Recently, I was at an early morning gathering of brothers who are trying to live out what we say we believe. The topic of conversation was “control” and how we (as men especially) struggle with control in our lives. I discovered that when I think I’m out of control, God seems to be in control in a very real way. I mean, when you get the call at 3:00am about a loved one being in a wreck; when you hear the words, “It’s cancer.”; when your own father doesn’t remember your name…those are times when you are completely out of control. However, God is who many of us turn to during those moments in life, as we should. We should also be turning to God in the times when we accept as fact the illusion of our control in our daily lives.
When we acknowledge that we are out of control; we are also acknowledging that God is in control.
As we discussed this revealing and challenging topic, there were several unexpected truths that came to my mind about being in or out of control. I would like to share these with you:
- Control is an illusion. How many well-intentioned leaders push their own agenda over God’s plan due to the illusion of their own control? We too often spend our energy building our earthly kingdoms at the expense of not doing our part to build THE Kingdom of God. The Enemy is real. His strategy has surprisingly stayed much the same since the beginning. If he can get us on the throne of our own life, he has successfully removed the rightful place of God on that throne. Control is a deceptive illusion and powerful tool in the enemy’s hand. If you don’t believe that is true, just think about it when you hear people say to you, “that just doesn’t make logical sense”, or “I know you are trying to follow God, but…” It is funny how many ‘good christian” people are willing to follow God, until doing so requires they get out of the driver’s seat and give God total control.
- If you are in control, then God isn’t. Think back to a time in your life where you felt like you were in control of your own life. You had a plan, you were leading with perfection and precision. Followers loved you. The organization (church) was growing…in your mind, all due to your plan, your leadership, your skill and your being in control. That is what a leader is supposed to do, right? Lead. That is where it gets complex. Yes, if you are the leader you are expected to lead. However, every leader has a Leader: God. Good leadership is very aware of the fact of who is really in control.
“Good Leadership is a channel of water controlled by God; He directs it to whatever ends He chooses.” –Proverbs 21:1 (The Message)
- Trust is key to being out of control. In any relationship, trust is the key. If you show me how much you trust someone, I’ll show you the level of control you will assume with them. As a leader, if you trust another you’ll give them the freedom to fail in an assigned task. You trust that even if they make a mistake, their intent is good and honorable and that they will consult with you or others before making blind choices. Without that level of trust you will attempt to control every aspect of the task you’ve attempted to delegate to them. It is called in today’s business world: “micromanage”. It doesn’t work in business, nor in the Church. That is why God (who has total control of all) doesn’t do it. He trusted a ragtag band of brothers with spreading the life-changing gospel to the world, without manipulative control. Trust is the key to being out of control and it is also the key to relationships, which are, in turn, the key to results.