Control Freaks Anonomous

My Fellow Control Freaks–

I’m exhausted from controlling everything. I’ve been at it for so many years and I’m just tired. I watch the normal, non-control freak folks going about their business, knowing when they need to step in and staying out of it when they know there’s nothing they can do. But I’m plagued with one thought: how could I live with myself if something terrible happened and I had done nothing to at least try to prevent it?

When I worked for the government, I had a  handler. That’s the one person on my team that dared to tell me when my “energy level” was rising above the government tolerated threshold. You see, when working for the government one must have an exceedingly high tolerance for nitwittery–which I do not. Whenever I was in a meeting and the nitwittery level began to rise, I would naturally try to interject some semblance of rational thought into whatever ridiculous discussion was taking place. However, it being the government, it was frequently impossible to introduce common sense back into the proceedings. Thinking I was not trying hard enough, I would redouble my efforts to bring the discussions back into the realm of possibility. When something stupid was getting ready to happen, I just couldn’t let it go. It was my handler’s task to calm me down and keep me from making a CLM, a “Career Limiting Move”. We had a code word and, when she said it, I was suppose to realize I was on the path to a CLM.

Take, for example, a meeting in which the topic of discussion was the fact that the IT hotline could not keep up with the volume of calls. The idea on the table, and championed by the senior executive responsible for the call center, was to add an additional phone to the desk of each of the current call center employees. “Why not, after all they have two ears,” was not the response he was looking for.

As you can see, my handler had a tough job. One day she shared with me her theory that God was demonstrating to me that I don’t control everything. Even though I knew she was right, I couldn’t seem to reign myself in. Decades of control freakishness is not that easily overcome.

Ultimately, I left my job with the government, but God just upped the stakes. My son became a prodigal. Worse yet, he is the parent of my first grandchild. I was absolutely frantic to control the situation and drive my son back into line, for the sake of my grandson. The sleep I lost, the prayers I prayed, the arguments and the lies just continued to pile up as my prodigal’s behavior become more and more offensive. My fervent prayer was that God would not give up on my prodigal, that He would lead him back into obedience, and that He would keep my grandson safe.

Then one day at a preschool parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me God had spoken to her through my little grandson. As I listened to her story, I realized that God did have his hand on my grandson. That God was in control. I thought that maybe I was helpless to change the situation and, even more, maybe it was never my responsibility in the first place.

Sometimes, when I’m really exhausted from trying to control things, I long for the peace that surpasses all understanding. A few days ago, I felt it. It was just for a minute, but during that time I knew I couldn’t control this situation and I knew that God could. It’s a small thing, but it was the first time in my life I ever felt even remotely okay with not being in control. It seems all things are possible after all.

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