Thursday, February 10, 2011

Playing God

I believe that stress is an indication that we have an idol in our life.
In particular, I think the idol is wanting to be in control. Or, in other words, wanting to "play God."

It seems that a major root of sin is the desire to be God. Just look at Genesis 3:5-6.

"'For God knows that when you eat of [the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil], your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.' ... When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband...and he ate it."

Greg Ogden writes, "The phrase good and evil is synonymous with all knowledge. It means to aspire to knowledge on the level that only God has -- omniscience... The first humans were forbidden from aspiring to a knowledge possessed by only God himself, whereby they might consider themselves free from dependence on him" (p.85, Discipleship Essentials).

...they might consider themselves free from dependence on him...

The truth of this phrase haunts me. I see it all around me in the world, and also in my own life. We walk around most of our days somehow believing the devil's illusions that we are in control of our lives. Stress comes from the fear that we are losing control, or that we don't have control over the situation, or that we've failed if we don't keep things in control.

My life used to be ruled by stress. It wasn't until this summer with the full-blown agoraphobic attack that I realized just how destructive my attempts of control really were. That was a really dark time in my life, but I am so thankful for it. Through that time, God revealed that I had been living under the false guise that I had everything in control. My lack of trust in God never really impeded me from living, and I never acknowledged it as a problem. I always thought that it was just a part of who I was and that was completely fine. Since then, God has been healing me and teaching me to trust him. For the first time.

Being pregnant has elevated my awareness of wanting to play God. During the first trimester, I would freak out about every little thing, thinking it was the sign of a miscarriage. Somehow I realized (probably through the wisdom of my husband), that I absolutely had to let go. Let's say I made it through the first trimester with no problems (I did). Something could still go wrong in the second or third trimester. And then when the baby is born. And then when the baby goes to school, goes out with friends in high school, goes to college, etc. etc. etc. If I didn't let go and acknowledge that this little baby is completely God's child first and foremost, I was going to drive myself crazy for the rest of my life.

Friends, we need to remember that God is God.
We need to be aware of the times when we are tempted to play God.
And we need to be thankful that He is ultimately in control.

Let's face it-- He's got the advantage. ;) I certainly don't want to be in charge of the greater Narrative of the world.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Matthew 6:25-53

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