Giving Up Control
Modern travel is really a miracle.
To be able to board an airplane and end up on the other side of the country (or world) in a matter of hours is something we probably take for granted. I know I do. For those who prefer to travel by plane, you know the rationale we all use: I’m going to be able to do more in less days because I’m stewarding those hours better by flying. Everything is planned out: confirmation numbers memorized, where to park the car, picking the fastest line in security, my special overhead-approved carry-on bag.
I’ve got it all down.
…No matter how I try to polish it, what’s underneath is the notion that I like to be in control.
To be honest, some trips it all works out as planned. No major hiccups. Like I said—a miracle! But then there are those other moments of travel (you know the ones) where I am reminded that I am most definitely NOT in charge. Flights are delayed, connections are missed, options are limited, and sometimes, the voice on the other end of the helpline just doesn’t seem to care as much as I do.
It’s a miracle I haven’t blown more gaskets along the way. (What is a gasket anyway? How many do we humans have? And can they be replaced once you’ve blown one?)
All kidding aside, these days, when Robin and I travel, we try to remind ourselves that not only are we subject to variables far beyond our control, but we are stepping onto a veritable minefield of potential blown-gaskets. Our world is messy and things do not always go according to plan.
What happens then?
Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning.
You don’t need me to coach you on how best to travel and I’m probably not the one to offer such sage advice. I’ll just leave you with this: to follow Jesus into this complicated world where hair-trigger tempers abound means we are called to react differently in those moments.
For me, it helps if I see this as walking with God instead of meeting Him at the next assignment. I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but it means the relational connect is highlighted and underscored as I walk into the airport or train station, not put on hold.
I am to love God with all of my being from the time I get up to the time I lie down.
And in between, when I’m walking along the road (or trying to fly through the air), He gets all of me then too. It seems like on a good day, when I’m leaning into that awareness of this constant and conversational connection with the God of all things, short-term irritation gives way to a long-term view that puts that particular moment of powerlessness in the context of His grand and glorious sovereignty. Even in those moments God is in control.
There’s a whole lot of stuff that I can’t control in my life, and I will walk through this day as one who is walking in partnership with God. I no longer have to manage weather, airplanes, or other people. – Dallas Willard
On those days when I do not lose sight of God’s presence and plans, I get a little more comfortable with that extraordinary observation. He is in control, I am not. And for that, I am grateful.