In the movie It’s A Wonderful Life George Bailey says, “I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that”.  Many of us have this mindset.  We like to know what is ahead and are comfortable when we are in control of where our lives are headed.  It feels so unsafe to entrust ourselves to a God we cannot see or understand.  Yet, this idea of releasing control is the essence of a Christian life.   

When I was in high school my dad had a Delta 88 Oldsmobile with rear wheel drive.  One winter afternoon, I was driving Ba (dad) home from work when the Olds spun 360 degrees on black ice as I stepped on the brakes.  A few years later, I was headed back to Penn State for school when I lost control of our little Mazda on interstate-79.  I swerved into the passing lane, down the median, and the Mazda spun around making a complete circle before coming to a stop.  Both times, I tried frantically to regain control of the car before turning it over to my dad.                       

How many times have I experienced this frantic feeling because I have lived life my way instead of allowing God to steer?  I like to be in control and often think I manage things pretty well in my life.  Thriving on organization, I feel safe when things are in order.  After my mom died in 1994, I became obsessive compulsive with having order.  She passed away unexpectedly at age 48 after being in a coma for 4 days from a brain aneurysm.  I found her lying unconscious against the bathroom door of our upstairs apartment.  Sorting through her personal belongings and records, I found everything in disarray.  My mind was spinning as each new piece of information revealed the heavy burdens she had carried and kept from the family.  From that time on, I vowed to keep things in order and under control.   It was my safeguard against uncertainty. 

As our family tried to move forward without mom, I stepped into her role as mediator for my family while serving as caretaker for my dad and baby sister.  I had to maintain order in my own life and theirs because it seemed to be a necessary coping mechanism at the time.  Having order and being in control became the driving force in my life.  It gave me a sense of security.  In the 3 years that followed, I became proficient in organization and order.  It ruled my life and continues to do so even as I’m working each day to be free from its grasp.  God has used many life changes to release me little by little from the controlling tendencies that have become my safety net while teaching me to follow Him.  Following God has been risky, has felt unsafe and has gone against my human desire to be in charge.  But, giving control to Jesus has worked for the good in my life.