“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer …let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Have you ever heard someone confess, “I’m a control freak?” My response is: “Welcome to the human family!” The truth is we’re all control freaks. Both Jesus and Paul taught that we should not be anxious. What they meant was don’t worry. They also taught us not to worry about the things we cannot control – like the height of our body.
Speaking as one control freak to another, the thing that really freaks us out is what we cannot control. In what Alcoholics Anonymous calls the “Big Book,” there is an illustration with which all of us control freaks can resonate. We think that life is a stage on which we are directing a play. The people in our life are characters in that play. As the play director we give them their scripts and their cues, but when they don’t respond to our direction, our frustration drives us into a bottle or some other addiction.
When I was a student I had a mentor who wrote a poem with these lines: “You can’t control the weather or rainy days, but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you. You can’t control the height your head will be from the sidewalk, but you can control the height of the contents of your head.”
After quite a few of those his punch line was, “Why worry about the things you cannot control? Accept the responsibility for the things that do depend on you.”
Follow the advice of Jesus and Paul and don’t worry about what you can’t control.
Dick Woodward, 20 February 2011