Skip to main content

Control and Serving

I have a friend who is going through crisis. Last night as I went to bed, I cried because I'm scared for her. I also cried for myself because her crisis echoes what's been happening in my family the last five weeks (it seems so much longer). I can't handle both. It's too much. What if, in the midst of all this, I got seriously ill? What then? I lay with my tears and fears and asked God, "What am I afraid of?"

I'm afraid of my world falling apart. Does that mean I see myself holding everything together? Perhaps. I tried to go to earlier places where I felt or was afraid of things falling apart but I couldn’t get there in my emotions, just with my logic. I thought of my parents' break-up when I was eight. I can’t remember any emotion around the night we left or afterwards.

Have I been trying to hold things together since I was a child? Is that why I took on so many responsibilities as a young girl at home, trying to keep my world from spinning out of control?

I don’t think I try to control my boys, but it hit me that I do try to control Tom and my marriage (something others have tried to tell me and I've disbelieved). Why? Why the one and not the other? Regardless, I have sinned with my control. I am not the protector of the family, God is.

The accident that nearly took my sister's life and cooked half her face when she was two and I was four; is that when my world started to move out of control? Yet I remember my pre-school years as the most idyllic. Susan was my best friend and companion then. That changed when I started school and when we left my dad two-and-a-half years later, the friendship died as I took on the role of parent.

This morning in my prayer room I asked God, "What’s the truth you want me to know about my fear that everything will fall apart if I let go?"

He told me that if I let go, I will free Tom up to be the person God made him to be.

How do I let go?


By serving.

Say WHAT?

I have not served my husband. Instead, I have withdrawn into my own world and shut him out. I've been aware of this withdrawal and the many barriers I have built to keep us apart (the fact that I was the builder of those barriers was a recent insight) and have been asking God to help me tear them down. Is serving the answer?

To find what others have to say about this, I googled Jesus, Control, Serving and found my way to "Refusing control: Jesus’ three temptations." Near the end of his lenten sermon (which I highly recommend reading), Monte Asbury writes, Jesus "would choose serving over impressing, and he would choose loving individuals over public spectacles."

I think I've seen service--at least to my husband--as a weakness, a way of becoming subjugated and dominated, the road to becoming a nothing. (I haven't been so good in the loving-him department either.) Interesting, that, because the sermon on Sunday was about Christ serving us. We know Jesus washed the feet of his disciples--a great act of humility and service--but in a parable, Jesus implies that he will be serving us in heaven:
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. (Luke 12: 37, NIV)
That's amazing! It's one thing for Jesus to serve out of his humanity on earth, but in heaven where he is fully God? Serve and wait on us? That service will come out of his power, dominion and majesty. If God in heaven can serve his people, surely I can find strength and courage to serve my own husband!

Lord, I have sinned by trying to control my world instead of trusting you to make all things good and safe. Have my efforts to control things been the cause of my years of fatigue? Have I been expending my energy trying to do your job? Is loving service the answer to control? That's what I seem to be hearing. Am I willing to give up the control I've tried to maintain all these years, perhaps from childhood? I want to be. I want to throw myself into the safety of your arms and rest there. I can't keep on doing what I have been. I need to change. Please help me! Help me begin a life of service and as I do, please dismantle the barriers I've built and take control. I can't do this my way any longer. So be it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.















My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

About the Author

DEBBIE HAUGHLAND CHAN
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

What Is Separating me from the Promise?

This is the question Andy Wood asked us each to consider this morning at the end of his sermon and it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Imagine the Jordan River on the eve of the Israelites crossing it into the Promised Land.  The river was at flood stage, so it was moving quickly (even the Red River here in Winnipeg moves quickly during flood season) but this particular stretch of the river near Jericho is narrower than the rest so that as the rushing flood waters reached the point where the people were waiting--all two million of them--it became even more turbulent.  Anyone who's witnessed a flood knows that it doesn't just carry water; there is debris like fallen trees, parts of sheds and houses and perhaps even animals unable to escape the river's grab.

Back in the days of Abraham, God had promised the land of Canaan to him and his descendants but during the days of Abraham's great-grandson, Joseph, the whole family had moved out of the Promised Land to Egypt because of f…