Recently my son Jackson and I were taking advantage of an unseasonally warm Sunday afternoon with one of his favourite activities; water play in the backyard. I watched, bemused, as he entertained himself with endless pouring from cup to bucket to water table, then back up into the cup to continue the cycle. The water mesmerizes him. He can play with water for hours, soaking himself from head to toe until he begins to shiver violently, and even then he screams in protest when I bundle him up in a soft towel and carry him inside to recover in a warm bath. On this particular afternoon, I decided to surprise him by cupping my hands under the stream and catching it, intercepting its journey from one container to the next. He chuckled, enjoying my sudden participation, and it became a game that I couldn’t have extracted myself from if I’d tried – he was a boy on a mission, determined to fill my cupped hands with his cold water.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
I realised that my hands weren’t exactly the most water tight vessel for our game. I squeezed them together as hard as I could, trying to interlock the bumps of bone and skin, but inevitably there were little cracks betraying the mission, and little droplets of water continued to escape. Try as I might, I could not hold all the water in my hands.
But then, that’s not what my hands were designed to do.
My hands work hard, and are ridiculously versatile. They have the strength to pry open tightly sealed jars, and the gentleness to stroke my son’s impossibly soft cheek. They have the dexterity to apply a perfect line of liquid eyeliner, and the might to knead the dough for a homemade loaf of bread. They feed my family endless meals and snacks, they lift my son out of bed in the morning, they make music on the keys of my piano, they clasp in prayer, they squeeze avocados to check for ripeness, they scratch my nose when it itches, they clap in time to the worship music at church. They are a part of almost everything I do.
My hands are amazing.
They just can’t hold water.
As I watched the water drip slowly through my fingers, it got me thinking about control. I find it frustrating when I try desperately to control something and find that I simply can’t.
The clutter in our home cause by endless renovations.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Planning a perfect menu for the week, only to grocery shop and find that a vital ingredient is out of stock.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Chicken turning sour before its expiry date, dogs barking during my son’s nap, a head cold I can’t shake, petrol prices sky rocketing the day that I need to fill up.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
Control feels extremely important to me. It is my security blanket. My way of knowing that everything will be okay, as long as I can control it. I even try to control things that I 100% do not need to (my husband will attest to that)! But when I cling to control, it actually shows a lack of trust in the One who truly has control. The truth is, there are millions of things that I cannot control – and I was never designed to do so. Proverbs 19:21 says:
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
The problem with that satisfied, life-is-great feeling I get when I am in complete control, is that when the tables turn, I’m in a tailspin. A loss of control, an indication that I’m not the boss of the world, actually leaves me highly strung and frantic. In the long run, my addiction to control does me no favours.
Time and time again, I am learning that I simply can’t control everything. I can mash my hands together as hard as I like but I cannot stop the water from dripping out. In God though, my hands are released to do the work they were designed to do; to cook and touch and maneuvre. I can give over my need for control to the hands that can actually handle it.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
When I feel that need for control creeping in, I’m going to be challenging myself to let it go. Relinquishing control can be a terrifying thing – but perhaps also totally worthwhile.
Klara is the founder of She the Fierce. She lives in Perth, Western Australia and is married to a Californian IT-nerd/carpentry dabbler/handyman extreme, Chris. They have one gorgeous, long-lashed little boy, Jackson, and their fur-babies include two dogs and one fat black cat. Klara is a (mostly) stay-at-home Mum with a background in finance and admin. She’s a Christian who loves singing, cooking, cups of tea, grey rainy days, scrapbooking and suggesting spectacular renovation and handyman projects to Chris!