Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Out of Control?

image credit: Flickr user meddygarnet
Before I was married, I handled all of my own finances. Well, maybe juggled would be a better word for it.  I was relieved to hand over that chore to my husband.  He is much better at it than I am, and I know I can trust him completely.

After years of living independently, though, I struggled a bit with giving up that control.  I bristled at my husband's suggestion that we record every expense, so that we could see how our newly combined finances would work.  In retrospect I see that it was a very sensible idea.  At the time, though, I objected to having to report every dollar I spent on clothes, lunches, and so on.  I wasn't used to answering to anyone like that!

I'm reminded of the lines from a Rich Mullins song:  "Surrender don't come natural to me / I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want / Than to take what You give that I need."  Of course he is referring to God and not husbands.  But I think it's part of our human nature to want to retain control of our lives.  The problem is, so many things are beyond our control.  However, as Pete Wilson writes in Plan B, "[That] doesn't mean your life is spinning out of control. It just means you're not in control. It's in those moments you can learn to trust the only one who has ever had control in the first place."

So what to do?  Stress over things we can't control?  Or "learn to trust the only one who has ever had control in the first place"?  I know that there's only one logical answer to that question, yet it's a battle I fight often.

Corrie ten Boom, who knew something about living through difficult circumstances, said this:
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. (source)
I couldn't have said it better, yet it's easier said than done ... even though I know without a doubt that God is infinitely more capable than I am, and I know I can trust Him completely.  It makes perfect sense.  It's just that matter of letting go of the control that [I think] I have and surrendering it to Him.

So what's the solution?

I wish I knew!  I think it's a matter of perseverance and making the choice to trust God.  Not just once--but every day, every hour, every minute.  We can't rely on our emotions, which are changeable and unreliable, but we can stand on what we know to be truth.  Jesus promised that In this world you will have trouble, but God has also promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you.  I know that I can depend on that, no matter what storms I'm facing.  It's an uphill climb, but I'm not doing it alone.

Here are a few resources that I found helpful:
What do you think?  What helps you to let go of things that you can't control?


  1. What I would love to figure out is how to help my daughter begin to learn the lessons about surrendering control. She seems to have a desperate need to control everything in her environment and has tremendous anxiety when she can't.

    Tim and I have told her over and over again that she can't control anyone or anything else that she can only control her own decisions and actions and that she needs to trust God (we are using Trust and Obey for our bedtime song).

    I know it is a lesson she needs to learn and ultimately one she will need to learn on her own but is painful (and frustrating) to watch her struggle with anxiety and the subsequent bad behavior, anger, attitude, frustration, and fear.

  2. Great post! Though I am always trying to give up control of our budget and my husband won't take it. He says it is one of the perks of being in the military _ the wife has to handle the bills. : )

  3. This is a fabulous post! I love that quote from Corrie ten Boom because it describes my life :)

  4. I agree fabulous post, I have a hard time with control I do all the finances and at time would love to just throw it all to him but even with all the comments he has I know it would NEVER be done.


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