About 3 years ago I wrote a post on here about my being a control freak. This is something that I’ve struggled with my whole life, and will likely always deal with. I have let go of a number of things over the past few years, so I thought I was doing better with my control issues, until a friend pointed out some big things in my life that I’m trying to control, but in reality have no control over.
Since she pointed that out to me I’ve been trying to identify areas that I’ve been trying to control: friends, family, my work, co-workers and even God are just some of the areas I’ve been futilely trying to control. This morning as I was thinking on this topic, I was reminded of a story in Genesis 12 where Abram lied to Pharaoh about Sarai being his wife. As I read through that story, I noticed that Abram did exactly what I do: he planned, he controlled, and he manipulated.
“When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.”
Abram had thought about this trip, he had thought of every possibility. He knew that the most likely scenario ended badly for him, so instead of trusting the Lord, he took matters into his own hands by controlling the situation through manipulation. The Egyptians thought she was beautiful, took her to Pharaoh, and Abram wasn’t killed. The lie that Sarai told seemed to be working. I’m sure Abram felt really good knowing that everything was working according to his plan; then God showed up.
“But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.”
In my experience, the Lord ends up intervening when I think that I’m in control. He has a way of disrupting my plans, no matter how well thought-out they may be. He did the same to Abram. God got Abram and Sarai out of that situation. I like to think that he did that to show them that they could fully trust in God instead of trying to control the situation. I can’t help but wonder how this situation would have turned out if they had trusted God from the beginning.
The saddest thing about this story is that Abram didn’t learn his lesson the first time. He made the same mistake in Genesis 20. Even then, God was gracious toward Abram. Although it’s disappointing, I find this very comforting. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who likes to be in control, and tries to usurp control from God. But more than that, this shows that He is gracious to me even in my sin, and is patient with me even in my disobedience.
I believe that we are all control freaks in some way; some are just a little more obvious than others. Although trusting God by not controlling a situation is hard and scary beyond belief, I’m beginning to learn that it’s worth it. God is completely trustworthy, and has our best intentions in mind at all times. So, whatever you’re holding onto, trying to maintain control of: Let it go, then watch God perform on your behalf.