We all want control. The reason we are frustrated, the reason we make mistakes, and the reason we throw blame at others is because we are daily faced with the reality that we cannot control everything.
If we could control everything, we would never have to face rejection or disappointment. We would never have to be confused. We would never feel pain. And so, whether consciously or subconsciously, control is the thing we are after.
Out of Control
We are stymied at every corner. We are not in control. Or, are we…
Our worldview is so binary that we make control a pass/fail endeavor. In this regard, we obviously fail.
When we think about control, we are thinking about all things external. We want to control the way others feel and behave, like some sort of love potion. We want to control our circumstances so that the world would be different.
Think of it this way – if you were granted three wishes from a genie what would you wish? Most of us would chose to change external things – we would want money or even happiness (the genies usually warn they can’t make people fall in love, otherwise we’d always pick that one).
We want to control what is outside of us. And we drive ourselves crazy trying to manipulate people and massage circumstances so that they fall a little more surely under our control. Yet people and circumstances are resistant (they, after all, are trying to control us!)
The popular reaction to this is a binary surrender of control. I am not in complete control so I will give up trying to control altogether. So, we submit fully to others, to circumstances, to addictions and emotions. We plunge fully into the out of control idea.
We make ourselves victims.
The issue here is that we are in control… of some things. We do have control. Just not in the all-encompassing God-like manner we wish we did. We shirk responsibility. We neglect stewardship. If we can’t control the outcomes, we let the character decay.
The truth is, there are exactly three things we can control. But the catch is they are all external. They are about who you are, not what the world is.
The three things you can control are: your attitude; your choices; and whom you trust.
So, you want control? Great! Take it. Do it properly. Stop complaining about what you can’t control and accept what you can. I’m sure you would be a delightful tyrant if given the chance. But you aren’t meant to control everyone else. You aren’t meant to control the outcomes and the circumstances (heck, most of the time we can’t even understand them). But you are meant to take responsibility for who you are, to not throw off your internal stewardship. Control is yours for the taking. Take it.