by Lynn Eib
But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. Romans 8:6 NLT
I love to play FreeCell Solitaire on my laptop. I tell myself that I play to keep my mind keen as I age and that all the strategizing sharpens my mental skills. But I think the real reason I’m continually drawn to this card game is because I can control it.
Every single game of FreeCell is winnable, and if I find my strategy isn’t working, or I don’t have any more moves, I simply hit CRTL-Z. I “undo” my past turns and make other choices until once again I emerge a winner. (Current win streak: 929.)
You know what CTRL stands for, right? CONTROL! Yep, that’s why I love the game. I’m in control and if the game gets out-of-control and I might lose, I simply take control and make everything turn out the way I always wanted it to. It’s the perfect game for a perfectionist like me, who hates to lose!
Don’t you wish life had a CTRL-Z button? You could hit it and go back and change the serious diagnosis you or your loved one have received. Or you could tap it and delete the deep disappointments you’ve experienced. Or you could type that command and forgo all the financial struggles. Or you could strike those two keys and erase the emptiness. Somehow–some way–you could control the situation until everything turned out just as you hoped.
Mary, a member of my cancer prayer support group, would have loved a CTRL-Z button when she was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, just 19 months after being widowed. “My husband was gone; I retired Feb. 3 and got diagnosed Feb. 27,” she says. “It was the one-two punch. The shock just hit me and I was ready to die.”
Not only did Mary feel out-of-control, but the cancer looked out-of-control, as it already had spread to her liver and bones.
However, within a few months of starting treatment scans showed the disease was responding. As I write this, she has been a survivor for more than six years. But despite her good quality of life, Mary still lives under the uncertain shadow of an incurable cancer.
“I find myself asking God: ‘Could I just have a little control? I want your will, but could I have just a little of mine?’” she says with a laugh.
I really appreciate Mary’s honesty and the fact she recognizes the humor in desiring God’s will, but on her own terms.
God is teaching both Mary and me to quit searching for life’s CRTL-Z button and to stop pretending we can be in charge of it all. The truth is, we never were in control in the first place, and none of us has the wisdom to successfully direct our own steps.
The temptation always is there to place our trust in our fallen feelings or our limited view of the facts, but The Message Bible paraphrases a wonderful control-releasing truth in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all” (MSG).
I’m learning to give up the control-stick and trust the One who is all-knowing, all seeing, and all-powerful–because letting the Spirit control my mind instead truly does lead to life and peace.
About the author: Lynn Eib is a long-time cancer survivor, a patient advocate, and an award-winning journalist. She has six titles with Tyndale House Publishing, including When God & Cancer Meet with 100,000+ copies sold. Her website www.lynneib.com provides a bi-weekly blog of encouragement; tips for founding, facilitating and finding faith-based support groups; and free resources for cancer patient and their caregivers.
In Lynn’s beautiful, giftable book, Peace in the Face of Cancer, she shares how to live well from the moment of diagnosis through the rest of life. You’ll discover how to bring God’s peace into your own home and heart―regardless of your or your loved one’s medical prognosis.
Join the conversation: Do you struggle with giving up control?