The Illusion of Control

We can fool ourselves, can’t we?  Into thinking that we have control of our lives?  We live our lives, making decisions and choices, believing we are forming our own destinies.  And to some extent, we are.  If we make wise choices, we often do live more peaceful lives and if we make stupid choices, we do pay consequences.  But, when it comes right down to it, we don’t have a whole lot of control over what life throws at us.  Of course, we all have lots of opportunities to have that fact established.  However, there is nothing as relentless in helping you understand this lack of control than having teenagers.

In the process of growing up, teens will do things that will disappoint, or maybe even completely mortify, you as a parent.  When my kids were little, I controlled when they went to bed, who they were with, what they ate, and how they dressed…just to name a few.  As they have gotten older, I have learned to release the control of these choices to them…which is absolutely necessary if they are going to grow up to be adults who contribute to society rather than suck the life out of it.  However, you have in your mind how you want your child to respond to these new freedoms.  You assume that they will make mature, godly choices that will please not only you, but more importantly God.  It doesn’t take long to realize that they are not always going to make wise choices.  They are in a growing up process and it is only by the grace of God that our kids follow Him or that they even survive.  Sometimes it isn’t even a choice between right and wrong, but just a choice that leads in a different direction than you hoped for them.  We can do our best to guide and direct as parents, but our teens need to make many of their own choices  and then live with them.

This was brought home to me recently with a couple of incidents with my children.  I was disappointed and my husband asked me if I was perfect when I was their age.  That made me stop and think.  No, I wasn’t.  I did a lot of stupid things.  And just as I watch my kids make some mistakes, my parents watched me make mistakes.   The journey of watching your children grow into adults is one filled with mountains, valleys, and deserts.  Sometimes there is discouragement and sometimes there is great joy.  I need to consciously turn each child over to the Lord and trust Him for their  futures, all the while doing the very best I can to be a good example and to put boundaries in place that are fair and balanced.

I cannot control my children.  I do not own my children.  From the moment they were born, I released them to Him and to His calling.  But I am continually learning that this is truly a process and not a one-time choice.  In the process of watching my teenagers mature and grow and make mistakes and choices that might not be the choices I would make, I realize that this is true in a wider circle.  We can’t control anyone…parents, employees, bosses, friends, or siblings.  We can only control ourselves and our decisions.  And there is never a choice made by anyone that is worth breaking a relationship over.  But that is a blog for another day…

Psalm 18:2;  Proverbs 3:5-6

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