Sunday, July 29, 2012

Me? Control Freak? Nah...

A number of years ago, I bought the Power of a Praying Wife book and read it. I kept having to go back & re-read the first chapter or two because I just couldn't soak it all in. It struck deep down. You see, the first chapter or two are primarily about shutting my mouth & submitting to my husband. Heaven knows I need a reminder to shut up regularly, so this book ministered to me. (big grin!) For a long time, I did pretty good at the mouth-shutting part. But apparently it's time for me to read the book again because in the last year or so, I have found that Larry is commenting about me nagging and I try to look back & recognize what I was doing. Sometimes I see it. Other times I find myself trying to justify it "Well I had to say something! You were going to ____ and I knew it would cause ____." Honestly, if I just shut up & let him go ahead and do what he's trying to do, 9 times out of 10, I am either proven wrong or he recognizes his mistake and comes to me to apologize for it---without me ever having to part my lips.

God is good like that.

But today I had a seriously difficult time with this area of my life. I should preface all of this with this little bit of information. For the past 10 years or so, Savannah has gone to visit a couple of girlfriends (twin sisters) who live about 3 hours away. We have *always* met in the same place to drop off/pick her up. It's the halfway point for both of us to drive. I've been there so many times in the last decade that I could practically drive it in my sleep. I have a very specific route to follow, I know the exit # by heart. Larry has only made the drive with me a few times over the years, and he's even when he has, I've driven the route most of the times that he's come along so this is sort of one of those things that is "mine".

Secondary to that, I hate to be late anywhere I go. I'd much rather arrive early or "right on time" than to ever have to make someone wait for me. When I am scheduled to meet somewhere it bugs me if they don't plan their day well enough to arrive on time so as to not waste my time!

Back to the story of what happened today.

We were set to pick up Savannah at our usual location at 2:00. It's about 1 1/2 hours away. The plan was to leave from church (about 12-12:15) and swing through a fast food place on the way. I thought that getting food wouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes, so worst case scenario, we could reach our location by 2:00. However, at 12:57, we were only 2 miles from the church, sitting in a Burger King parking lot. That's when panic set in. Knowing that there was NO WAY we could make it by 2:00, I texted the dad who was driving Savannah and her friends to let him know we would be late. We got on the road and from the moment we pulled out of the parking lot, I found myself fighting to keep my mouth shut. Perhaps I would've done well to locate a roll of duct tape for my mouth...instead, I chose to stuff it with fries for the first few miles.

The interstate highway we needed to get to was north of the Burger King where we stopped. Larry left Burger King heading south. (Ladies, I can hear all of you. Trust me, I felt the same way!!) I tried to come up with a reason why he might be traveling in that direction, attempting to discern if he had forgotten that we needed to go pick up Savannah or if he had another path in mind to reach the highway. I really wanted to ask him, but felt like bringing it up would irritate him and make me look like a nag, so I kept trying to stay quiet and let him run the show. After driving a couple of minutes, it was eating me alive so I asked him quietly if he was going to take the toll road. He said yes. I went back into my mental conversation, trying to think of where that road leads.

Does it lead all the way out to the Interstate?
No, I don't think it does. It stops at another highway miles & miles from Interstate.
Maybe he plans to turn there & drive through some other roads that I'm not aware of to reach the Interstate.

Does he have any idea where he's going?
Is he just going to make us later than we are already going to be?
Doesn't he remember how to get there?
Grrrrrr! Stop driving, Larry! Just turn around & go the way I always go. I KNOW that route and can tell you where to turn and everything!

After turning on the toll road, I asked how long he thought it might take to get out to the Interstate. He just shrugged, clearly unconcerned about the time it would take to reach our destination. He even had the gall to turn on the radio & sing along to the music. (Can you believe the nerve of him?) I couldn't even concentrate on the music because I was chewing through my tongue & squeezing the handle off the door in an attempt to keep my mouth shut and let him do the driving.

