God called Eve Adam’s helpmate, and as a helpmate myself, I take my job seriously. I help my husband drive. I help my husband talk. I help my husband dress.
In fact, I don’t know how he’d get anywhere if I weren’t in the car telling him where to turn and when to slow down. If it weren’t for me, I’m pretty sure he’d wear sweatpants and a dirty T-shirt every day of his life. He needs me—or, at least, that’s what I think. He doesn’t seem to agree, however.
My husband thinks he can do it all by himself—drive places, put on his clothes, finish a sentence. That is why my life is often overwhelmed. I don’t understand why people can’t just accept my control as not only inevitable but necessary. After all, four eyes are better than two, and what I’m really trying to do is help. I mean, I wouldn’t have to help him if he didn’t miss perfectly good parking spots or look as if he were about to run over pedestrians. I wouldn’t have to help him if he were more interested in dressing for success. Essentially, I wouldn’t have to help him so much if he just did everything the way I think he should do it. Problem solved!
Or is it?
I know my husband doesn’t like it when I show him how much smarter I am, and I know “Let me help” is just another way to say, “You wanna fight?” I try desperately not to “help” him, but it feels so counterintuitive that I can hardly hold my tongue. For example, while he’s driving down the street talking, I often don’t hear a word he says because I’m thinking, Please take this next left! It’s much quicker than going straight. I bite my tongue, though, as he continues to talk so that by the time we get to the light I’m unable to hold it any longer. “Aren’t you going to take Andrew Jackson Parkway?” I squeak out quickly, so as not to interrupt him for too long.
He then says, “Okay, so I guess it’s more important to direct me than to listen to me. Have you learned nothing?”
No, I haven’t!
“Oh, no, I’m very interested in your story. I’m so sorry I interrupted you. Please go on.” (Growth, apparently, means not always saying what you are thinking.)
The truth is, whenever I’m not in control of a situation, I look for any opportunity to take control simply because I know things are faster, safer, smarter, and more comfortable when I’m in charge.
I guess you could say I have a problem with stupid people, and my definition of stupid is anybody who doesn’t agree with me or do things the way I do—because I’m pretty much always right. I’ve dedicated my life to it.
I never think that what I am doing and enjoying is wrong. If I thought it were wrong, I wouldn’t be doing it. If, for some reason, I were doing what was wrong, I would be doing it only because I thought it was the right thing to do. Duh!
Since I’m making good choices and if you aren’t doing it the way I am, you are doing it wrong. Because I love you and care about your choices, I need to correct you so you know the right way to do it. That why I am constantly giving advice without being asked.
When we yearn for control, it is because we are discontent with how things are going. This discontentment speaks more to who we think God is than to who we think others are. Discontentment keeps us on edge. It keeps us on the lookout for error and in constant conflict with the world around us.
On the other hand, when we sit back and trust that God can speak to the other person as easily as he can speak to us and when we realize our ways are not the only ways and that love sometimes lets others be wrong, then we can come to the conclusion it won’t mean the end of the world if we stay quiet. Rather, it might mean just an extra five minutes to get there. A quiet heart is a joy to possess.
When we learn to live in the reality of the presence of God in all things, we no longer find ourselves playing god in the lives of others, directing their paths, determining their steps, and assuming they would fall headlong into disaster without us.
It is only a sense of Godlike correctness that compels us to take control where no control is needed. However, a soul that waits silently on the Lord finds relational relief. Psalm 62:1 says it best: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”