Everyone knows who we are. We are the teeth-grinding bearers of teeny-tiny suggestions, standing over you intrusively while you work. We are the red-light-warning, back seat driving, paragraph rewriting, pursed lip neck breathers that you mutter obscenities under your breathe about during group paper writing or house cleaning day. We bark orders. We hear the word “bossy” more times in a week than you hear yourself breathe. And Lord knows we mutter more obscenities under our breath about you than you could ever about us because the truth is, you’re just not.doing.it.right. I swear I can do it better.
We are control freaks.
I don’t know how to loosen my grip. I don’t know how to not be in control. These dreams, more dear to me than most anything else, they slip further and further from my outstretched hands and I hear it now, this clear call to trust. I don’t want to live with my fists this tightly clenched together in the most earnest of efforts to hold my world neatly arranged around me. The chaos is maddening. My face swells from angry tears and my fingers threaten to mercilessly yank out each hair on my spinning head in sheer impatience. I fear uncertainty and I crave to know and yet to wait smack dab in the middle of this unknown is precisely what my Father would have me do right now. Can I trust in His perfect timing? I dare you, He says. My flesh screams at me. The silence of waiting remains deafening and, God, could not one blasted thing come easily?
He reaches gently, firmly, weaving His nail pierced hands within my own fumbling ones and He holds on for dear life because only He knows how my head hurts in this uncertainty.
And it dawns on me that He has created these white knuckled hands to yearn for control. I have to believe that perhaps this fire in my belly is my thorn in the flesh and just maybe He has purposed that I learn in this life to let go, to trust in the hope that is bigger than I, and to trust in His leading hand in the lives of those around me. He made me to be imperfect so that I may be made complete in this letting go and my heart is all at once, just a smidgen grateful for this overwhelming race set before me.
How soon the days come that I forget my own adamant words: remember! See. Look and behold how He has found you, again and again, in the worst of places. Remember! Call to mind how He has answered. Boldly. Brilliantly. It was but weeks ago that we reveled in the joy of prayers so exquisitely answered and yet here I am, reduced to a sobbing mess because I don’t know how to make it all happen perfectly. He once again pries open my stubborn hands that clutch control and tells me to stop fighting.
It’s a crippling thing, in all actuality, to be one of “them”. To be a control freak. It’s knowing you cannot do it all yourself but being so horribly unable to accept that truth and so you try anyway. It’s seeing their faces and hearing their snickers while you “boss” them around and flail ungracefully for order in a sea of people trying to do what they want. It’s an endless quest for security and completion, for knowing and being safe; it’s this condemning look from across the room because they know you don’t believe in them. Because of course, you can do it better. My flesh cries out for control because my flesh believes that in control, I will find rest.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt. 11:28-30).
I ache to find rest and I fool myself too often into believing that rest is found on my own accord, with my own two hands.
“Take your own advice,” he said. “Look at before! It was so hard.” I wrote of this time so recently. How Jesus, in His great mercy, found us and put conviction in my heart enough for the both of us and even though I’ve already forgotten all that I believed, even though my hands will not still and they ache to seize control, I will try to trust. Because I believe that He can do it better. I believe that His rest is better.
I don’t know that I will ever stop fighting this insane need to be in control. I don’t know if they will ever stop calling me bossy or if I will ever go one week without feeling the weight of those awful stares as they judge this lunatic of a control freak for her incessant yammering. I probably won’t ever stop rewriting your paragraphs and telling you what to do while we drive down the highway but I will also never stop trying to let it all go. For as surely as I know my own name, I know that true rest for my soul is found in my Jesus, my King.
And guess what? He loves this micromanaging fool.
Jesse, bless his patient heart, chooses not to break up with me over my efforts to hold this world – including, and especially, him – in order, but to laugh. Lovingly.
And all of a sudden, I can see my Jesus, up there, smirking away as my blood pressure rises to death-defying levels. Because a control freak, whether discreetly delivering unwelcome suggestions into your irritated ears or biting her tongue and holding her arms at her sides in a vise grip, choosing silence of all things, is one hell of a sight for sore eyes.
I can see Him now, chuckling away.