Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 17: Control Freak

An interesting news piece caught my eye this morning.  It was a list of survival gear that someone put together for surviving the Mayan apocalypse.  They had all the really important things in there, such as a means to wash your clothes and a way to keep your iPhone charged (I'm being sarcastic!).  The best part, you can get it all at your local Target store and only for $441.  Who knew you could survive total world destruction for less than $500?!?

It reminded me of the article from earlier this month, that I thought was equally ridiculous, about how the government promises(!) that the world will not end on December 21, 2012.  It wouldn't have bothered me if they said the probability is infinitesimally small or debunked some of the myths that are leading people to these crazy conclusions.  Instead, though, they felt it necessary to promise the world wouldn't end.  Like the US government would have control of a nuclear apocalypse launched by North Korea or a huge global earthquake or some sort of radiant sunspot explosion thing that killed us all in one flash. 

What made me laugh at both of the articles is how much control people think they have.  My husband and I would probably be considered "doomsday preppers" in the secular sense.  We stockpile food, practice things like canning and soap making, raise animals for meat and eggs and make an effort to be as self-sufficient as we can be.  But there comes a line in the sand where "prepping" turns from a comfort/lifestyle choice, to a manic grasping for control over every situation.

I came to that realization one night several years ago when I was on the internet at 1 AM reading information put out by the Canadian government about how to build your own fallout shelter with a mattress, four garbage cans and a spool of industrial plastic wrap.  First of all, that would probably be as effective as the infamous duck and cover advice of the 1950's.  Second, would I even want to survive a nuclear attack?  And now that my kids are at school, if I was home alone when it happened, would I want to be sitting under a mattress wrapped in plastic wrap in my basement, or out looking for my kids and husband?  As a Christian, would I trust God enough to be out caring for people in the middle of that, or would I be isolating myself in a basement for weeks on end, ignoring all the pleas for help?  That's when I decided to take a hard look at myself and see what was a manic attempt for control and what was an enjoyable life skill set.

From knowing both Christians and non-Christians, I have to say the second biggest thing that puts distance between us and God is our perceived need for control (the first being pride).  The Bible says not to worry, yet we often do and it is because we fear that we have no control over a situation.  The Bible says not to earn your salvation by doing good works, yet we wear ourselves out trying to do "good" things because we are so uncomfortable with the thought that our salvation is a free gift regardless of anything we try to do to earn it.  The Bible says to trust God in ALL things, yet we try as hard as we can to control little things in our life because we believe we can handle them without God.  We grasp for control because it is more comfortable for us to be our own god than it is to leave them up to the Creator of all things.

God is in control of all things, whether we like it or not.  And the easiest way to get God's supernatural intervention is not to say a bunch of special prayers or do a bunch of good deeds to earn it.  It is for us to get out of His way and let Him handle things.  Quit living like you control everything in your life, because you don't.  Everything you have and are is a gift from the Lord and as the Bible verse says, "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away".  Our responsibility is to follow and honor Christ.  That's it.  

Activity:  In what areas of your life are you trying to take control?  Are you asking for God to take over or are you trying to do things yourself?  Think about what steps you could take to let go of your control and let God step in and take over.

Prayer:  Ask that God shows you situations where He took control.  Praise Him for His infinite knowledge, power and goodness.  Pray about the situations you listed above and ask Him to take control and help you to let go.

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