To some extent, we can. We can make our to-do lists, schedules, and itineraries to ensure that we are in control of our time. We can do thorough research about educational philosophies, birth control, daycares, diets, and toys to make sure that we are in control of our children. We can take vitamins, get regular checkups, stay away from second hand smoke, and avoid red meat to make sure that we are in control of our bodies.
But what happens when (despite our best planning) we find ourselves on the side of the road with a flat tire instead of at that very important business meeting? Or what happens when things like sickness, abuse, or even death happen to one of our kids? Or what if you go to the doctor and he tells you that your regular checkup showed some abnormal results and he’d like to have some more testing done? What do we do then?
When we don’t have control over our lives, it can really freak us out. Some people get angry and irritable while others withdraw and hide. Studies even show that many disorders such as Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, self mutilation (cutting yourself), and anxiety disorders all stem from extreme cases of worry - which is a fear of things we can’t control.
While some symptoms of control problems are evident, others are sneakier. Some of us turn to food. We decide what we eat and when to eat it. We control what to buy, what to fix, and what to put in our mouths. And most of us can do all of those things undetected and unchallenged. Maybe this is why so many of us have such issues with secret eating.
I know for me, when someone tries to step in and take control over my food choices with comments like, “Are you sure that extra piece of cake is a good idea,” it is instant anger. Talk about annoyed - even if they are right. It’s my choice. I am aware of the decision I am making and I don’t need YOU to point it out to me is my mentality. I don’t want to be told what I can’t have and sometimes when I am, I end up eating MORE and I think it’s partly just to show that I can. I know…It sounds so bratty. But it’s true.
What we need to realize though is that when all is said and done, none of us are in control We can use our God-given wisdom and intelligence to make the most of what we are given, but ultimately there are things that are just bigger and badder than we are. Call it fate, providence, or luck - whatever you call it, it is inescapable. Even the Bible says that God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on both the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
I listed a ton of verses below that talk about God’s role during times when we feel out of control. Maybe you can bookmark this page and the next time you find yourself freaking out or reaching for a cupcake, drink, or cigarette when things get stressful, you can read some of God’s promises to you and resist the temptation to lose your self-control.
Oh, and that saying up in the first paragraph, it’s not really that old. It’s from 1986. And it’s not from a wise old philosopher, it was Janet Jackson. But the point is still the same. I just didn't think you'd keep reading if I told who really said it.
~ The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. Psalm 146:8
~ The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
~ Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:24
~ For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:7
~ You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. Psalm 71:20
~ Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again-my Savior and my God! Psalm 42:11
~ My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26
~ No evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. Psalm 91:10-11
~ Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalm 126:5-6
~ Love the Lord, all you godly ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. Psalm 31:23
~ Even those who lived among the sheepfolds found treasures-doves with wings of silver and feathers of gold. Psalm 68:13
~ "But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:20-21
~ From six disasters he will rescue you; even in the seventh, he will keep you from evil. Job 5:19
~ For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. Psalm 22:24
~ The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
~ Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. Psalm 138:7
~ You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. Psalm 18:28
~ The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalm 34:19
~ For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. Lamentations 3:31-33
~ The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2
~ Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, but after that, he will take up my case give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. Micah 7:8-9
~ "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33