The thought behind this post was actually started by another blogger–imagine that?
Well, most of you know I am dealing with my dad and his wife’s health and aging issues, and trying to do what’s best for them, and help them as much as I can. His wife’s health is deteriorating rapidly, and that is what makes it the most difficult. She is his wife. Not my mother, or even my ‘stepmother.’ We have never had a close relationship. Anyways, any which way, it is a stressful situation. When it first started, my mind was just swirling with all the things that needed to be done, getting them to accept the help they need, worrying about their safety, trying to stay on top of everything…
And one day as I drove to the Bay Area (2 1/2-3 hour drive,) I was thinking about Roni, and how stressed out she was about buying a new house. And my mind flashed back to when I bought my house, and how stressful ‘they’ make it. Deadlines, escrow, etc. And I remember one day so clearly deciding, ‘they’ are not in charge of my life.’ God is in charge of my life. If God wants me to have this house, there is NOTHING ‘they’ can do to prevent it. And if God does not want me to have it, so be it. If he wants me to live in a rental for the rest of this life, what does that matter in light of eternity?
And of course, finally it came to me, why would I not apply that same principle to this situation? Why would I not think that God is in control of this situation? Why would I not trust that He would care for these two people who have served him their whole lives? And suddenly, I was able to let go of trying to hold everything together, trying to keep on top of everything, trying to push through the ‘best’ way to get things done. The unproductive ‘swirling’ of my mind was gone. The stress was gone!
But I am a human being. A finite person. And sometimes I try to take back the control, which of course doesn’t work. But causes me a great deal of stress. John Ortberg is one of my favorite authors (and he is a great speaker too.) He wrote a book called Faith and Doubt, and the byline says ‘What if the most important word is the one in the middle?’ And in the last chapter of this book he addresses this issue of control. He relates it to a trapeze artist, saying,“There are three moves in the “leap of faith”: letting go of the trapeze–whatever your trapeze is, waiting, and then being caught. Letting go, waiting, being caught.” So, we are prone to hold on, to doubt. We don’t like to wait. But letting go is the answer. And so I let go of the control again. And for a while, at least, peace invades my body and my mind and my soul.
On my Verse of the Week page, I have listed some of my favorite verses dealing with this topic. John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and you can watch his sermons online. If you click on that link, you will notice that on 2/8/09 he spoke on Living Beyond Anxiety. That is an excellent talk along these same lines. If any of you would like to read his book on Faith and Doubt, I would be willing to send it to you. Just leave a comment and I will contact you.