When I was nine years old, I learned the most valuable and difficult lesson of my life. It was my first year of youth league softball where the coach didn’t pitch. I was on the mound with the lead when things began to crumble. As every baseball/softball fan knows, the umpire behind the plate had a ridiculously small strike zone (they often do). My defense started making errors, then the other team got a hit. Then I walked someone. You see how this goes.
I was nearly on the verge of tears on the mound- not from sadness, but from being purely pissed off. As a pitcher, nothing is worse than when everything around you crumbles. Granted, there were times when I was the one crumbling, but this was not that time. As I’m standing on the mound, with tears in my eyes, ready to hit the next batter, then the umpire, then my shortstop, my mom took a trip to the mound. I’ll never forget it. Of all of the years of her being my coach (roughly 10), this was the moment that changed me.
She looked at me and asked, “Paige, can you control what the umpire calls?” As I look back on this moment, I should have known right then and there that I would have some serious issues because I honestly thought I could! I was scheming on how I could force the umpire to call my pitches strikes. She had to answer the question herself, “No, you cannot control what he does.” She went on- “Can you control what your defense does behind you? No. Can you control what the other team does? No. BUT can you control what you do? Yes. You can control your demeanor, your pitches, and your attitude.”
We ended the inning without the other team scoring. I sprinted off the field and leapt into my mom’s arms because I had done it! I had worked through the inning without controlling anyone, but myself.
What a valuable lesson she taught me right there in the Alexander City Sports Plex.
Throughout the years, she has reminded me of that lesson. Sometimes in sports, mostly in other things. “Paige, can you control what she says about you? No. Paige, can you control what he thinks about you? No. Paige, can you control who they choose? No.” It was only a few weeks ago, that I heard her asking this same question of her volleyball team- “Can you control what the official calls? No.”
Y’all. I need that lesson EVERY DAY. Can I get an amen? Anyone else need to hear that?
In a world that sometimes feels like we CAN control everything just from our iPhones, I need to be reminded that I CAN’T control everything. Do you know who can? Seriously, there’s a correct answer.
He alone knows. He alone controls. And His plan is perfect. He knows and understands far more and far better than we do. Isn’t that a release?
A few weeks ago, I was watching a sermon by Beth Moore, and she made all the “control freaks” repeat after her. Want to be brought to your knees in humility? Repeat this. Print this. Write this.
I am not in control.
I cannot control all of my people.
I cannot control our situation.
Even when I want what is best, I cannot control the outcome.
I cannot make people behave.
I cannot make people believe.
I cannot make people be strong, because I am not God.
He alone knows the beginning from the end.
He alone knows how this thing will turn out.
I hereby fire myself from His job, and agree to see my fight for control as what it really is:
a screaming testament to my distrust.
A screaming testament to my distrust. Ouch. Anyone else feel that? Since repeating that (Y’all KNOW I had to repeat that about 52,392,304 times), it’s been resonating with me. I can’t make people believe. I can’t make people behave. I can’t make people respond to my emails/texts immediately. I can’t control our situation. I can’t make our house sell. Even when I want what is best, I cannot control the outcome.
Do you know what I can control? I can control me. I can make healthy choices. I can devote time to daily prayer and Bible study. I can exercise. I can cook healthy meals. I can choose wholesome television. I can speak with kindness. I can serve. I can be hospitable. I can provide a lending hand. I can fully surrender, with open palms, to God because He alone knows.
Looking back, the times in which I have fully surrendered, given God the reigns, unclenched my fists are the times of the most freedom and joy. Why don’t I do this more often?
We can. You can. We can unclench our fists and give God our lives. All of them. We trust Him with our salvation, so why not with our finances? Or our families? Or our careers? I want to be ALL IN (War eagle, anyone?). Won’t you join me?