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THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL

I’m taking a break today from Facebook, the internet, and the news. It feels delightful. This is the day after the election - or I should say, the day after the voting took place since we aren’t completely sure who all has been elected. It’s not that I don’t care, I definitely do. It’s just that after voting there is not a single, solitary thing I can do to affect the outcome. And I am happy to relinquish a part of life that cannot be controlled.


The park where I walk has a long, flowing stream and beautiful lake. And if you walk a little farther toward the wooded area, you can see the beautiful Chattahoochee which is high and fast after all of the recent rainfall.


I love water, in any form. It fascinates me and draws me in. Isn’t it amazing how something so beautiful and captivating can also be so frightening and powerful beyond anything we can imagine?


A lot of leaves are beginning to fall and many are floating in the calm lake water. They are barely moving, just drifting, reflecting the bright sunshine. Then, as I approach the stream, several leaves blow into the flowing water - still relatively slow moving, but picking up speed. They float around in circles almost like they are dancing the Viennese waltz (I’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars - hey, it IS a pandemic). Around the curve, the leaves’ gentle ride is coming to an end as they are swept, churning and swirling into the stream which is flowing much more rapidly downhill, approaching the rocks and small waterfalls. Then, after a few minutes on this turbulent ride, they are again floating along in slower-moving, calmer waters. Some drift to the edges and cling to the bank, almost like they are stopping to rest after all of the excitement.


I feel a lot like those leaves at times. In the past, I was afraid to totally “put myself out there” and give my life completely over to God, for him to use in any way he chose. I certainly wanted opportunities for God to use me - but, if I’m being honest, I sort of wanted the right of first refusal. Knowing, of course, this meant God could and would use someone else to accomplish his will; praying that he would forgive me time and again as I tried to hang onto some of that control I used to enjoy. (Maybe my husband won’t read this one and laugh at the words “used to.”)


Maybe it’s the pandemic, but I’m at long last coming to terms with the fact that I can control very little in this life. Over time, I’ve become more bold in asking God to use my life completely for his will, holding nothing back. It’s a process, and my own will jumps in quite often wanting to take its turn at the wheel. But, I will say that like those beautiful, falling and floating leaves, this surrendering of will can lead to churning, swirling, and grabbing for a lifeline, often moving so rapidly it makes your head spin. And if those leaves had thoughts, they would probably start out thinking, this is a nice, peaceful float on a beautiful day. Then move on to, wait, what is happening?? I want to turn around! Only to find themselves at peace once again, appreciating every second of that crazy, swirling and wild adventure.


Sometimes I am scared, gasping for air, searching for answers - any answer. Then, I find myself resting peacefully knowing I will feel the calm again and the protection of solid ground. Then, I am so excited and thrilled just to have another chance to do it all again another day. I don’t know why I ever doubted how fun this ride could be. To quote Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” things usually work out much better when I’m not trying to be in control. And, I’m guessing I never really was, anyway.


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I love this one. Are you writing about me or you?🤪. Your blogs are so well written. Thank you for sharing.

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