Confession: I’m a Control Freak


*This sign hangs on the barn at our favorite pumpkin patch.

When this post publishes on Thursday morning, I will be sitting in the hospital waiting room as my sweet, four-year-old daughter is having dental surgery.  I have kept myself so busy ever since finding out that she would need the surgery that I have hardly had any time to think about what she’s about to undergo. Now that I’m sitting here trying to plan for our very early morning drive to the hospital, the early bedtime we’ll need in order to be on the road by 5:30 AM, the comforting items my daughter will need to feel at peace, and the things we will need at home as she recovers, I’m realizing how little control I have over what will happen. And that unsettles me.

I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of a control freak.

I have always known that I liked to be in control of what happens to me, but nothing really made clear to me how much I like to have control until the day I found out I was having my first child. No matter how hard I tried to eat well, exercise, and do the right things, there was no guarantee that my baby would be healthy and well.  No matter how hard I tried to parent, discipline, and teach my kids as they grew up, I could not control what bad things might happen to them. I could not guarantee they would never suffer. If I could guarantee anything at all, it would be that they would face hardships at some point in their lives, find places where they struggled, and have moments where they felt pain, but that I would love them through all of it.

The reality is, none of us have control over what will happen to us. We can control certain things like the food we put into our bodies, the way we care for our friends and family, and things of that nature, but we cannot control everything. Most days, we can go through our lives feeling totally in control of the things we do. But there are times where we are forced to recognize how little control we truly have. I can do all the right things as I prepare my daughter for surgery, but once I bring her to the hospital, it is out of my hands. And that makes me anxious.

Those feelings of helplessness can either cause us to despair, or they can wake us up. One of the things that both attracted me to and frustrated me about reformed theology was its focus on the sovereignty of God. Sovereignty is a word that basically means God is in control of everything. In moments of helplessness, we can find comfort that God is in control and will take care of us. Usually that is a comforting thing for me, but sometimes the idea really frustrates me. After all, I want to be in control, and acknowledging that I’m not requires me to admit that I have to depend on someone else. It means that I acknowledge my need and my inability to take care of things on my own. It means admitting that I’m not in control of everything. And, for a control freak, that is a very hard thing to do.

But, tomorrow morning as I sit in that waiting room, and as the worries threaten to overwhelm me, I know I will find great comfort in my belief that even though I’m not in control, God still is. And, if you feel so inclined, I’d really appreciate your prayers.

Any fellow control freaks out there? Were there any particular moments in which you felt helpless or out of control? What, if anything, brought you comfort?


5 thoughts on “Confession: I’m a Control Freak

  1. Good food for thought. I pray your daughter’s surgery goes well. I often ponder the sovereignty of God and accept that he is “in control of everything”. It seems to me there is an important distinction that people often miss when addressing God’s sovereignty – “in control of everything” as you have stated as opposed to “controlling everything”. Would you agree?

    1. Thanks so much for jumping into this discussion, and thanks for your prayers. She’s recovering very well this afternoon. 🙂

      I definitely think that is an important distinction to make. I’ve heard someone say, “God isn’t controlling, but nothing is outside of God’s control.” I found that a helpful way to think about it.

  2. Having an unpredictable disease that has taken away my ability to work, I struggled a lot with God’s sovereignty in the beginning. Mostly in the line of “if God is in control, why has he allowed this to happen? It took some time, but now I find great comfort in the knowledge that God is in control and none of this is a surprise to Him. It sure helps on the bad days.

    1. Angela, thanks so much for sharing with me. I’m glad you have come to find comfort in God, but I’m sure it isn’t always easy to find comfort during the struggles. I believe God is in control, but God doesn’t make bad things happen to us. God walks with us in the midst of the pain. Hugs and blessings to you!

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