In the first post on age, we dealt with the fact that young and old alike struggle with issues of age. We talked about a sort of age related dementia that goes along with youth, adulthood, and old age, and we gave you some things to remember and do that will help with these dilemmas of age. (If you missed that post, click here and catch up before you read further.)
Note – Though this post does not specifically target marriage, it addresses something every marriage has to deal with.
Age. Whether you’re young or old, everyone grapples with their age. The young wish they were older. The old wish they were younger. Even the terms “young” and “old” are relative to our age. When we’re ten, thirty seems old. When we’re thirty, fifty seems old. And when we’re fifty, we’re just hoping we can make it to retirement!
In these day when our news, our social media, and our lives are consumed with the Coronavirus, one thing is painfully clear…
WE ARE NOT AS IN CONTROL AS WE WANT TO BE.
We never have been. Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, we have done whatever we could to subjugate and eradicate the feeling of not being in control. And we’re still doing that.
Some try to convince themselves that the government will get control of this. Others repeatedly tell themselves that God is in control of this. And others militantly follow social distancing plans and hand washing procedures to stay in control of this. These are all good things, but they still fall short of putting us at ease and quenching our thirst for control.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO FEEL LIKE WE HAVE CONTROL?
- We want to feel in control to keep our fear at bay. There’s a lot of fear out there. Health fear. Economic fear. Scholastic fear. Fear is swelling because we feel we can’t control these things.
- We want to feel in control because we lack trust. We don’t trust our government to make the right calls at the right time. We don’t trust others to do what they should do to keep their distance, or to keep food on the shelves, or to keep helping when we’re in need. Then we don’t trust God to intervene as we hope…despite what we might profess.
- We want to feel in control, because it helps us maintain a sense of self importance. We want to feel that we’re different and special. But we feel out of control when we realize we’re no different from everyone else.
In one way or another, there’s a bit of control freak in all of us. But here’s the thing…
WE ARE NEVER IN COMPLETE CONTROL!
There will always be things we can’t control. It’s a given in life. The quality of our life is not dependent on keeping control of everything, but rather in how we respond to the things we can’t control.
- It’s not about making fear go away, but rather about going on in the face of fear.
- It’s not about trusting someone to fix the problem, but rather trusting someone in the midst of the problem.
- It’s not about being above everyone else, but rather being in it with everyone else.
WHAT TO DO WHEN WE’RE NOT IN CONTROL.
Even Christians have control issues at times, but we don’t need to strive for control, because…
- In the face of fear, we’re told…“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV.
- In the face of mistrust, we’re told…“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5 ESV.
- In the face of self-importance, we’re told…“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:11-12 ESV.
Like the rapids in a white water rafting trip, the Coronavirus is part of the trip down stream. It may raise our adrenaline, but we don’t have to be in control of the rapids. We just need to stay in the boat and listen to our guide.
In times of trials, you may not be able to control anything else, but you can control to whom you listen. Whether you’re struggling for control over work, marriage, children, finances, or pandemics, the questions is still the same…to whom is your heart listening?
Everybody has a different level of pain tolerance. Some have a high tolerance for pain. They have the ability to tolerate pain that others might find intolerable.
Still, other people have a very low tolerance for pain. Even a small pain feels big to them. They don’t wait to see if the headache will get worse. They take something at the first sign of a headache to make it go away. The same can be said about discouragement.
Relaxed time is time that’s free from demand or expectation. It’s time when you don’t have to do, fix, or produce something. It’s time you can truly and unhurriedly be present.
I believe we need regular relaxed time and that a lack of relaxed time can contribute to increased stress, missed opportunities, and mounting health issues.
There’s a shortage of peace in the world. Terrorist invade and ravage our world like cancer cells invading and ravaging a body. Countries are on edge over territorial, trade, and nuclear issues. Racial tensions tear apart our communities and country. Political parties bicker and battle over every little issue. Husbands and wives divorce and fight battles over children and property. There’s a shortage of peace in the world.
Maybe you’ve seen this…a preschooler is sitting on the floor playing with a toy. They’re perfectly content with the toy they have, until they see another child playing with a different toy. Then the preschooler wants the toy the other child has. They don’t want to just exchange toys. They want both toys!
It’s funny in preschoolers, but it’s not so funny in adults. Yet so many of us get caught up in accumulating things rather than appreciating what we have.