It’s in our nature to want to be in control. We want to control things. We want to know things will go the way we planned. We want things done a certain way. We want to make our own decisions for our families, finances, career, relationships, ministries… Or at least feel like we have the power to.
We are control freaks.
Our desire for power or control is not something inherently bad. We were created to have dominion. It’s part of our God-designed human nature. We were created in the image of God. God is all-powerful. He controls our Universe. This is coded into our DNA. However, when we misunderstand what control and power is, or worse, when it’s out-of-order in our life, it works against our faith. It works against our ability to submit to God’s will for our lives.
Control in our environment makes us feel safe and secure. Insecurity in our environment drives us to grab for control, asserting ourselves in efforts to get control. Some people manipulate to get control. That part of our human nature grows especially gratuitous when we grab for control over people. Our reasons for control then are purely selfish; it’s pride. And we end up hurting a lot of people around us in the process.
Following hard after Jesus, pursuing God’s will and living obediently to it, requires us to yield our will. Yielding our will is giving up of our need to be in control, giving it completely to God. This requires self-control. It takes enormous self-control to yield our will. It goes against our human nature.
Side note: asserting power and seeking control in our external world is a cover for a lack of internal self-control. Internal self-control is control of our thoughts, wants, desires, words, will… When these come under the submission of Christ, true faith begins to grow and we can honestly pray, “not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42b
When we give up trying to control our life, give up trying to control the future, and allow God to direct the course of our life, we are aligning our life with God’s will. Then He will light and direct a path for our feet, Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 20:24. Does that mean we don’t make plans for the future? No. We certainly do make plans and the plans are prayerfully considered. The plans we make for ourselves are flexible. They can be changed by God anytime He asks, quickly and easily.
When we give up our need to be in control we put ourselves in a place of total dependence on God. Our yielding, or submission to Him, shows we trust Him. We trust Him to fulfill our dreams and desires–His promises to us. By the way, only then He can He trust us with those same dreams, desires, promises…
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight, Proverbs 3:5,6.