You should know that my husband is the king of back roads, short cuts, little side roads that I've never seen or heard of. So I kept trying to tell myself that maybe he had a plan and we'd get there somewhere close to on time. But after driving for nearly 40 minutes, we were still passing things I recognized, things that I thought were a LONG way from the Interstate--we weren't making it to the interstate NEARLY quick enough. And after years of driving like a bat out of, well, you know... my husband has turned into a grandpa behind the wheel. As you can imagine, his strict notion of sticking to 5-10mph under the speed limit was driving me BANANAS as well. I even reached over & pressed the cruise control button, showing him how he could speed up & set the cruise to keep his speed up. After all, I'm sure he couldn't locate that button on his own, right? I was just trying to be helpful.

It struck me about that time that I needed to pray. I needed God to cover my mouth and set my mind at ease. We would surely arrive at the location. We would certainly pick up Savannah and bring her home as planned. If it meant getting there a little late, so be it.

But even as I prayed that, I kept having these fantasy images in my head where I threw Larry out of the driver's seat, took over and drove us back the route I wanted to go--the roads that are familiar to me. It felt good to smile and roll down the window, wind whipping through my hair, as I took control of the situation and saved the day, arriving on time to the destination. {Yeah, I fantasies are a little goofy.} And it was as I was imagining this scene that God whispered to me.

Let go, daughter. Even if you did talk him into going back to the road you want to take, you'd still be late. Let go. Submit to him the way you are called to submit to me.

Umm, ouch.

It struck me as I wrestled with my fleshly desire to take over and get our van on the "right" roads, that I often wrestle with fleshly desires to take control of so many other parts of my world. I don't need to take over the driver's seat. I don't even need to open my mouth. He's got this.

Submission, my me.

As we got farther and farther down a bunch of little dirt roads, as we turned onto the 13th or 14th county road that I didn't recognize, I still felt nervous. I didn't want the people bringing Savannah to be sitting and waiting. I didn't want them checking their watches and tapping their feet and wishing that they'd never let Savannah come stay with them at all since we were so rude in getting there to pick her up on time. They had plans to get to a ball game tonight. Would our arrival time make them late? I had it in my head that I could apologize in some big dramatic way & point to my husband, sure to indicate that it was HIS idea to take this crazy route that made us so late.

Shut your mouth, beloved. Don't point fingers. Quit worrying. Relax and submit to your husband's leadership.

But, but, but....I don't wanna. I want to take control of this.

And then it happened. We finally reached the Interstate highway we needed to be on. We were entering the roadway at an unusual point that I didn't recognize. Knowing the exit number we needed to reach, I checked the mile marker as we entered the highway. To my surprise, we were only 14 miles from the destination. I checked the dash board clock. It was 1:47pm.

Talk about a punch in the gut. All of my fears, all of my desires to take the wheel, all of my fretting over being late and frustrating our friends, all of that was for nothing. We would make it on time after all.

Be quiet, my daughter. Relax. Trust your husband. Trust me.

We pulled into the parking spot at 2:05. We went inside and used their restrooms and came back outside to sit at a shady table until we spotted our friends. They walked up just moments after we sat down, having just arrived themselves. It turns out they were running late as well.

Funny how God works out those little details.

I learned a lesson in submission today. Again.

Submission both to my husband's leadership and to God's: I was reminded of all the many, many situations I am trying my best to fix my way. I was reminded to let go and allow God to control things. I was reminded that I need to take my hands off the wheel and let God drive. Even if I disagree with the route life takes...even if I don't recognize what's going on or why...I am not in control.

And that's okay. I will reach the right destination at the time God has appointed for me to reach it. And I will be RIGHT ON TIME.

(Note: If you should feel the need to argue submission in marriage with me, feel free to privately email I will not post comments that are rude or argumentative on this blog post. Biblical submission is not at all what most people think. I am no doormat!)

1 comment:

Missy (overjoyed) said...

There seems to be a need for this topic today. I have seen at least one other blog post and several status updates about it scroll by this morning on my FB feed. I love this story!