Thursday, March 23, 2006

change of plans

In the past week I have had a lot of my plans changed. I did not change them – dates got mixed up, people called with emergencies, someone forgot an appointment, scheduled meetings developed conflicts and had to be rescheduled, the talk I prepared ended up being delivered by someone else, people were unavailable – all these things did not happen the way I planned them. Some things were beyond my control – other things were presented to me and I decided to go with the flow, change direction slightly, and alter my plans to accommodate someone else. I did not find any of it particularly traumatic or bothersome, and that is a good thing. I am learning to let go of the need to control my world. At another point in my life I would have freaked out about things not going the way I thought they should.

Whether you admit it or not - and some people say they don’t have a controlling bone in their body but I would beg to differ – we ALL have this urge to make things happen our way; some of us just mask it better than others. I simply get angry – it is easy to tell when I feel powerless and out of control. Others will argue about the smallest things – like ten cents too much on a bill or their helping of fries not being big enough. Some pout and make life miserable for everyone – if they are not happy, no one else should be. I know some people who must always feel superior in a room, and will use cutting remarks to make others uncomfortable. Some people have an agenda and try to get everyone to participate in their personal mission, not taking into account that others might have a valid mission as well. Some use their emotions to elicit sympathy and manipulate people in that way. Others are simply domineering and won’t take “no” for an answer. Flattery is an unexpected, but often effective, method of getting what you want. You name it…humankind has tried countless ways to bend an unwilling world to its desires.

And I hate to be the one to break the news…but it is all in vain. We are not and never will be in control of our lives. We have free will, yes, and the choices we make affect the outcome of our lives, but we will never totally control what happens to us. How arrogant of us to assume that we can control something we did not create. Let me suggest a better way…surrender. It’s not a sexy concept by any means, yet it is the most effective means for laying to rest all of that maddening, insatiable gnawing inside my gut to make this moment turn out like I hoped. I guarantee that you will never be a happy person if you do not learn the secret of surrender. You will be frustrated at every point, impatient with those around you, perhaps a constant complainer or a workaholic, and usually unpleasant to be around.

Surrender does not mean giving up – it means death. I forfeit my right to do things as I please and instead I trade my pitiful attempt at living this life for that of someone who already did it right. Death is a powerful liberator. It is never about me. It is never about you. It is always about LOVE. His name is Jesus and he really is the one in charge. He is just waiting for me to recognize that fact.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Liking your post. I'm constantly being reminded of my controlling element and am learning to die some more.

I particularly loved the way you talked about the liberating power of death and also your uncompromising definition of surrender.

I love the fact that Jesus did the dying thing literally so that he could live and barbecue on the beach! When we get serious about dying to self God gets serious about what life really is - not the set schedules and appointments our controlling selfs make it out to be!