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With my cell phone on the table next to me, I get excited when I hear the unique ring tone that indicates a call from someone special. You see this past year I have been navigating the ups and downs of a new relationship. More than navigating, I have been seeking to control the way it will play out.

It’s all an illusion, though. My own feeble attempt to fool myself into believing I have control. That by seeking to control the day to day interactions, I can somehow diminish the worry that I feel. The dis-ease that floods over me at unexpected moments, and in unforeseen situations.

You see, there have been some dark and isolating times in these past five years. Disappointments from interactions on dating websites. COVID-19 quarantine woes. Fear of rejection.

So much so that I try to hold tight to this relationship. Trying to control the past feelings of isolation, while struggling to prevent it from seeping into the present and overwhelming me. Seeking out control makes me believe I can actually guide where this relationship is going.

Yet in reality, I have no authority over another human heart. I dare not command the behaviors of another. And try as I might, I cannot see into a crystal ball and anticipate what the future holds for us as a couple. It is only the emotions of my own heart which I can direct.

So all I can do is relinquish my power to the One who orders my days and guides my sometimes sleepless nights. And when I do this, “The peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding will guide my mind and heart.” (Philippians 4:6)

Oh, to experience such peace!

There are no special things I can do to receive Christ's peace except for prayer. And to allow Christ to take control of my life. When I do this, only then will the worry of the future cease, and freedom will be mine, at last.

That’s how it is for me and my Lord. The life I have chosen to live. It’s not a magical wand waved over this relationship. It’s just my own heart-level trust of Christ. And it’s the grace and peace which God offers to me when I surrender the control I never really had.

At the very heart of me, I know that God wants the absolute best for me. The most healthy, romantic relationship possible. The most fulfilling vocation while serving as chaplain. The best health I can achieve. The love and support of family and friends. God wants this for me, and so much more.

I don’t get to just sit back and have it handed to me. On the contrary, I have my part to play in this all by offering my best. Yet ultimately, even as I give my best in all aspects of my life, I have no real control.

And that unhinges me.