You are not in control.
Richard Rohr identifies this as an elemental truth passed on in traditional societies when a child is about to become an adult.*
When we try and control things then it tends to get ugly. Donald Miller and his wife Betsy identified five kinds of controller, or manipulator, just from watching interviews on TV.
Scorekeepers – they control the scores, and they always win;
Judges – are those who are always right;
False heroes – promise to deliver something wonderful in the future;
Fearmongers – appear invulnerable and control by fear;**
Floppers – who control by extracting sympathy and attention.
I have met all the above but, more alarmingly, I spot the seeds of each in me.
Hopefully I’m learning to spot them and prevent them growing. The trouble is, unchecked, these behaviours rob people of integrity and wholeness and perseverance, and are the loneliest of people.
Respectively, these traits are tackled by true humility and courage, gratitude and generosity, and, faithfulness and wisdom.
Seth Godin comments, ‘It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative.’^ The better way is to give up trying to control and instead, behind the scenes, become co-conspirators of goodness and kindness freeing one another to flourish.
(*From Richard Rohr’s Adam’s Return. There are five altogether, the other four being: Life is hard; You are not as special as you think; Your life is not about you; and, You are going to die.)
(**This made me think of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada.)
(^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)