Trusting Requires I Lose Control

When I was a young woman, 20 to be exact, I fell in love with the Church.  I'm not saying I fell in love with Jesus, (in truth, and sadly, that didn't come until much later), but I did fall in love with the Church.  Having come from a somewhat difficult childhood that was often chaotic and stressful, I found comfort in the rules and structure of church.

The Church offered me boundaries and a feeling of control that my heart and mind craved.  It taught me how to read my bible in a structured way, how to pray in a structured way, even how to worship with rules and decorum.

Of course, as I type these words, I know that what the church taught me in my early days of Christianity was to love religion, but I know that the Holy Spirit found me there, knee deep in my religion, and rescued me, and for that, I am grateful.

In the last few years, I have come to understand how desperately I hold onto control, and the root of that is because  I felt so out of control as a child.  I find great comfort in knowing what is ahead. I'm a planner.  My lists have lists.  I have contingency plans.  I mean, why take the road less traveled? That's not a plan! And why plan for tomorrow when you can make a 5 year plan or a 10 year plan?  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with planning, to a certain extent.  It's when trusting your ability to plan overrides your trust in Jesus that there's a problem.  And that's where my problem is.

Sunday, at church, we sang a song that contained the phrase "trust without borders."

I felt like the words became the only words on the screen, an indictment to my secret character flaw, and the weight of that indictment sucked the oxygen out of the room.

From there, the pastor went on to tell a story of Mother Theresa and how when once asked to pray for clarity for someone, she refused, stating that praying for clarity was really just a way of wanting the security (and control) of a mapped out plan.  She stated (I'm paraphrasing) "Clarity doesn't require trust.   Instead, I'll pray for you to trust without boundaries."

And there it was again.  Trust without borders.  Trust without boundaries.  Trust without conditions. Trust without a damned plan.

It's not that I haven't been painfully aware of my need to control things, it's that I've been ignorant of the fact that my need for control has often replaced my trust in Jesus.

I read this excerpt from The Hobbit the other day on a friend's facebook wall and knew it was a challenge for me personally.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

So where does a girl go to learn how to trust without borders?  I'll let you know when I discover it.  But for now, I'll step out on the path, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet.

All that to say, it's a scary place for a control freak, asking for the ability to trust without borders, for lessons of trust must inevitably come with opportunities to have to.


  1. Carol - Beautiful blog, courageously honest as always. Can I quibble? You make a distinction between falling in love with church and falling in love with Jesus. But the church - yes, the haphazard bomb-crater you and I experience (and help to create) daily - is the Bride of Christ with whom Our Lord is cockeyed in love. She offered you what you desperately needed and you loved her for it and her Husband rejoiced to see His bride loved. No apologies necessary as far as I can tell!


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