Who Is Really in Control?
(Part 5 of 7 in the Learning How to Trust Series)
Today begins Part 5 in the series, Learning How to Trust. Our topic for the day is a biggie — all in one word: CONTROL!
Much of our lives is spent trying to gain or maintain control over a situation, a person, or an outcome. When this fails, we get the sense that we’re out of control. Feelings of anxiety, worry, and helplessness surface, which all boil down to FEAR at the most basic level.
At what point in our lives do we become aware that we’re not in control? Oh wait…you do know that, right? That we are not in control. Seriously, it’s true. When I stopped to ask myself what I have control over, the answer, as I scratched my head, was, hmm, not a heck of a lot.
Let’s cut right to the big one — I have no control over my mortality. Not when I die, not how I die. Now that that’s out of the way….
Okay. How about this one? In general, do I have control over my kids? I may occasionally live under the illusion that I have control over them, but the truth is, I don’t. I have control over the food I put in front of them, but not necessarily what or how much they eat. I have control over what time I put them to bed, but not necessarily how much sleep they get. Or how well they sleep.
Again, what do I have control over? It may not seem like a lot, but this is HUGE. I have control over choices about how I live. And I choose to live believing in a higher power. One who knows and sees far more than I am capable of. One who knows that if I die today, tomorrow, or decades from now, I will have touched the precise lives I was supposed to touch within that precise period of time.
Part of having control over how I choose to live goes back to a previous lesson we learned: how we react to a situation. Do we choose to invent What Ifs that poise us to internalize fear and worry or do we choose to see What Is? One is a prison, a self made mind-prison, the other is the key that unlocks the cell.
When it comes to controlling outcomes and other people, I don’t have much control at all. That’s simply the truth.
Once I understood how fruitless my efforts to control ANYTHING were, the act of surrendering and letting go became much easier.
Going back to an early TLT post, and to this day, the story that illustrates more depth on how trust works than any other story I have run across, I’d like to re-share a famous Sufi story with you:
A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat when suddenly a great storm arose.
Although the husband was a strong warrior and had always protected her, the wife became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless. The boat was small, but the storm was huge, and at any moment they were going to be drowned. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing were happening.
The woman was trembling as she said, “Are you not afraid? This may be our last moment of life! It doesn’t seem that we will be able to reach the shore. Only some miracle can save us; otherwise, death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad? Are you a stone or something?”
The man laughed and took his sword out of its sheath. The woman was even more puzzled.
What was he doing? Then he brought the sword close to the woman’s neck — so close that just a small gap was there. It was almost touching her neck. He said, “Are you afraid?”
She started to laugh and said, “Why should I be afraid? If the sword is in your hands, why should I be afraid? I know you love me.”
He put the sword away and said, “This is my answer. I know the power I call God. He loves me, and the sword is in His hands, as the storm is in His hands — so whatever is going to happen is going to be good. If we survive, good; if we don’t survive, good — no matter what happens, Thy Will Be Done.”
“…whatever is going to happen is going to be good. If we survive, good; if we don’t survive good…. “
Excuse me? If we don’t survive, GOOD?
Yes. That’s correct. Good. It is not for us to understand. There are more factors at play here than we can humanly comprehend in this line of thinking/believing, so I don’t even try. Instead, I trust.
This is the trust one must imbibe. Such tremendous trust is capable of transforming your whole life. And ONLY such tremendous trust is capable of transforming your life—less than that won’t do.
It’s not to late to share with a friend, as we still have a few more posts to go in this Learning How to Trust series. Next we’ll be discussing letting go of control…and all that that means. Stay tuned TLT Readers! And thank you for your support in passing along the message of trust.
In love and trust,