I have recently come to a realization about myself, and I hope that this comes across as a self-evaluation rather than a self-condemnation. I am a control freak. I want to be in control of my future. I want to position myself so as to have the greatest amount of choice and say so in the things that happen to me. This is true of the people around me as well as with God. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that I am fake or manipulative. I try to be genuine with everyone with whom I come into contact, but I am always trying to anticipate their next move and act or speak accordingly.

This reminds me of chess. My dad taught me how to play when I was young, and he beat me routinely. He knew enough about the game to move in ways that would elicit a particular response from me. He was always in control, and could almost predict the way in which he would win. I spent the whole game reacting to him, even when I didn’t know it. I always hated when I thought I would take control and make him do what I wanted, only to have him make a move that would force me to react.

The same is true of my relationship with God. I am looking at my life like the chess board. At each new turn I am looking at the whole board, trying to figure out my next move based on what I think God is going to do. I know logically that I can’t control God, and that I can’t beat Him. I am not even thinking of it in those terms. I just make myself crazy trying to outguess God, only to look up each time and say “Wow, good move! I sure didn’t see that coming.” I need to just accept that (a) God is on my team, (b) He is way better than me, and (c) I can’t control the outcome. I am just along for the ride.

If you read back at several of my posts the last few months, you may see this same theme over and over. I am getting much better at expressing myself, but not so much better at allowing God to be in control. I try to identify with the story of Jacob and the night he wrestled with God (Genesis 32. First of all, God allowed Jacob to continue to wrestle with Him even though He obviously could have won easily. Secondly, Jacob was rewarded for continuing to struggle and, according to God, for overcoming. I don’t totally understand that whole story, like if Jacob was struggling with his pride or if this was an object lesson for Jacob. Whatever the specifics, I plan to continue to struggle through. I will do the right thing; I will make the right decisions; I will be led by the Spirit, and I won’t give up just because it’s difficult. I may come out with a limp, but it will be an opportunity to share my story about how God led me through my pride and my control issues.

I still stink at chess.