Friday, March 28, 2014

"The real driver's seat"

My freshman year undergrad English class read Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year.  (Note: In no way am I advocating the book or saying that I agree with Anne Lamott's theological views.  I just liked a few passages from the book.  I'd love to reread it now that I'm a mother myself.)  

At one point in the book, Lamott talks about our need to be in control as being an addiction.  She shares an astute observation from a friend:

"He said he'd finally figured out a few years ago that his profound sense of control, in the world and over his life, is another addiction and a total illusion.  He said that when he sees little kids sitting in the backseat of cars, in those car seats that have steering wheels, with grim expressions of concentration on their faces, clearly convinced that their efforts are causing the car to do whatever it is doing, he thinks of himself and his relationship with God: God who drives along silently, gently amused, in the real driver's seat" (p. 113).

I love that.  The real driver's seat.  

I am so totally addicted to control.  I am a control freak.  I love making plans, figuring out how to execute plans, being methodical in carrying them out, and proclaiming victory when it all goes according to, well, my plan.  Getting thrown off course makes me batty.  

That quote from Anne Lamott makes me picture God, watching me go about my daily life with the fierce determination of a toddler with that pretend steering wheel.  

How I must look to God
Meanwhile, God has the eternal view of time, and He knows that my plans often aren't in line with His will (aka what's ultimately best for me).  "Catherine," He must think, "let me be the driver.  I'll get you exactly where you need to be when you need to be there."

With all of the craziness surrounding trying to sell our home and find a new one, I can't even begin to tell you the number of times God has shown me the importance of letting go and letting HIM.  Let me tell ya, it hurts to let go of control when you're a control freak.  

God knows I'm needing extra graces lately because He's making all kinds of grand gestures.  For starters, He sent me to confession with our Archbishop last week!  Still processing that one...

This week, I was fed up with weeks of a rotten house hunting experience.  I said to God the other night, "Okay, I give in.  I'm trying too hard to be in control of everything.  Please take this.  Please allow me to hand it over and be at peace with whatever You want for our family.  YOUR will be done!  Make me mean it, God, because You know I want it all to be on my terms."

And, you know what?  God really can't be outdone in generosity.  We just have to let go of our fake steering wheels and let him be in the real driver's seat.  When I finally let go, in the most incredible turn of events I've ever experienced, God dropped our new home in our laps.

I've cried so many happy tears in the last few days because I am blown away by God's goodness and His faithfulness.  I'll share the story when everything is done done, but let me tell ya, it's an amazing story.  

Lesson learned: the way to happiness is to abandon my will, pray for God's will to be done, and learn to unite mine with His.  Besides, life's better when I'm enjoying the ride instead of white-knuckling the steering wheel on my own course. 

Are you a control freak, too?  Do you struggle to let go of your white-knuckled clutch of your fake steering wheel?  Was there a time when God taught you how to let go?  What happened?     

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