Devotions

Do You Know Who’s in Control?

February 10, 2021
" … ‘Be still, and know that I am God; … ’" Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
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If asked if I’m picky, I’ll answer no. I like to be flexible and open-minded, and I hope most people find that I’m easy and pleasant to be around. But ask me if I’m particular, and that’s a different story.

I’m particular about how the dishwasher is loaded because for me, the bowls fit best on the lower right rack. I’m particular about the sleeves of the T-shirts facing the same direction when folded because they stack better that way. I’m particular about eating my food while it’s piping hot, and I get a little grouchy when I have to wait for my less temperature-concerned family members to arrive at the dinner table. I’m particular about practically every aspect of my work that might reflect back onto me: graphics, emails, packaging and branding. I’m particular about how the kids look when we go out, especially when we take family photos.

Being particular is normal. We all have our preferences. It’s when those personal particularities become cemented in our minds as the only way to do things that they cross over to the arena of control. Ouch, right?

Control is especially ugly when I prioritize my own preferences over my care for others. It’s what happens when I rearrange the dishwasher, huffing under my breath about my son’s inability to do it correctly. It’s the urge to take over when my daughter is not folding her clothes properly. And it’s the self-righteousness that surfaces when I take a bite before we all gather to pray because I just spent all this time making food and I want to eat it while it’s hot.

It's the overworked and overstressed result of not asking for help or trusting another person to do what I mistakenly think only I can do. It’s not caring if my child’s sweater is itchy or the pair of pants is uncomfortable because it is what I want you to wear, and you will wear it.

My preferences are typically harmless, but as they quietly accumulate, they can escalate. Soon enough, I find myself being particular about more than just the everyday things like punctuality and how the couch pillows are arranged. Instinctively, my eyes search and my hands grasp for greater opportunities to express my way. Control makes me feel powerful, and I like that feeling. It puts me and my great ideas in charge, and I think me and my ideas are pretty great! It allows me to be responsible for me, and that feels better than trusting.

But control can also cause me to hurt and disregard others and make poor choices.

Control assumes I know best, but what God whispers (or sometimes hollers) is a knowing of a different kind.

Be still and know, He says.
Know what?
Know that I am God.
Oh yeah.

So, I humble myself, open my Bible and find my rightful place once again.

Relinquishing control reminds us we're not truly in charge. Letting go of the need for our way allows space for God to have His way in us. Releasing control is just one of many small ways we make room for new growth. Life with God is the very best partnership, and it's one big, amazing lesson in collaborating, considering and giving up control. This is what leads to real rest.

Lord, I come to You aware of my foolishness in thinking I know best. I confess this tendency to control, and I open my hands in surrender to You. Your way is always better. Remind me that You are here for me and I am not on my own. Remind me to be still before You and know that You are God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

1 Chronicles 29:11, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES

If you are tired of searching for your purpose, identity and satisfaction in places that never quite seem to deliver, may you feel seen and find deep encouragement on the beautifully designed pages of Emily Lex’s new book, Freely and Lightly: God’s Gracious Invitation to a Life of Quiet Confidence. Read the first three chapters for free here today.

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REFLECT AND RESPOND

In what area(s) of your life do you recognize a constant desire to control? Take a moment to open up your hands on the parts you hold tightly to, and as you do, may you be filled with peace as you remember to be still and know that He is God.

© 2021 by Emily Lex. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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