Cam Taylor

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The Great Control Hoax

You may think it’s true but it isn’t.  The last two lines of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley puts it this way: I am the master of my fate/ I am the captain of my soul. These words couldn’t be further from the truth.

On one level, we do have control.  We do make choices that have predetermined consequences.  We do guide our own vessel through stormy and calm seas to a predetermined destination.  We take initiative.  Lead people. Go about living.

But (and it’s a big but) if you and I think we “actually” control the outcome of where our life will go or not go on any given day, that’s where the problem lies.

A “I’m Not In Control” Story

It was a typical Saturday morning in April of 2011.  The weather forecast was for sun and warmer weather, the first we’d had after a long and damp winter.  Our plan was coming together. It started with a morning run then it was off to Superstore with my wife for our weekly grocery shop.  Then once returning home, it was down to the insurance store to buy six months of insurance for some summer riding pleasure.

Now I didn’t think about it at the time, but in my subconscious I was assuming things that day would go according to plan.  After all, hadn’t I been riding for 20 years without incident?  Did I wear the proper riding gear, ride defensively and watch every car in sight for even a hint they might not see me?  Yes – I was in control!

Well, on April 23, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. the control hoax was broken and so was I. The car did come from a side road without seeing us and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

The counter point?

  • You and I do not control our lives. We do not control the definite outcome on any given day. We make plans. We try our best to stay out of trouble, eat healthy, make wise decisions but unfortunately (or fortunately) we are not in control.

Who is in control?  Is God?  If I said He was, how do you react to that?  Do you get angry and quit reading? Do you look up and say, “If you’re in control, then why don’t you stop the suffering, the accidents and all the pain in the world?” 

That’s a fair question in light of how we like to have someone to blame for our lack of control.

Some food for thought:

We live in a broken world where stuff happens that is outside our control. Our best bet is to put our trust in a reliable God who lives outside of time and will keep our best interest in mind in the long eternal run.

That may not answer every question or satisfy every “why” but it takes the pressure off from us always trying to keep everything under control.

How do you break free from the great control hoax?

  • Choose daily to let go of your need to control the outcome of every day.
  • Make your daily plan according to a deeper purpose.
  • Live with childlike trust in a personal God who has your best interest in mind.
  • Live with the end in mind and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • Allow for detours that may be exactly what you need.

When have you believed in the great control hoax? 
What did it take for you to realize it was a hoax?

About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

3 Replies

  1. Shirlene Henning.

    When I was “younger”…I was in control, so I thought. Going through difficult times, in different stages…etc….I didn’t have to go check on Snopes.com, to find out that I was a total ‘hoax’!! Great words Cam.

  2. Bonnie snider

    Thanks for your word today, Cam. It’s right on!! 6 months ago cancer hadn’t hit our family except for treatable melanoma. Now we face leukemia and a 2 year treatment plan. God is good and He has always been in control of my life, but now I really know it.
    We trust Him daily, take each day as a gift and thank Him for it.
    Love to all,
    Bonnie

    1. Thanks Bonnie for a very real example of our true lack of control. Your attitude of faith and gratitude amidst your challenging journey has been a real encouragement. So glad you joined the conversation here on the blog. Blessings!

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