Who’s in control?
And who is making the decisions? Whose opinion counts? Who will you listen to? How much control will you give up?
The other day at the hospital while visiting my dad, this issue of ‘control’ made itself known to me. In the middle of the whole complex tangled web of influential people was my Pop. Here was an eight-four year old man who had entered the hospital in fairly good physical condition with a pretty good mind as well. A week post-op from heart surgery and now needing some time to recuperate had reduced him to a weak example of his former self. Everyone was telling him what to do: “You can’t cross your legs, Paul.” “Do not get up from the chair without calling for help.” “You must stay in bed.” “When you go home you mustn’t do this … and you must do that …” Blah, blah, blah. I could see that my dad was tired of everyone telling him what he could and could not do. The nurse kept her piece of control over the meds she passed to him, the doctor had control over all orders, the physical therapist added their two cents, my mom kept reminding Pop of what she was told to remind him what to do and not do, and then his daughter chimed in every so often.
It really made me see how significant ‘control’ was in a relationship. In parent-child relationships there is always a control tug-of-war starting with the demands of typical two-year olds who try to rule by tantrum all the way up to a teenager learning to take responsibility and gradually taking control of more and more areas of their life. There are levels of control at work places as well. An employee can only do what they are assigned in their jobs and they know when a problem or decision must be handed up to the boss above them.
In our house, my daughter Amanda struggled to take some control over her life. As a handicapped and dependent person, there is little she can do totally by herself. Every little thing she CAN do counts a lot to her. I felt sorry for my dad as all these people around him were calling the shots and telling him what to do while he sat in his chair and with no control. He was too weak to fire back at all of us so reluctantly played the part of obedient patient.
Today we brought Pop home from the hospital. My brother came into town to help. As we drove away from the hospital and home, I was the driver and my brother rode shotgun. Mom and Pop sat in the back seat. I got to drive because I was familiar with the area (my brother is from Ohio) and Pop could not have the front seat because if an airbag went off it would hurt his chest. It made me think of all the years growing up where my Pop was the driver with my mom seated next to him and my brother and me in the back seat. How strange it felt to see control shift full circle.
I suppose the balance of control will always be a fluctuating force in anyone’s life. Control will be given or taken as needs are fulfilled or a new change in circumstances causes all things to shift and finally reach a point of homeostasis.
So, of course I was just thinking.
Do we play this control tug-of-war with God? Do we give up to God all areas of our lives, except those we still want to control? Have we handed it all over to Him like we should? Do we give Him control when we don’t want control but grab it back when we do? Like: My life is Yours Lord, but I cannot sing in the church choir because Thursdays are my night to go to the bar with my work friends so I couldn’t possibly make rehearsal – and don’t forget that I have to miss church once in a while so I can sleep in on Sundays – and I simply cannot witness to my work friends, but I will be glad to talk about you at my church bowling league.
Yeah, it made really think about who is in control. You too?