Recently, I had an experience where nothing was going according to my script. I could feel my blood pressure rising, my heart constricting, and the blood pushing through my veins. My head nearly exploded. You know the feeling?
Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and resisted the temptation to start the War to End All Wars with my tongue. The tongue is a magnificent tool. It can be used to lavish great encouragement. The tongue can devastate the spirit of our neighbors and our fellow believers.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. James 3:9-12 (NIV)
It’s common for me, as a recovering addict, to go bonsai bananas crazy when people don’t follow the script I failed to give them. It’s an urge I have to fight almost daily. This conundrum reminds me that I don’t control everything. Truthfully, aside from myself, I don’t control much of anything.
My wife and I love animals. I’ve grown up with all kinds of four-legged, furry friends. Dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, a Canadian Goose, and even horses. Sweet T and I currently provide home to five (yes, five) cats. One of them, a dilute torti, we’ve had since she weighed less than a pound and fit in the palm of my hand. The other four came along a couple of years ago when a neighborhood stray cat had kittens on our patio. At the time we had two cats and a dog.
If you ever need to be reminded of how little you control, get a cat. They’re great at letting you know that they follow a script all their own. They do things on their terms. Not yours.
There are things I control and things I don’t. Each day, I pray the Lord grants me the wisdom to know the difference.
Successfully navigating the treacherous waters of the day is grounded in my faith. God is God. I am not. Recognizing that things happen that I can’t explain, understand, or possibly grasp is a good start to getting comfortable with the knowledge that most days I can only control myself and maintain little control over anything else.
But then Scripture doesn’t say much about me being in charge. It declares that I am to submit myself to God Almighty and that I am to love Him with my everythingness. In addition to that, my job is to love everyone else. Everyone. Even the people I don’t like.
The only control the Bible really mentions that I need to practice is self-control. That doesn’t require much of a script. Just keep it simple stupid. Don’t over think it. Keep your eyes focused on God and it’ll be alright.