Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"'I've lost control!' That is what good people say when bad things happen to them. 'I've lost control of my life!' I have said it myself, but it is not true. Human beings do not lose control of their lives. What we lose is the illusion that we were ever in control of our lives in the first place, and it is a hard, hard lesson to learn--so hard that most of us have to go back to the blackboard again and again, because we keep thinking that there must be some way to work it out, some way to master the human condition so that there are no leaks in it, no scares, no black holes. As far as I know, it cannot be done. Maybe that is why it is called the human condition. Like asthma or myopia, being human is a condition we live with--a splendid one in most respects--but one with certain built-in limitations. Some things will budge for us and some will not. We cannot fly. We cannot live forever. We cannot control everything that happens to us. That is the human condition, and it can be frightening, because what that means is we cannot choose all the circumstances of our lives. All we can really choose is how we respond to them, and that is why it takes a lot of courage to be a human being." - Barbara Brown Taylor


  • How true, Mike. Great post. Thanks to Barbara Taylor too.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 11/17/2004 04:22:00 PM  

  • Thank you for this post... you have no idea how I needed to hear all of this today. For whatever reason you were driven to share this excerpt, I'm glad you did.

    By Blogger Holly, at 11/17/2004 08:09:00 PM  

  • Much-needed words today, Mike. My question is...if God is in control, why is my house such a mess? If he created the universe in seven days, how hard would it be for him to do my laundry? Just wondering.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 11/18/2004 06:31:00 AM  

  • You reminded me of an instruction my voice coach gave me, an eon ago, that seems to apply here. How would God want me to handle the trials and problems that inevitably enter my life, giving the impression I've lost control?

    She explained that the voice must float on air from the diaphram, much like a cork floats on water - neither one puts any pressure on the other - they just float together, up and down the musical scale.

    It isn't the easiest thing to do, but during those 'out of control' times, if I remember to let the problems 'float' on the water of God's strength and His love; relying on His wisdom - expecting His promised grace, there comes a peace in His comfort and support that is truly one of His greatest miracles in my life.

    It is an ongoing process to not only believe this, but to remember to put it in practice, and as a totally human human being :) I often forget to do so. But it's becoming easier to remember and apply the concept. Hopefully, by the time I reach the rapidly approaching 8th decade of life, it will be more automatic. :)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 11/18/2004 06:44:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Have you ever read any of Greg Boyd's stuff on Open Theism? It has really helped me to understand the war we are in, and that yes, things do happen, but it is our faith in God to work things towards His desired end, and my cooperation with His efforts in this spiritual war that make a difference.

    It's not exactly the same as what you're talking about, but it is related. When I read this, I immediately thought of Dr. Boyd's writings.

    By Blogger Brian Burkett, at 11/18/2004 08:32:00 AM  

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    By Blogger Brian Burkett, at 11/18/2004 08:32:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brian Burkett, at 11/18/2004 08:32:00 AM  

  • "If everything is under control, you're not going fast enough."
    -Mario Andretti

    By Blogger Beaner, at 11/18/2004 08:47:00 AM  

  • Think you're in control? Get married. Still think you're in control? Have kids. Still think you're in control? Grow old. OK, still think you've got it together? Give God some advice and see what happens.

    Every good thing in life is evidence that I am not in control. My wife is my greatest blessing. My kids come next. No matter how much I love them and how much they love me, control is not a word I would use to describe the relationship we have. Even growing old (OK I'm only 34, but there is that gray hair...on my ears!!!) is a blessing, but proof that I can't control aging. And certianly my relationship with God has got to be my biggest piece of evidence that I am not in control. Every plan I have ever made has been changed in large or small measure...or scrapped altogether Yeah, pretty much not in control.

    I love/hate the idea that I am not in control. However, the evidence keeps piling up that requires me to either accept that I am not in control or actively dive deeper into my own delusions. Sadly, I am a really good diver.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 11/18/2004 01:26:00 PM  

  • Even in the midst of this obvious happening that proves our lack of control over what happens around us, we sit in the midst of depression questioning things we did that led to the event which shows us life is out of control. We still fight with the illusion of control.

    A week after the conference in Dallas with you, my life has crashed, and I am picking up the pieces, but I continue to examine my decisions that preceeded the crash. What could I have done differently, why didn't I do this or that?

    Right now I am working on remembering the Hoyts to help me remember how God is working in my life and how much I can really control.

    By Blogger Eric, at 11/19/2004 06:37:00 AM  

  • I'm saying a prayer of thanks for a very special 10 year old girl I once knew, followed by a prayer for her sweet family whom I will always love, admire and hold very dear! God bless and comfort you all today!

    By Blogger SG, at 11/21/2004 09:17:00 AM  

  • Our lives are so linked to "one day at a time." Control takes so much more vision. Our ambitions and goals and 7-day weather forecasts have a lot in common. Every adult over 25 surely knows what spiral out of control. What a great reminder from this post since our memories are also linked to "one day at a time."

    By Blogger WDS, at 11/21/2004 02:44:00 PM  

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