Being in Control

The Power and Peace of "I Don't Know"

By Jonathan Fashbaugh

We tend to think of people who struggle with being in control as being crazy and unstable. In the movies, the actor grabs the out-of-control person by the shoulder, shakes them back and forth, and says something like, "Get a grip!" or "Get a hold of yourself, Man!" In contrast, we as a society have high praise for the individual who has everything under control and has all the answers. The trouble is, this mythical individual does not exist. We will never have all the answers, and we need to be comfortable in saying, "I don't know," when life throws big questions at us.

Being in Control: Swimming Upstream

Most of us go through life seemingly swimming upstream like a salmon going to spawn. We have a goal, or maybe our goal is to someday have a goal, and we struggle, struggle, struggle to attain that goal. Threats come like grizzly bears, trying to swat us out of the water or to crush us with a well-timed chomp, and we believe that if we just swim harder or if we stay in the shadows, we might be able to evade these threats.

When we consult scripture, at a glance, it might seem that we should continue to strive to be wise and to have all the answers...
The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools.Proverbs 3:35
After all, Solomon, when faced with an offer from God to receive anything that he desired, he asked for wisdom to better govern the nation, and God rewarded his request with not only wisdom, but also wealth and long life. God seems to want us to be wise, right?

Well, sort of, but not really.

Being in Control: The Peace of "I Don't Know"

When we're struggling to have all the answers, we're really struggling to be in control. We want to control our circumstances. We want to control our destiny. We even try to control the people in our lives, but this is all a worthless endeavor.
Woe to those wise in their own eyes, and bright in their own sight! Isaiah 5:21
God blessed Solomon because, when given the chance to attain what the world would consider success, what Solomon really asked for was God's help to be a better man. He didn't consider himself able to be the best king the world had ever seen even with supernatural wealth or long life. He knew that, above all else, he needed God.

Whether we recognize it or not, we are shaking and raving like the out-of-control people in the moves who eventually get slapped in the face and told to "get a grip." The thing is, we don't need to get a hold of ourselves. We need to let go of ourselves. We need to stop trying to control our lives; stop trying to pretend as though we have the answers, and get a grip of God.
Therefore I say to you, Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are? (27) Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? (28) And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin, (29) but I say to you that even Solomon in his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:25-29
These are the very words of Jesus: Do not be anxious! We are supposed to truly put our faith in God. This means that, regardless of our circumstances, we trust God to be God, and don't worry about controlling or even understanding the rest. This is what "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10) really means.

Being in Control: No Need To Argue

When we rest in the peace of the sovereignty of God, everything else starts to look very trivial. God is in control and God is love. When life gives us lemons, we let God have them, and if he makes lemonade, awesome! If not, God is still God and he will use these lemons for good (Romans 5:8).

If someone offers bait for an argument, or presents a challenge that has them tied up in knots of worrry, we don't have to wade into it with them.
If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether he rages or laughs, there is no rest. Proverbs 29:9
Again, God is in control, and God is love. All we need to say is, "I don't know." If we pretend to know the answer, people will respond accordingly. Very rarely are people comforted by our answers. They see that all we have to offer is our opinion, which is probably backed by "I read online somewhere that..." That doesn't breed peace between people.

Instead, when we respond honestly and in love with, "I don't know," and we truly have faith in God, people are taken aback, and doors open to witness to our brothers and sisters who are still swimming upstream, trying to get a grip.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (3) His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:2-3

Image Credit: secretlondon123; "ctrl"; Creative Commons

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Published on 4-25-12