I’ve noticed that I like control in my life. I like to know where, when, and how I’m going. I like the have a sort of rough plan laid out. I like the assurance that things are going to go my way.
I don’t think I’m unique–I think most (if not all) people are like that. Control over our lives is something we all strive for. Safety, security, happiness: all these things involve control.
But the secret is we don’t have it. I don’t have it. As much as I like to pretend, I don’t control when my flights come and go, whether I’ll get a shower that night, or if anyone will be rude to me. I can’t control if I’ll get a taxi driver that understands English or an ATM that accepts my credit card.
A facade of control, I believe, is much easier to create when one is in his comfort zone. At least it is for me. But out here, trying to navigate ridiculous airline schedules and last-minute changes and foreign cultures, my pretense slips away quickly. So yesterday, as I waited on a bus tour in the middle of a traffic jam while the seconds ticked by and we became later and later for our next appointment, I realized: I could either pitch a minor hissy fit about not getting my way, or I could enjoy the sun on my face.
I couldn’t control the situation, but I could control my attitude, and sometimes that is all it takes to have a better day. Of course, I was told this when I was five years old, but I think the lesson is finally beginning to stick. I certainly have many opportunities to give everything over to God and admit that He is in control, not me!
So far, despite any travel difficulties (which have been relatively minor) we have landed on our feet, and it’s not because Jordan or I really know what we’re doing. It’s because God is taking care of us. Releasing my pretend control and trusting God to sort of the details is completely, utterly freeing, if at first a little frightening. But while on the bus, because I relinquished all my frustration and attempts at control to God, I was able to enjoy my afternoon in the traffic jam, resting in the Arabian sun.
I’m certainly not pretending to be an expert in any of this, or that I have something new and wise to say about trusting God, but I thought I would share what I’ve been learning and practicing so far. It is funny, in a way, that so far all of our trials have been opportunities to give expectations over to God, because that was how this trip started in the first place: an unmet expectation of graduate school in fall 2014. When the plans first fell through I was quite angry and spent a few tears. But after a couple of weeks and some long conversations, God and I worked everything out. And then, once I had taken my deep breath and agreed to get out of my beloved lifeboat called “Control,” this amazing trip began to work out. And now we’re here, and I’m continuing to learn to find peace in my lack of control. Because I trust the One who has all the control in the world.