During one of the preliminary races before the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick found herself heading into the wall. Just before she hit, Patrick took her hands off the steering wheel. It was a smart move, and possibly kept her wrists from being broken. Her Indy Car experience may have contributed to the action, as she also covered her head with her hands like she was in an open wheel car. If I had been in that situation, I would have held on to that wheel with every ounce of my strength, trying to keep control of the car. The results would have been painful.
I am learning just how much I hate letting go of control in my life. As a recovering perfectionist, I want everything to turn out right. Of course, "right" means what I want. So, in order to make sure that things turn out right, I try to be in control. At the very least, I attempt to keep my hand in what is going on. Now, this method works pretty well when you're coaching, at least until the players get into the games. Then, the illusion of control sometimes quickly disappears. When you're dealing with people, especially in discipleship, trying to control another person doesn't work. Actually, trying to be the one in charge doesn't really work in most areas of our lives.
One of the things God is teaching me is that my control of my life and the lives of others is ultimately an illusion. God is the one in control. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating a fuzzy "let go and let God" thinking. Nor am I saying that we bear no responsibility for our actions and the consequences of those actions. I do believe that there is much of our lives that is simply out of our control.
This not a reason for despair, however. For the follower of Jesus, the fact that we are ultimately not in control is actually comforting and freeing. Much of the time we worry about making sure that we say and do just the right thing so our efforts will be "successful." If we are listening to our Shepherd and doing what he wants us to do, we can rest and leave the results up to him. We must remember that we cannot fix anyone, we cannot heal, but God can. We can be privileged to be the vessels through which God channels that healing, but even that is out of our control. We must remember that it is not up to us to make things happen. It is simply our calling to be faithful to what Jesus calls us to do.
God helps us to hear his voice, to be about doing what he calls us to do, and to leave the results in his hands.