 13; Pr 3:5-6; Ge 16:1-2
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Pr 3:5-6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
When you are trying to control something, ask yourself a few questions to clarify if this is a situation you should indeed be controlling. 1) Is it worth my concern? You have to pick and choose your battles in life. Is this truly something worth expending your time and energy to try and control, or is it just a difference in the way you handle or see a situation.
2) Will it matter in the future? You must decide if the future is effected by this outcome. If your child chooses mismatched clothes for school occasionally, assess the damage done! If your child is choosing to date someone with questionable character and morals, assess the damage possible! 3) Should I do something about this? Some things are within your power to change and God expects you to do your part. If you are in financial straits, then a second job for a while and some budgeting is within your control. If someone you love is chasing a nowhere rainbow, you can advise and care, but it’s in God’s hands—PRAY! Sometimes the situation is for God alone, and you leave it in God’s hands. Proverbs 3:5-6 says that God will clarify your situations when you lay them before him and trust him with ALL your heart!
Are you a controller? Explain. When have you tried to control something that went awry? When should you have taken control and didn’t? What transpired? What is a “control freak”? What has God/life taught you about trying to control what you shouldn’t? Is there something you are trying to control that you need to let go of? Is there something you need to take control of? How has your life been affected by a controller? How do the questions in the “Thought” section above help define the situations that you should and shouldn’t try to control? Which question speaks to your control issues?
Look at your life situations and relationships. Determine to let go and submit to God those things that you should not be trying to control. Ask God to guide you in determining what you should take control of. Focus on full submission to God and attaining his peace in those circumstances where you can’t do anything.
Dear Lord, you are all-knowing and all-powerful. Give me wisdom to discern the areas of my life where I need to let go and allow you to have full control. Don’t allow my desire to control to cause harm, complications and division. Help me trust in your sovereign power. Give me peace. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen!