When my niece was little, she always had the corner of a little blanket or burp cloth in her mouth. It was adorable. She was adorable.
She’s still adorable, but she no longer walks around with a blanket. She gave up the security blanket on her timing, without coercion or bribes. I’m confident before she completely stopped, there were times when she left it behind and then, moments later, ran back to grab it when she realized she was flying solo.
Control is a security blanket for me. I feel safe when things, feelings, and people are ordered, understood, and in their proper place. It is far easier to order my house and office than it is others. There is something deceivingly alluring and falsely secure about feeling in control. One of my good friends and I often say to each other, “Get off their pillow.” It’s a phrase we read several years ago in author Donald Miller’s post about how trying to “excessively know” people can be about control. We’re doing better but still struggle with cozying up onto others’ pillows without being invited.
Giving up control is grieving. It is giving up the death grip on things, people, or self. It is letting go of the need to know outcomes, motives, or next steps. It is saying goodbye to the false security of control in exchange for the true freedom that comes from trust.
Grieving isn’t a bad thing (unless we decide to camp out there).
God can use grief to transform us into children who trust their Parent rather than false idols or security blankets. Like my niece, eventually, I must get rid of these things if I wish to grow.
From my 2018 Lent Devotion for the “Love’s Sorrow” series at First Baptist Church.