I’m your typical Type-A personality. I like things planned out ahead of time because I think it’s wise. That’s the good twist on it. The honest reality is that I like to plan ahead because it gives me a sense of control.
So this past year as several circumstances have been out of my hands, I’ve noticed more than ever how much I struggle with not having control. It’s so easily justified in my mind: “I’m not worrying, I’m just trying to think through how this will work out.” Except that "thinking through" focuses on me and my plans and neglects prayer. Ultimately, the problem is that I like to have more control over my life than God. My actions reveal an attitude of, “Yes Lord, but let me show you how to do it…”
While there are blessings in our unique personality traits, I also believe they correlate with deep struggles of sin. My drive to accomplish my goals can result in impatience and frustration when my goals are not met. I can respond in worry or fear when I feel overwhelmed that things won’t get done. I can withdraw or lash out towards others who interfere with my goals. I can blame circumstances or people for sinful responses in my heart. Yes, this Type-A personality thing can reveal a lot of sin in me.
The reality is we’re all control freaks. No matter how laid-back you are, each of us is prone to control our circumstances. We think we can manage our lives better than God. And when God’s goals for my holiness impede with my goals of accomplishing something, there is tension. At that moment, I have a choice. Am I going to respond in obedience and trust, seeking the Father and relinquishing my desires to His own? Will I choose to pursue His glory and Kingdom more than my goals and kingdom? Will I trust in my own ability to control my circumstances, or will I rest in God, who has ordained each circumstance for my good?
When I'm tempted to try to control my life or circumstances, I must recognize my need for God's grace. I must pray for a heart that desires to fear God and obey Him rather than fear what will happen if I don't get what I want. "Not my will but Yours be done" must be my prayer. That takes humility and sacrificing my dreams or goals at times. But God's plans are so much better than mine, if I would only trust Him.