The Illusion of Control
By Glynnis Whitwer

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV)

My freshman son is on the school wrestling team. After an outstanding first season, Dylan had a disappointing loss – and he wasn’t happy. In fact, he was convinced the referee made some crucial mistakes.

Although I missed the match, I got a recap the next morning at breakfast. Dylan described his moves, and elaborated on the ones he thought should have earned him the win.

“I had this guy’s body in a scissor hold and had him on his back, but the ref didn’t give me points for getting that kid on his back!” Dylan explained.

His older brother, who also wrestled, offered, “You probably didn’t have control.”

“But I had him on his back,” Dylan countered.

“But the ref saw you really didn’t have control. That’s why you didn’t get the points,” Josh insisted. Dylan accepted that possibility and the conversation changed to other topics.

As the day wore on, the image of that wrestling match returned many times. And a parallel to my own life began to develop. I imagined myself wrestling with a personal struggle, thinking I’ve got it under control, only to discover I really don’t. I pictured God watching my struggle, watching me declare my victory, but knowing all along it’s only an illusion of control. I also pictured God standing there patiently, waiting for me to concede the struggle and ask for His help.

There are many areas of my life where I believe if I only try harder, I’ll succeed. Or if I could just figure out the perfect time management system, I could get everything done. Or if I could just hold my tongue, I could be more patient.

The truth is, the only way I’ll have victory over my struggles is to daily admit I don’t have complete control over them, and ask for God’s help.

I wish my son had won that wrestling match, but God used it to teach me a lesson. It is possible to have victory over my struggles … but I’m going to need some divine help.

Dear Lord, thank You for being patient with me when You watch me struggle again and again with the same issues. Help me to see the reality of my need for You every moment of my life. I ask for Your help to overcome my persistent struggles. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Six Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

God’s Purpose For Every Woman by various Proverbs 31 Authors, edited by Rachel Olsen and Lysa TerKeurst

P31 Woman Magazine

Visit Glynnis’ Blog for more encouragement.

Application Steps:
Get a note card and write on it one personal struggle you deal with. Commit to praying every day for seven days about this struggle. Admit you don’t have complete control over the situation and ask for God’s help.

Read 1 John 5:1-5. What does it mean to overcome the world?

What is the power source described in these verses?

How is faith and obedience to God connected to experiencing victory over your struggles?

Power Verses:
1 John 5:5, “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (NIV)

Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV)

Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)


Blogger Rachel Olsen said...

Glynnis, I loved this illustration. After reading a few weeks ago to ready it for publication, it stayed in my mind for days.

Thanks for allowing God to speak to you through everyday things, and for sharing those cool insights with us!

Blogger Van said...

Great illustration, Glynnis. I miss the lessons for life taught me by my sons' experiences. God used their young lives to give me deep insights. Now that they are gone I often wonder, "Where are the lessons?" Thanks to you for sharing your experienes I can keep on learning. BTW - You would think I would have handle on control at my age - but no. I know now more than ever that I need Devine help.

Blogger Whitney said...

This was really meaningful for me today. Touched a sensative chord in my heart as well. Thank you for the image - with several wrestlers in our youth group I can definitely picture this physically in my head and then go to the next step and see it spiritually... again - thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always good to know "The Illusion of Control" is only an illusion. God is in full control! I trusted a relative but I felt betrayed. I was tempted to take matters into my own hands, but knowing my enemy is not in control, I have the peace of mind to let the Lord deal with this matter. I know how awful it feels to be in "The Illusion of Control" and the wonderful blessings of allowing the awesome God in my life to be in charge! Thank you God! Thank you Proverbs 31.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank God for this devo today. It is exactly what I need. I rejoice in God's help and control. I praise His holy Name.

Blogger Glynis said...

Perfectly said. Thanks for the encouragement today!

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