Out of Control and Still Dreaming
My father is fond of saying that the only thing harder than working is not working. I think there is some truth in this.
The last couple of days have been difficult. Being in a new country, living with family, not yet finding work and being under the weather, strip one of a sense of control. Ask my parents. From the moment I was born, I liked having control. Maybe, to some degree, it is a desire of us all and an innate human need to either exercise control or to trust that something else benign is in control.
As a person of faith, it would be easy to fall into pat answers like “God is in control and will work things out.” Such sentiments risk the error of viewing God as my personal vending machine. This is because it is far too easy for me to define “work things out” as “work things out the way I am envisioning they’ll work out.” So God is reduced to an unrealistic anti-anxiety fix. The sentiment is unrealistic because sometimes things do not “work out” in life. Bad things happen in this world every minute– and they happen to people of faith as much as others.
The language we were using in the beginning of our move to Dubai, of being on an “adventure”, is hard to realize some days. Certainly, I do not deny the fact that God is in control. I just refuse to define what that will mean exactly. So when the “adventure” is not “fun”, “adventure” subtly changes in my mind to “stupid decision” or “I’m stupid for thinking it would be so easy”.
There is a lesson here for me. It is a lesson I have learned countless times– I just keep forgetting it. When circumstances wear me down like this it is always because I am stubbornly holding on to my idea of how I wanted things to go– how I’d dreamed they would go. Is the solution to stop dreaming? My generation (Gen Xers) was promised that we could be anything we wanted to be. To stop dreaming feels anathema or like giving up.
Maybe I need to change how I dream. I tend to hold my dreams with closed fists –suffocating and stifling them. Perhaps open hands let dreams be natural and free. Then, without being trite, maybe I can say, with much deeper meaning, “God is in control.”
I hate having to pry my fingers loose.