The stench hit in waves when we walked through the front door. I can’t quite describe it, but trust me. It was bad. The waves grew stronger as we moved closer to the kitchen.
What on earth could cause such a rancid smell?
We searched the house. We deep cleaned. We asked for advice, even though it was totally embarrassing asking about possible sources for a nasty smell in our house, and how to get rid of it.
Through our top-notch detective work, we finally concluded the smell must be coming from a poor critter who somehow got inside our walls. We live near a lake, so it isn’t unusual to see frequent visitors such as mice, squirrels, snakes, and more. Unfortunately, one such visitor must’ve found a way in and gotten trapped.
There are a few problems that arise when this happens. Number one: finding the critter. Number two: figuring out how to get it out. Number three: finding where it got in, so it doesn’t happen again.
With the help of professionals, we checked one and two off our list. Number three proved to be a huge problem that persisted for months and months. No matter how hard we tried, we could not find where they were getting in, which resulted in more stinks, more money, and more frustration.
It became a joke among family and friends. We’d never heard of anyone having such problems with dead critters! Let’s just say family get-togethers for sure weren’t happening at our house. But even though I tried to keep a light-hearted attitude about it, my patience wore thin. I was determined to solve this problem, but it was beyond my grasp.
I felt like I was fighting nature, and nature was winning. Finally I threw my hands in the air and thought, “Forget it. I can’t figure it out. I’ll just live with a stinky house forever!”
I decided to let go of control because I’d become exhausted by my efforts.
Which is exactly what I needed to do all along - let go of control.
Why do we like to be in control?
There are many reasons why we get caught in the control trap. We may feel a deep sense of satisfaction from being needed or valued. Control can also provide temporary relief when we face uncertainty. We feel like if we keep control of our situation, we won’t have to ask ourselves all those what-if questions. What if it doesn’t turn out the way I expected? What if something bad happens?
I know I’m supposed to give my problems to God and trust Him with the answers. I love the message in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (NIV) Yet when it comes to my daily life, I still struggle to turn it over to Him. I feel like my way will work best, and I forget the most important truth.
Whatever the reason we like to be in control, we have hope today. Hope for when that cycle of control results in ugly things like frustration, overwhelm, and burnout.
A verse to remember when I'm caught in the control trap.
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT
Reading the verse above makes me think of miracle stories in the Bible when God showed Himself powerful and sovereign in the lives of His people. Times like when He parted the Red Sea, when the walls of Jericho came down, and when Sarah became pregnant in her old age.
But God’s greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty apply to my everyday life too. Not just the big things, but the not-so-exciting moments as well. (Even stinky critter moments.) Remembering that God is over ALL things in our lives helps us cast our cares on Him, knowing He is the one in control.
I stopped worrying about rodents in the walls. Instead, I chose to focus on God’s goodness. I praised Him for our home, which I’d forgotten to do in the midst of the chaos. And you know what? The problem ended. No more stink.
We don’t know how it happened, but we don’t need to know. This is God’s kingdom, and everything in it belongs to Him. When we remind ourselves of His sovereignty in our lives, we begin our journey of letting Him have control.