I watched him climb the 2-foot retaining wall at the park, his legs pushing his stocky frame upward with determination. As he stood on the makeshift balance beam, arms stretched out wide, my mom instincts kicked into high gear.
I rushed to hold my five-year-old’s hand, helping him make it safely to the end of the wall.
I remember hearing my husband chuckle, watching me offer support that wasn’t even needed. “The wall’s only 2-feet high,” he said. “What’s the worst that could happen?” Because he knew this wasn’t the only time I ran to my son’s rescue.
I adored my God-given calling to be this boy’s mom. Loving him, caring for him, protecting him - it was my greatest joy. But in my zeal to keep him safe from harm, was I controlling too much?
My husband knew something I had yet to learn. If I didn’t let him try on his own, he wouldn’t know how to fall. I needed to let go.
The Hard Truth About Control
Parenting isn’t the only place I crave control.
Whether it’s controlling my circumstances, plans, or other people, it’s easy for me to excuse away controlling habits as part of my nature. I’m tempted to say, “That’s just who I am. A go-getter. An organizer. Someone who takes charge.”
But that wouldn’t be the truth behind my inability to let go.
Control is revealed in Scripture in Genesis chapter 3, when Eve and Adam faced consequences for eating the fruit God told them not to eat. God then spoke to Eve and said:
“And you will desire to control your husband…” (Gen. 3:16 NIV).
Could it be that the struggle with our need to control began when sin entered the world? One thing is certain. When I look behind the mask of control, I reveal hidden insecurities deep within myself. Things like fear, worry, and the desire to feel needed.
In reality, my desire to control is just an effort to prevent bad news from happening. I try and try until I'm out of options. If nothing works, then I turn to God as a last resort instead of my first choice.
Things won’t always be pretty and pleasant, but we can walk through with the assurance that God is with us, and He knows best. Bad things will happen, but the verse above gives us hope today. We do not have to let fear or worry drive us to try and control the situation. We can turn our hearts toward God and trust the outcome to Him.
A Prayer for Giving Control to God
I may have prevented a scraped knee or twisted ankle all those years ago, but now that my child’s a young adult, the walls of life are higher. The risks - greater. With every decision he makes, thoughts of the wall come flooding back. But instead of rushing to hold his hand this time, I see God sitting there a safe distance away, just watching. My job is to stand back and pray.
If you’re struggling to release control today, here is a life-changing prayer that will help us. Let’s pray this prayer every time we desire to take control.
Lord, as I face the day's challenges, You will be my first choice instead of my last resort. (Tweet this.)
Remembering to give our problems to Him first will remove the fear, worry, and insecurity from our hearts and replace them with trust, peace, and rest. May we keep steadfast hearts focused on our Heavenly Father today.
For more encouragement on this topic, visit faithspillingover.com to read Help When You Need to Surrender Control by my friend Betsy De Cruz. You will be blessed by the wisdom she shares.