There are some professional tree pruners outside and I can hear troublesome branches crashing several metres to the ground. They have cleared away items likely to be damaged, our curious cat is being monitored by the apprentice, and branches are falling in safe zones. All is under control in the hands of these professionals and I am grateful.
We like being in control, don’t we? Prosperous countries, such as ours, have become adept at controlling many aspects of our lives and our surrounding environment, so that we feel safe and secure. That was until a mysterious pandemic appeared and we suddenly realised we had lost control of so much that seemed certain. Much tragedy has unfolded and we know more awaits us – but we don’t know how much or for how long…
Loss of control, in itself, is not such a bad lesson for us to learn. As a person of strong faith, I aim to live with less control of my life! Whereas my tendency is to control, there is freedom in a ‘let go and let God’ mentality. An implicit trust in a beneficent God is required to live this way. Many decisions are still required, but there are others where leaving a space for what may eventuate, is releasing. For example, I have been completely dependent on people responding to everything I do as a Community Chaplain, from the beginning. Which people would engage in something so new and different was completely unknown. Living this way is tense at times, sometimes disappointing, sometimes elating. However, if I’ve done my best, with good intentions, I trust God to do the rest. I believe God is for us, has a far greater perspective and ultimately will prevail. Why would God not be faithful to me, given He loves me and I am trying to cooperate?
A further benefit of letting go of some reins is that we are no longer central to the outcome. Did I hear a sigh of relief? That’s how I feel. Handing control over to God, means we are no longer fully responsible – for better or for worse. No inflated pride and no crippling shame. Being important (involved, heard, respected), but not central, is a great place to be. I credit Graham Bond, long serving Pastor and CEO of Wayside Chapel with this wisdom.
Giving up control takes humility. We are not so important after all! From this place, we are better able to hear others and allow God some room to move. A previous mentor would say, ‘Lift empty hands to God’. When we have fulfilled our responsibilities, we can simply let go and trust it to the God who cares more than we do. Try it and feel the anxiety drain away…
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.