Wrestle With This 4: You Are Not in Control

Note: These concepts come from Fr. Richard Rohr and his book, Adam’s Return: The Shape of Male Spirituality.

The illusion of control is a pathology. It probably affects modern, affluent people more deeply than most, but no one is immune to it.

But it is dangerous, and is not to be trifled with.

You know this already, at least theoretically, but you still see the lie, the illusion, slip into your every day behavior more often than you’d care to admit.

When someone reacts badly to an idea or a thought you have, and it unduly, irrationally upsets you, you may have falsely believed that you could control their perception of you, or their behavior.

When the traffic on the way to work is ten times worse than you’d computed, and you find yourself preoccupied with the “awful drivers” that are sharing the road with you (but maybe take the plank out of your own eye), you may have believed that you could control the traffic lights, or other drivers.

When someone you care about makes questionable life choices, and your reaction goes beyond reasonable care and concern and begins to take on a desperation to manipulate or change their behavior, you may be trying to employ the tool of control so that they “do the right thing” (i.e., “what you want them to do”).

But you are NOT in control.

… Not your boss.

… Not your children.

… Not your parents.

… Not your co-workers.

… Not the weather.

You know that these thoughts can trigger tidal waves of anxiety. Being at the mercy of a universe of forces beyond your control can be paralyzing.

But that’s not the point. There’s something on the other side of control.

The great invitation, the beautiful “trick” and artfulness of life is to surrender control, and in its place cultivate TRUST.

Trust that there is a Force—a loving, compassionate Mystery—in the universe that is greater than you, and FOR THAT VERY REASON, you will be alright.

You don’t have to fight against the forces of the universe; you do your best, and you admit your faults, and you feel your feelings, and you do your work to heal and grow, and entrust the rest to the care of Love.

Wrestle with your need to control, and discover the beauty of trust and the peaceful freedom of walking “in the flow” of life on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis.