Control is an illusion. You think you have it and “Poof!”- it vanishes into thin air. Because it was all just an illusion after all. Yet, it is the illusion that we all strive after, like kids with butterfly nets who run into each other over and over with our eyes straining after those fluttering, fleeting winged things. We can’t see each other for the busy-ness, for the striving after control.
I had this revelation recently illustrated to me as I watched my son desperately crawling in circles for his new favorite thing: Puffs. He loves the yogurt kind that are shaped like little “v”s, v for victory-over-finger-food! I had sprinkled some on the floor for him, because I am a great mom who will do anything to keep her son quiet, including feeding him on the floor. Still, instead of going after the ones on the floor, he had discovered that the tall cylinder nearby held all the Puffs, and that became the prize. He wheeled on his stomach in circles chasing the giant container as it continually rolled away from him. When he finally got a grip on it, he realized he could not open it. What a waste of effort.
This whole scenario reminded me of myself. Instead of enjoying what God has given me, I take things a step further. I think I am oh-so-smart; I have figured out that this thing over here [insert most recent desire: car, job, travel destination, house, talent,etc.] would give me what I want whenever I want it. I don’t just want gifts- I want control of the gifts. But, like my son discovered, control is too big for me. I don’t know what to do with it, and I can’t keep a grip on it, try as I might. Meanwhile, I have ignored the thing I need/want in the moment that HAS been given to me.
If you have not read C.S.Lewis’s Perelandra, pick it up at your library today. Or get the audiobook- I bet the Libby app or Libravox recordings have it for free. In that book, Adam and Eve-type characters live in a Venus version of Eden. It’s sci-fi, folks. Work with me. The entire planet is covered in water and the land floats on the surface. It flexes with the waves, like a long blowup float or thin flexible foam. God has told the inhabitants to embrace this lifestyle, to embrace the waves. It is easier than trying to fight it. This requires a great amount of trust that is counter-intuitive to planner types.
I am not doing well at this whole trust thing. Our family is going through a lot of transition with Andy getting a new job with an 8-5 schedule and an iron-your-shirt, pack-your-lunch kind of life. It makes me feel “wifey” and unimportant. I also try to make it a goal to be really good at parenting and cooking and homemaking- in an effort to validate my existence. Wait. What?! Why do I feel like I have to do that?
This is when I realize that there are voices in your head that you can’t trust. There is a whole pressure in this culture to be amazing and amaze yourself so you can believe that others are impressed with you so that you can sleep well at night. But most people aren’t sleeping well. They are depressed and feel more unimportant than ever- often my case, so I am not pointing fingers. However, when I realize that that voice is a lie, I soon discover that I can choose to turn it off- not unlike a radio station in my head.
I am also rediscovering the hope in the Word of God. There is truth and hope in a world that offers none…I start choosing to tune into THAT channel- but without the filter of looking for a checklist of things to get right. I am looking for my validation there, my reason for being. I found some in Hebrews 10 today. We have confidence to enter into His Presence. We have a new and living way- and it’s not one I have to make.
I am starting to learn what it means to embrace the wave. Life is lighter without that butterfly net and the need for importance and control. I am learning to enjoy my puffs. 😋
I love you all and hope you find some hope in these words.