Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Illusion of Control

 God is telling me I need to talk about Him. While I'm not actually talking to you face to face, I am writing my thoughts. It's a good first step. But why is it hard to talk about Him? I think it's because it would acknowledge that He's in Charge. I don't want to do that. I say I do. I pray reverently and attend church and claim I'm a Christian. But ultimately, I do all of this with a core belief that I am actually the one in charge. I believe that I make the good things happen in my life - that I am in charge of my happiness. That if I want to be happy every minute of every day for the rest of my life, I can make that happen. And that I can ward off pain and suffering. But what's interesting is what happens on the flip side....when bad things happen - pain and suffering - I love to rage against God. I do nothing but blame Him. Question Him. Doubt Him. Suddenly He is the One in Charge and He is to Blame. If I'm in control then why am I so mad at Him? The answer of course is that I'm not and He is. But the really interesting thing is that once some of the anger subsides - I pray to Him. I beg Him to help me, to take the pain away.  Again, acknowledging that He is in Charge. (If He wasn't I wouldn't be asking Him for help.) So the way I see it is this, when things are going well I take the credit. When things are going badly, I shun all responsibility. And when I'm desperate I pray to Him. The irony is that the control I think I have is just my own illusion.  I don't have control over what happens to me any more than an ant has control over her life. But unlike an ant, I get to have a relationship with God, and that is the one thing I can control.

I think God designed things this way because He knew we couldn't handle the responsibility of our own happiness. And do I really even want it? The whole reason I struggle to explain pain and suffering ("this is happening for this particular reason") is so I can believe that I have control over it. So that I can stop and start it. So that when the pain becomes too much to bear, I can decide to stop it. But do I really even want that responsibility?Sure it would be nice to think I could be happy every day for the rest of my life, or at least on every second Tuesday. But, If I'm in charge, then I'm to blame when things aren't going my way. That's a lot of pressure. Anytime any pain comes my way, I'm responsible? Yikes, that is the kind of spot that gets me thinking I deserve pain just so I can explain it away. Thankfully, I'm not responsible.

But thinking He is, isn't enough. Talking about Him though makes it real.