Sunday, May 18, 2008

Signs you're a control freak, # . . . eh, I don't want to know what number

My being a control freak might be more understandable if I was more competent at it . . . But God has apparently decided to address this particular flaw in my character in large part by handing me a life that is most obviously out of my control. Mind you, I'm not complaining. God has blessed me with more than I would have dared ask for--but it's obvious that it's not by my efforts nor within the realm of my being able to manage.

Most days, I content myself with shoving this great good on the back burner and instead incompetently attempting to assert my own sense of control by micro-managing the stupid details of my family's life. This too is doomed to failure because:

1. I'm fundamentally lazy and micromanaging is a lot of work

2. I'm a big picture thinker and micromanaging requires keeping track of a lot of details

3. There are 4 other control freaks in my family who want to manage their own affairs, not have me manage them for them.

Which brings me round (almost), to my point. Let me note in passing, that by training and inclination, I am a (moderate) Calvinist. Theologically, I'm not a control freak. This is very comforting to me. I can't even manage to get my dental appointment made--the fact that my status before Almighty God is not subject to my screw-ups is a really good thing. Upholding God's sovereignty over a bigger picture than I can even comprehend appeals to my sense of things. So . . .

What is it about us as parents that leads us to think that when we cannot control anything else in our world, we can control our children--independent agents, separate people, their own wills? I keep finding in myself this deep-seated insistence that my daughters' well-being, spirtitual and emotional, is dependent on my efforts. On my doing a good enough job as a parent. I may affirm every week that we're all sinful, but when my kid screws up, there's the devil, whispering in my ear that it's due to my failure. I am fighting, I think, a battle common to Christian parents . . . I may know in my gut that MY salvation is only by grace, the product of Christ's death and mercy . . . but by golly, my kids' salvation is going to be my job . . . by my own blood and sweat . . . surely, if I just do everything right enough I can ensure that my kids will be okay . . . and when I run into the horrible truth that yeah, my kids are sinful too, I find myself asking "What did I do wrong?"

Dear Lord . . . you ask me to trust you with my whole life. Some days, I can almost manage that. But I'm having a hard time with your asking me to trust you with the lives of my children as well. Help me to remember that they are not my posessions. Help me to know that you love them more deeply than I ever can . . .

1 comment:

Barb said...

" but when my kid screws up, there's the devil, whispering in my ear that it's due to my failure."

That so nails it for me. I went through a dark night of the soul when on of my darling teenaged girls went off the deep end. See....I had been the perfect mom and I was SURE that if I only were more perfect she would make right choices. It was a year period that Father showed me it was not mine to be perfect and that He was big enough to be there for her.

But now even as we raise the rest of them I have no markers to say that they are doing well or I am doing well and it still bothers me. I guess we are going to go around this tree again.

Thanks for this post. It is so healing to see your life in another's writings