Uncontrollable Control


I tend to be a nervous traveler.

As much as I wish it weren’t so, whenever a plane is involved I’m usually on the brink of a meltdown.

On the outside, most would never know. I’m composed and calculated; prepared and poised.

But on the inside? We’re talking knots in the stomach, loss of appetite, sweaty palms, tense muscles, and a rapid pulse.

Each time we fly, I try to talk rationally to myself, listing out the facts and statistics of how a plane is safer than a car, hoping it will ease my anticipation. It never fully works.

Last week Big Fisch and I boarded the plane for a quick flight across the Atlantic to the peaceful island of Bermuda.

As the plane took off I found myself mentally singing Somewhere in my Memory (you know, the Christmas song from Home Alone) and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands…the two songs that my subconscious mind apparently finds quite comforting.   ( ….your best guess is as good as mine.)

While keeping these songs on a mental repeat, I longed for a big pill to knock me out and a tall glass of vodka to wash it down. I craned my neck as I sat wringing my hands, staring at the first class passengers, coveting their extra space and fancy cocktails. My creepy fixation was broken as I felt Big Fisch smiling at me with that amused, knowing look in his eye. Dang it I thought. I hate when he’s in my head.

I sat back and took a deep breath, allowing my thoughts to ponder life as we flew through puffy white clouds resembling whipped cream.

2011-2013 1950

As I let my shoulders relax, it was if I heard God whisper, “Heather – I’m just as much in control of you in the air, as I am when you’re walking on the sidewalk.”

But, but…on the sidewalk, I have control. In the air I have none!

“You, child, never have control. Your perception of control is self-created. Only I, am in control of all things.”

I let it sink in for a moment and realized how true in fact that was.

God has no less control of my life while I fly through the sky, than He does when I stroll along the street. Likewise, He has no less control of my life when the going gets tough, than He does when everything seems happy go lucky.

Yet I often live my life as if that weren’t so. When feelings of disenchantment set in and tomorrow doesn’t seem as hopeful as it once did, I can begin to think  it’s up to me to create “happiness”.

When I’m struggling to find my confidence and the “plan” for my future path seems unclear, I often think that God’s control over my situation must be slipping away. And then I push, plan, and act to create my own sense of control, peace, and order. Yet action without guidance is futile.

All I am adding to my life when I think and live this way is unnecessary stress, worry, and overly tense muscles.

I serve a God who is in control of all things. Good and bad. Clean and messy. Pretty and ugly.  My sense of control is an illusion. I have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will bring. My world could be flipped upside down, but the truth would still remain:

He is in control of all things.

In this, there is so much rest and so little need to panic.

I may not be able to completely master the physical anxiety I feel when traveling through the sky (I mean come on, the concept is a little bizarre).  But I can remind my heart and my mind over and over again of what God’s word says: The Lords plans for me are good; His ways are far greater than my ways; believing that He is holding out on me is a lie; and He will never, ever leave me or forsake me.