A lot of us struggle with control issues. Cue 2020 with all its uncertainty, and, well, it’s not always pretty. The more unknown things become, the more we’re tempted to drag them into our own hands. But what if there’s a better way? Check out this excerpt about control from the You’ve Heard It Said Season 2 Bible Plan: Creating a Better Normal.
We’ve collectively discovered that we don’t have as much control over our lives as we thought we did. So where does that leave us—especially those of us who are predisposed to some unhealthy control issues? How can we stop controlling our lives and start finding contentment instead?
When we’re fixated on controlling everything around us, we often neglect the work God wants to do in us. But one of the greatest ways to fight the need for control is to develop contentment. Think about it. When we’re tempted to control, it’s often because we think that we can create a better life for ourselves or others. But when we’re content, we’re just thankful for what God has given us.
Contentment doesn’t mean that we can’t seek out change in our lives. But it does mean that we seek change from a posture of gratitude, not from a posture of greediness.
We see this illustrated in one of Jesus’ parables. He tells a story about a rich man who doesn’t have enough room to store all of his crops. The man decides to tear down his barns to build bigger ones so that he can hoard and store all of his resources. Here’s God’s response:
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:20-21 NLT
The man had a problem, and instead of asking God for wisdom about what to do and thanking God for all of his resources, he took control of the situation. But in reality, we don’t have control. We don’t know how long we have on earth, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. So instead of worrying about things out of our control, we can start being content to know that God is in control, and He can be trusted.
When we’re tempted to start controlling things in our lives, let’s instead start thanking God for being sovereign over our lives. Control tells us that we can create our own happiness. Contentment says that God has given us reason to rejoice in all circumstances.
In fact, contentment is one of the tips Paul gives us for fighting anxiety in Philippians 4. He says to go to God with an attitude of thanksgiving, and he writes later that we should fix our thoughts on things that are praiseworthy. Let’s stop trying to take control and start recognizing that God is the One who has control. And because of that, we can be content, even when things seem uncertain.
Let’s create a better normal for ourselves by more regularly inviting God into our lives, knowing that He can be trusted to control every situation and to bring about good in every season.
Pray: God, help me fight my desire for control by seeking and practicing contentment. You alone are worthy of control, and I trust You. Thank You for the many blessings You have given me. Help me to steward them well, fight greed, and find contentment. In Jesus’ name, amen.