I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

Control Issues

I have control issues.

I think that gives me something in common with most of America.  Because we have, we think we are in control.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sometimes I think living in a country where we have everything hurts our faith more than it helps us.  I don’t depend on God for my next meal; I depend on my husband’s job and the grocery story.  I don’t depend on God for shelter;  we have a house, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Last night, I realized how little I depend on God for even God things.

I had invited a friend to a concert, knowing that this particular friend was quite a bit further left in her beliefs and values than I am. We are different.continuum

It was a concert by a couple of guys, Andrew Peterson and Jason Gray, who are Christian, but are not shove-it-down-your-throats kind of guys.  They are humble.  Their lyrics are deep and challenging.

Anyway, I invited my friend whom I’ll call Abbie.  When I first invited Abbie, it was in an email…. and I didn’t hear back from her.

Oh, well, I thought.  It probably would have offended her.

But I kept praying.  I prayed that Abbie would come.  I prayed that Abbie would hear their music and be touched.  I prayed that, oh, I don’t know, I prayed that God would use this.  But in the deep parts of my heart, I wanted Him to use it so I would get a little credit.  I did, after all, invite her.

Well, a month went by and I didn’t hear from Abbie about the concert.  I saw her just about every week, but she never said a word about it.  Of course, I didn’t ask either.  The concert was coming up, and Bobby decided to take matters into his hands.  He asked her again.

Oh my goodness!  She felt so bad.  She was so sorry.  She had gotten my email in the midst of an absolutely crazy week and had forgotten to respond.  She would love to come to the concert with us.

So I ramped up my prayers for Abbie and the concert.  I asked a few other friends to pray about this concert.  I prayed that God would use this.  But in the deep parts of my heart, I wanted Him to use it so I would get a little credit.  I did, after all, invite her.

Concert day arrived.  I was excited. I was nervous. I prayed.  I asked friends to pray.  I just knew that God would use this (and that I would get a little credit;  I did, after all, invite her).  I had this under control.  Or did I?

When we got to the concert hall, we found seats up near the front.  There were 8 – 10 girls sitting in front of us wearing matching t-shirts, white with a picture of a cassette tape on the front.  They were giggly and a little loud.

Abbie leaned over to me. “Do you think they even know what a cassette tape is?”

I laughed. “Probably not.”

Andrew Peterson 2-22-2013 011When the concert began, the screaming began.  One would have thought we were at a Justin Bieber concert.  In fact, Grace, who was with us, said exactly that.

Umm, God?  I whispered in my heart.  I know that I didn’t pray about this exactly, but could You do something?

Apparently not.   Or apparently, it wasn’t a situation He wanted to address at the moment.

Little Miss Pigtails, one of the girls in the posse, jumped up and down in her seat and finally vacated it for the aisle.  Apparently there are hand motions to most of Jason Gray’s songs.  I had no idea.  She squealed and danced and bounced and squealed some more.

I looked up.  God?  Are you seeing this?

Apparently not.   Or apparently, it wasn’t a situation He wanted to address at the moment.

Then, Jason Gray, as he was introducing one of his songs, finished his introduction, stepped back to start playing his guitar, and then stepped forward again.

“I just want to add this,” he said, and he launched into a story about being at a Christian radio station and hearing something on the radio where they were speaking about “the homosexual agenda.”

I felt my stomach tighten.  This — the homosexual agenda — is probably one of the most sensitive, awkward, contentious differences I have with Abbie.  I inwardly cringed.

That was when God spoke. “I’ve got this,” He said.  And that was all He said, as clearly as He has ever spoken anything to me.

And I was reminded in that moment that He does.  He really does have this.  My invitations, my prayers, my asking other people to pray all add up to a whole bunch of nothing.  Except that He wants us to reach out to others and to pray.

Because, in the end, those things change us, not God.

Apparently, the situation He wanted to address at the moment was me. It was me, trying to control, trying to take credit, trying to do all sorts of things that are His in the end, and at the beginning, and in between.

It’s all about who is in control.  I keep wanting to make it me.

The really funny thing is that Jason’s story ended up having nothing to do with the homosexual agenda and everything to do with fear.  And isn’t control really just fear?  Fear of letting go and letting God have His way.

Yes, I have control issues.  I want to let go, but it is so hard.


One comment on “Control Issues

  1. Judy Guion
    February 24, 2013

    This is a very hard lesson to learn. God’s first lesson on this for me was an almost-fatal car accident, before I was born anew. There were over 20 people in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things in the right order for me to survive. I recognized the TRUTH of that in the I.C.U. But over the last 32 years I have tried to take control dozens and dozens of times. I hope I have finally reached the point that when I try, I immediately remember WHO is in charge.

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