When the story is ugly, God is beautiful

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Redemption2 Comments

I recently asked the question on my Facebook page “What would be the way that you would describe a control freak?” It was really no surprise to me that most of the responses had a negative context to them.  The post kind of was a little bit of a set up.  I said “freak” when referring to control, and therefore implied a problem with just one little word.  It’s OK, I got the responses I was looking for that way.  I wanted to know the negative ways that people view control, because I was wondering if I was on the right track in my previous blog post.  Most of the things people responded with were true depictions of the control in my life, and the reasons for control.  There was only one person who said in a side conversation “why does everyone see control as a bad thing?” Ah-Ha! Two sides to the story huh? Let’s give control a fair shot, shall we?
Not all control is bad or negative, and I’m not just saying that to cut myself some slack. I know that seems like quite the contrast when compared to the last two blog posts, but hear me out. Control is a necessary part of life.  A world completely void of control would be a world with no balance, no morals, complete chaos.  Think of a teacher’s day for example.  If a teacher stepped into a classroom where they had no control over their students, it would be very difficult to be productive and actually teach. Think if you had a few students coming and going as they please, one to the bathroom, one taking an early recess, and one making a pit stop for a snack.  Those students would be missing out on educational and productive parts of the day.  Think if you had a few more students talking loudly over one another, a few more running around the classroom playing tag, and a handful more jumping rope, it would be very difficult for the teacher to reach the remaining students (if any) to try to teach.  Having control over their classroom and their students, is essential to a quality learning environment.  Now think of a correctional officer.  Correctional officers deal with prisoners on a daily basis.  The people who are incarcerated are there for many different reasons, all varying in intensity.  You will have some that are incarcerated for crimes that involve varying degrees of violence and if the prison was lacking control, things would get out of hand in the blink of an eye. Someone could be seriously injured or killed in just a few moments if there was no control. Now lets think of the person who is in charge of the traffic signals that determine the traffic pattern every day.  (I’m sure its computer generated now) Some lights are green, some are yellow, and some are red.  Traffic signals indicate when it’s time for a vehicle to go or stop, and when it is safe for a pedestrian to cross the street.  At an intersection one direction will be green while the other is red, keeping order and safety to the flow of traffic.  Think about what would happen if all of the traffic lights were green at the same time.  There would be accidents galore, people could rarely walk across the street safely because there would be cars driving in every direction. Or what if the opposite were true.  What if all of the lights were red at the same time? Traffic would be stopped, and could quickly become congested especially during rush hours.  People would have to take turns, going one by one  through the intersection.  An entire city could be late for work because there is no consistent traffic pattern.  These examples are just a few examples of why control is not always negative, sometimes it’s necessary, but there needs to be a balance.
There are MANY scriptures in the bible addressing control, especially self-control.  If we go to the scriptures we see that God does want us to have some control in life.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Control can mean resisting temptation that leads to negative consequences.  Control can mean structure and organization.  Control can mean order, and peace. Control can mean having great plans and even back up plans to prepare for venturing through life. (Think career goals, or retirement plans.) God doesn’t want us to just sit there, fly by the seat of our pants, and hope He can make sense of whatever situation we find ourselves in.  Don’t get me wrong, He certainly IS mighty enough to do just that, but He wants us to have enough self-control to contribute productively to our own well being.  That doesn’t mean spend the mortgage money on new clothes and fancy meals just to see God provide a mortgage payment in a miraculous way.  It doesn’t work quite like that. He wants us to be wise, good stewards, have discipline and self control.  Again, there is a balance.
When wFruit of the Spirite don’t allow God the ultimate control of our lives, or surrender to His control, that’s when things start to get messy. It’s when we don’t ask and seek His will over things, we are often left worse off than we imagined. Sometimes we ask Him, but we don’t like his response or timing so we just try to do things our own way, on our own strength. It’s when we take control and don’t have Him in the equation that it starts to get painful.  After all, God is the author of our story.  He’s writing our story, but do we trust Him enough to let go of the pen? What happens when God has something written down, and we think we know better than He does? “God, I know that this relationship is not what you had in mind, but I don’t want to be alone.” or “God I know these circumstances disagree with what you’ve said but I really want things to go this way.” Or, this is my personal favorite “God, I know your answer is no or wait, but I’m too impatient to wait on your timing, so I’m going to find my own way.” Do any of those things sound familiar to you?
 I’ve recently been reminded that God is writing my story, but I keep grabbing the pen. I want Him to have control, I want to submit to His ways but sometimes I get scared or stubborn and keep trying to do things my own way.  Sometimes in the story, the plot thickens or takes a turn for the worst.  Sometimes the pages of the story are hard to read and are painful.  There are times when I’d like to not just take hold of the pen, but I want to rip out entire chapters of my story because this is not at all how I thought my story would go.  “This is not what I want in my story, please God rip it out! I hate this part!” But God doesn’t work like that.  He is with us when the plot is thick and we can’t seem to see anything good left to come.  He is with us when our story has us thinking we are walking completely alone.  He is with us when our story includes sickness or tragedy, disappointment and fear.  When the story is ugly, God is beautiful, and someday His glory will be revealed to us.
Truthfully there’s a lot of freedom in surrendering control, there really is.  When things don’t go according to plan it’s not our fault when we’re not the one in control.  That’s quite freeing if you ask me.  I know I keep talking about Ruby, the baby I never met, but it’s because I have been learning an awful lot about myself and my relationship with God because of that little baby.  I thought I had control over that little life but when I realized that her life wasn’t up to me, it relieved me of a lot of guilt that her life didn’t go according to plan.  It wasn’t my fault that she didn’t make it, it just happens to be part of my story.  Right now the plot is awfully thick, and I don’t yet see how it’s going to end, but I’m learning to trust the Author to get it right.
I want to leave you with one last thought as we conclude this series on control.
The Bible says:

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

and the Bible also says:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV
It is a whole lot better to trust Gods heart, and plans for our lives, than to trust our own.  Our hearts deceive us all the time, but not God, He is truth.
It’s OK to have some control. It’s OK to have structure and order to your life.  It’s OK to plan ahead and dream, but it’s only OK as long as you are willing to let God keep holding the pen.
In His Love,
Rosalynn L.

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About Rosalynn Lasley

I've been happily married to my high school sweetheart more years of my life than believable. It's true what they say, time flies when you're having fun. God has blessed us with 4 children, 3 we have the pleasure of raising, and one waiting for us in Heaven. I have always enjoyed writing but my call to ministry came during some of my most difficult times thus far. Writing for Alaska Christian Women's Ministry helped me start to make sense of all that God has been walking me through, even when sometimes it's messy and painful. I never realized that telling my story, even the ugly parts, could be encouraging to other women until I started writing. It's true that God will make beauty from ashes, you just have to let Him. My writing is often serious, and sometimes heavy in nature, but in real life I'm usually the complete opposite of serious. I LOVE TO LAUGH, and say that humor is my unofficial spiritual gift. I'm fairly awkward when first meeting someone, but if I can make you laugh then I think we'll end up being excellent friends. I'm certain that my husband is the only person on earth that doesn't think I'm all that funny. If I can make him laugh, I'm a happy girl! I have the blessing of serving in the junior high ministry at my local church, and find it such a joy hanging out with those smelly young people, week after week. They bless my heart far more than I could ever bless theirs in the short amount of time we meet each week.

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