A friend and I have been talking lately about the story of the rich young ruler, who came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to have eternal life. When Jesus summarizes the ten commandments, the young man says he has kept them all. (Really? Wow.) Then Jesus says to him, "You lack just one thing." Jesus tells him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. And the man goes away, sad, because he has lots of stuff and he's not going to sell it. (Mark 10:17-22) So here's the question: if Jesus stood in front of me today, what just one thing would he tell me that I lack?
I'd say there's a high probability my just one thing would have something to do with giving up control in some area of my life. I bet I would need to "let go and let God" in some new way. Because it seems to me that so many of the things that keep me stunted and sick have to do with control.
People-pleasing? Trying to control the emotions of other people--often so I can get what I want with less resistance.
Perfectionism? Controlling outcomes--and feeding on praise, which is controlling how other people feel about me.
Unforgiveness? Wanting to be in control of other people, needing things to be my way or the highway.
Anxiety over the future? Clearly, wishing I could be in control of the cosmos.
And the list could go on. You can see that need for control in the rich young ruler, too. He's kept all the commandments (or so he says), but he won't sell his stuff. And what does stuff mean to us? Status (control over other people) and safety (control over the future) are two big ones.
I sometimes wonder if any of the things that keep me stunted and sick don't have to do with control.