the illusion of control

I’m an engineer by training, a “list” sort of guy. I like to tell myself that I have many things under control, and I’ll work hard to hide from you the things I don’t.

But most of my energy goes towards assuring myself, and you, that I have things under control.

But quite often, in my blissful state of denial, my own body rudely reminds me that I do not have it all together.

And I hate that.

Sometimes it is my back that tightens up. My stomach is none-too-reticent to add its resounding confirmation. I can even get light-headed, or begin to feel so fatigued. All of these appear to be random events . . . until I reflect on it. And when I think about it I can almost always deduce that these symptoms are not random – I only wish they were random . . . I can pretend they are random.

Instead they are my body, speaking truth to me, before my mind (or at least that’s a simple engineer’s way of thinking about it) And my body is telling me that I am not in control.

As I sit here in the hospital this morning my body is speaking to me.

This is so irksome to me, so I’ve committed to making this go away.

But cuss, despite my best tactics, this does not appear to be working. It doesn’t work because as surely as water runs down hill, and hot air rises, I cannot control nearly as much as I’d like, and surely not enough to keep my body from talking smack to me.

Oh, I think there are things we can control, including many things God wants us to control. Maybe this list includes grocery lists, our budgets, and oil changes. Important things, too, like our temper, and lusts, and time with God. The book of Proverbs has so much to say about self-control.

But man, oh man, think of all of the things we cannot control: other people, our health, circumstances at work, the economy, our emotions, other people’s health, etc.

Note to self: I cannot even control my OWN body.

Note to body: shut up.

Here is the deal:

My efforts at control are actually veiled attempts to play god, to work out everything how I want it.

My efforts at control are actually my fierce attempts to avoid being dependent or needy.

My efforts at control are actually not only stupid, but they . . . are you ready for this? . . . don’t work.

It is all an illusion. I am not, and cannot be, in control. There. I said it.

WAY BETTER to acknowledge that there is a God in this place, and I am not it.

WAY BETTER to find contentment by owning up to the reality that I am a dependent creature, and never will be in control.

WAY BETTER to acknowledge that what I need is not control, but Him in the midst of a world that I can not control.

Way, way better.


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4 Responses to the illusion of control

  1. Cheryl Wolfe says:

    Dear Rick,

    First, please give a big hug to Sonja. And thank you so much for keeping us updated so well, sharing your thoughts, vulnerabilities, and hope!!!

    Hugs and prayers to all of you!

    Cheryl Wolfe

  2. Rebecca Weiss says:

    Yes. And thank you.

    And we’re still praying day and night for Sonya and you all.

  3. Jay LORENZEN says:

    Awesome thots — I needed to hear them

  4. Marilyn says:


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