Full disclosure. I like to control things…and…people…a lot. Well, certain people. Only the ones I really love. It’s not something I’m proud of but there it is. I like to have a plan and work the plan and have systems in place to make sure the plan all goes according to plan. My plan. After all, it’s a really good plan. And after all, that’s the way I planned it. There’s a lot to be said for plans and planning. And I believe that God created us to plan. However, it’s not always wisdom to plow ahead with “the plan”. In fact, sometimes God has other plans in mind. I’m trying to learn this in many areas of life but perhaps most of all, as a parent of adult children. Without realizing it, in my head the narrative went something like this… “God loves my boys and I have a wonderful plan for their lives”. Except that, lots of times it doesn’t turn out that way. The way I planned it, that is. When it comes to the precious souls we love, the control thing is counterintuitive and has got to go. It’s not healthy for me, it’s not healthy for them, and it’s not healthy for our relationships. It’s definitely not healthy for my relationship with God. If you’ve ever been in recovery or had a family member or friend who has, you are probably at least familiar with part of the 12-Step Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
I’m discovering it really does take acceptance, courage and wisdom to “leave room for God”. Sounds kind of silly when you say it out loud. That we should need to decide to “give God permission” to do what He knows is best. But that’s what it amounts to. I can’t control the choices my adult boys make or the choices that anyone else I love may make, for that matter. So it’s probably a good idea for me to retire…from being GM of the universe. It’s not the way I naturally like to operate. But, maybe by the time I’m done growing up, it will be a better way.
The only person I can change is me. My perspective, my attitude, my expectations, my choices. And the choice to cherish those I love, regardless of where their choices may lead, is one of the most difficult in my life. Control comes more naturally to me and it’s seems to be deceptively easier. But not better. And ultimately, it’s just an illusion anyway. We get to control nothing and no one. It’s just that God sometimes lets be a part of His ultimate plan, so it may seem like we ‘controlled it’.
Serenity, Acceptance, Courage, Wisdom. A pretty good prayer prescription for the malady of illusory control.
WRVL The Journey