Friday, June 5, 2009

Being in Control

I like being in control, don't you? Or maybe it's truer to say: I like the illusion of being in control.

I know better; I really do. But, there is something inside me (where I don't know) that likes to live with the illusion that all things are under my control. So, if things get out of control, I get irritable or resentful (see I Corinthians 13) and think that if I get irritable enough that gives me some measure of control.

I have seen this with married couples. Two strong-willed people shouting at each other. All the time they are thinking at some level (maybe unconsciously) that if they shout loud enough things will change in their favor. Men often won't talk things out very well. For some of them, not-talking is a way to feel in control. If they start talking and admit to too much or say too much, feelings might get out of hand and they will lost control.

I love the illusion of control. I know better; I really do. But, there is something in side me that makes me think that if I get angry or irritable... Do you understand.

Maybe I feel the need to be in control because everything seems so out of my control. Anyone with children learns this. Anyone who ever taught school knows this. All of us at some level know that things are not under our control, no matter who we are.

Now, I do try to express some control with leadership as a pastor. Leading means influencing things to go a certain way by influencing people. But, a good leader knows that he or she puts things in motion and then so many things come along and put it out of control.

The really hurtful side of this control business is that we, who feel the need to be in control, often try to carry the whole world on our shoulders. After all, we're told: "If it's to be; it's up to me." And, a lot of things are up to me. But, I hear one of my old teachers in my ear saying: "The sole responsibility for overcoming evil in the world is God's, not mine." If you knew my teacher, you would know that he did everything he could to lead and influence and denounce evil.

But, people of faith know that it's not all up to us. It's up to us to do all that we can within our calling, but ultimately. God must intervene.

So, we pray and live trusting this God. Even when things happen over which we have no control, we know that God is able to bring good out of evil. And, ultimately, God will overcome evil. Love will conquer. The Kingdom of God will come.

God help us to give up our illusion of control.
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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