God is In Control


In July of this summer we went on a family vacation to Maui. This was a wonderful trip with many exciting activities, but one adventure stands out in my mind more then all the others. And in the midst of this adventure the Lord used my fifteen-year old son to teach me how to "let go of my need for control".

When my husband and I were making arrangements for this vacation we decided to plan and book the entire trip on-line. We had never done this before, but I'm pretty good on the computer, so one Sunday in March we dug out our credit card, logged on and in only three hours we had ourselves a vacation planned.

Well, a week or two later I was on-line again with the purpose of booking some activities for our family to participate in while on Maui. I booked a luau, a magic show and lastly, something called a "Kayak and Snorkeling Adventure".

Who knew we were going to be required to kayak over three miles that day? Who knew that there would be almost four hours of kayaking? Who knew we could get seasick on a kayak? Who knew how out of shape we really were? We certainly didn't know any of this - until that day that is.

And actually the trip was wonderful in a lot of ways. We enjoyed snorkeling with Sea Turtles, and seeing an amazing array of beautiful tropical fish. But the most noteworthy aspect of our kayaking adventure was learning to kayak as a team. My husband was paired up with our eight-year old daughter in one kayak and I was paired up with our fifteen-year old son in the other. The type of kayaking we experienced was not cutting smoothly and swiftly through a scenic glassy lake, it was straining every muscle in our arms and backs to cut through the choppy ocean swells.

My son, who although he is only fifteen, is built like a tank - standing several inches taller then me and outweighing me by close to a hundred pounds. He works out regularly and is a football player. Let's just say he was a real good choice for the strong, back seat rider. We were instructed that the backseat kayak occupant was to use his paddles to steer the kayak, while the front person just keeps on paddling. And as we found out, once we got out on the open sea, this trip was going to require constant steering and readjustment of our position in order not to loose sight of our guide.

This really should not have been a problem, only I refused to just let go and allow my son to take control. I would constantly try to steer our kayak and change our course. I thought that I was in a better position to judge where we should be going. Consequently, my son and I would be fighting each other with our opposite moves. He finally said to me "Mom, unless you stop trying to steer, I cannot do my job".

And as God so often does, he used this incident to teach me a deeper lesson about "letting go of my need for control".

It is God's desire to lead each one of us. To plainly show us his will for our lives and lead us toward the best decision in every circumstance. God is trustworthy to always show us the best way (although this may take some time in prayer and counsel with those we trust in order to reach a conclusion as to which way God is leading). If we allow the Lord to steer, he will make our lives an enjoyable adventure. But if we start thinking we know better and take over the control - watch out!

It's so easy to sidestep God's Word and commands in favor of doing our own thing. We may really love the Lord, with a true desire to serve him and obey him, but with a stubborn streak that deludes us into thinking that his word does not apply to us or to our particular situation. When that happens, we have taken over the control of our lives (the kayak) and we will now go in circles - getting nowhere with a whole lot of effort!

Think of it this way; the kayak guide is the word of God. We always adjust our position to follow the guide so we don't get lost. The backseat rider in the kayak is the Holy Spirit, sent to lead us into all truth. It's our job to paddle hard (live our lives to the best of our ability) it's his job to steer!

Paula Friedrichsen is available to speak at your church or ladies retreat: 760-935-4295 pjfministries@hotmail.com

Paula Friedrichsen is a Christian Speaker and newspaper columnist from Mammoth Lakes, California. She has developed "The Abundant Life Seminar" to educate and inspire women toward greater fulfillment - spiritually, physically and relationally. To schedule her for your upcoming conference / retreat, or to learn more about this presentation (or other topics Paula speaks on) go to her website www.pfministries.com - or call 760-935-4295

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