At times it seems threatening to me that my wife feel stressed and anxious. I employ various efforts to get her away from there – carrots, sticks, logic.
A man recovering from surgery and chemo feels anxiety about his exhaustion and lack of concentration. He pushes and shoves himself to “get it together already.”
My son finds his sister’s practicing her class songs annoying. He complains, insults, and sometimes resorts to force to regain quiet.
The goal of control is based on a certain logic: that circumstances have the power to cause our experience. Said another way: we seem to feel what we feel because some thing or event is pressing on us: my wife’s mood, the chemo patient’s lack of performance, my son’s distaste for his sister’s singing. Inside that logic, it just looks like a good idea to try to manage myself and the world around me, to worry about what might be, to leverage internal and external pressures to make things go the way I need.
It’s a flawed logic, and an exhausting, fool’s errand.
The actual source of our experience is what God is making known to us – right now. Sometimes He constricts our vision – much the way He placed us in Egypt. Sometimes He releases our bonds. When we understand that, we don’t objectify (aka worship) the circumstances of our life as source. Hence, it looks less compelling to control them. We don’t camp out in constriction. We’re open to God’s loving guidance.
Perhaps this is what God is showing Avraham when he tells him to “go…to the place I will show you” (Gen. 12:1) without telling him where.
Live and go where I’m showing you, G-d tells him. You might have thoughts or concerns beyond that. You might be interested in Step 100. Right now you’re on Step 1, or 5, or 17. Exerting yourself to anticipate or manage Step 100 leaves precious little consciousness to take advantage of what I’m showing you here.
This is not advice to not think about Step 100. It’s just an understanding that when your mind worries about Step 100 (because we are human, after all), it’s not really telling you much about Step 100. It’s telling you about the constricted view in the step you presently occupy. Let it be; not knowing more than God shows us, and the discomfort we associate with it, is very much part of our journey.
We are all on a journey to the place He will show us. He’s an expert guide.