The illusion of control

My success as a mother is not dependent on the contents of my child’s toilet.

Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?  What is it about potty training that drives us batty? Why do we bemoan every accident like we have no worth as a parent?

Learning life skills in the summer
Learning life skills in the summer

Potty training shatters our illusion of control.  Now, we may have a plan.  We may have read a fool-proof way to potty train in an hour and a half with no accidents ever, we may have the treats proven to be the most effective for our child, but ultimately, the bodily control is out of our hands.  We scream at the poop on the carpet because we have no control over it.

Why do we protest when our illusion of control is shattered?  Control keeps our world safe.  If I am the BOSS, I can ensure nothing will happen that will hurt me.  If something does get through to hurt me, that just means that I need to try harder.

I think that’s the hardest part of relating to God.  We have to yield the illusion of control to HIM.  I say “yield the illusion” rather than “yield the control” because we have less control of our lives than the contents of our child’s toilet.  We have to tell ourselves that we are safe under His control and unsafe under our own.

Having a child with a defect shattered my illusion of control.  Makes you really rely on God when there is nothing in your power that will teach your child to swallow.

Shattering the illusion of control
Shattering the illusion of control

The true danger lies in how quickly we reassume our illusion of control.  Seriously, not three months after God proved His control in teaching my child to swallow, my world again shattered in the impossible.  “If you can center his pre maxilla by using this tape and rubber bands, it will improve his outcomes significantly.”  Sometimes, no matter how many people are praying, no matter how much glue you put on (after moving heaven, earth, and a donkey I suspect was used to bring it up the mountain), the tape won’t stick, and the best outcomes won’t happen.  I am not in control.

I must trust in the goodness of God.

Ps. 100:3 “Know that the Lord is God.  It is He who made us, and we are his”

God is the BOSS.  He is in control.  He made my kids’ bladders, and He made my son’s mouth.  In the significant and insignificant things, He is the BOSS.  Control isn’t an illusion to Him; He created the concept.

Ps. 100:5 “For the Lord is good, and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Not only is He the BOSS, He is good and loving and faithful, not just to me, but for my children.

As I am anticipating surgery #3 this week, I need to remember this.  Not gonna lie, I’m dreading the recovery much more than the surgery.  In the surgery, I know I’m not in control (that’s the very capable surgeon who I love).  However, in the aftermath, I am.  It’s my job to keep the no-nos on his arms so he can’t put anything in his mouth to threaten his newly repaired palate.  It’s my job to give him food when he can’t eat solids.  However, while I am responsible, I am not fully in control.  Despite my best efforts, something may happen to threaten the success of this surgery.  I know this, because we have had worrisome things happen after each surgery.

I cannot control how a 23-month-old will adjust to recovery.

I must yield the control to the One Who made him and loves him.

What does that look like?  That submission to “not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition make your requests known to God” (Phil 4:6).  Emotionally prepping myself by considering all that might be difficult will not help as much as practicing resting in the goodness of the God Who is in control.

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