Thank God for that!
Anybody else a bit of a control freak? Or a One on the Enneagram? Or an ISTJ? Or relate to Monica from Friends a little too well?
If it isn't you, by now you're thinking of that friend or family member or classmate who is one (or all) of those things. And as one of these people myself, I know something we all need to hear for our souls to find rest:
God has got it. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. We cannot expect ourselves to single-handedly hold our worlds together and make those around choose the best option every time. It can be easy to trust ourselves more than anyone else and desire to force people's hands the way we think would be best for everyone. This tendency, however, is lump of coal covered in wrapping paper. It looks just right and beautiful and good, but it stems from a sinful place.
Let me tell you something about being a newlywed: You very quickly learn all of your faults and inadequacies. While you certainly spend time learning the same things about your spouse, you own ugly realities can hit you hard in the face. Nope, this was not my favorite part about my first year being married, but it was a very real and ultimately beneficial part.
Being newlywed meant moving in together. It meant taking two full lives and combining them into a shared home. It meant assumptions, habits, manners (or lack thereof), and all the other quirks came with it. Let me tell you, not everyone is just like you or thinks the way you think. Not everyone holds the same standards of cleanliness. Your new spouse will not have already uncovered all of your values in the home and the traditions you want to uphold. Working through these things is a steep learning curve. It means conversation and compromise.
Here is where a big ugly head of mine came out: I wanted Caleb to do everything my way. Why? Because my way is the best way, of course! I have logic and solid reasoning and polite habits and good standards. But could it be possible that in many ways, Caleb also had all of these things? That maybe I like things a certain way because it is how I have always had them or done them and not because it's actually best?
This was a new kind of pride I hadn't ever identified before. I'm a strong-willed woman, and in many ways it serves me well as a beneficial and attractive quality. In other ways, it made me a bully. It made my husband feel like he didn't have a voice and like he was never good enough. And truly, those conclusions were more about my behavior than it was about his.
Let's praise God again that He gave me a strong but gentle man. He is kind and respectful but can match my strong-willed nature to challenge me with just enough strength and gentleness balanced. He, loving me all along the way, would simply start opening conversations and challenging my assumptions. Why did it matter to me that he waited to eat until we were both sitting at the table? What kinds of things could he help with to make me feel loved? Can we share stories and life-experiences to identify what assumptions we have and how they came to be? Through these conversations it became clear to me: Caleb came into marriage with just as many habits and family practices as I did, and it was our job to work together to decide what was going to happen in the home we now shared and will spend our lives building together.
Come to realize, I started with the same unhealthy approach to God in my conversations with Him a lot of the time. I would spend my time thinking and evaluating a situation before going to God and explaining to Him what I think He should do to ensure the best outcome. I really am so embarrassed to even admit that, but I believe there are many more who think this way too, and we all need to be freed from the burden of seeking perfection.
The more life I experience, the more I find myself in situations where I cannot find a suitable answer or decide on what would be the best solution. I think about situations I so desperately want to change and realize how powerless I am against them. I hear of decisions people important to me want to make and wish I could change their minds. It's disheartening and overwhelming to say the least. Then I remember.
God is God and I am not.
And what is my God? All-knowing. All-powerful. Willing to run after the people I think would never run after Him. Able to reveal Himself in new ways. A God who works miracles. A God who cares about the people in my life even more than I do. A God who has a plan for this daughter of His and her husband, His son. A God who transcends human understanding and reasoning and will work every which way to care for and provide for His followers. A God who actually loves unconditionally.
What is it in your life today (or in someone else's, for that matter) that you wish you could control? Spend a couple of minutes sharing that burden on your heart with the God who controls the situation.
And to close, a picture from the last couple of weeks that captures a characteristic of God He shared through His natural creation. God constantly speaks to me through elements of His creation, and I hope He reaches you in a similar way through the pictures I share.