How do we determine the difference between being conscientious (our part) and being in control (God’s job)?
My first thought was to really think the meaning about these two words. I understand ‘control’ all too well. What about ‘conscientious’?
Conscientiousness is not just about getting to the church on time, in a freshly-ironed outfit. It is a fundamental personality trait that influences whether people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choices or behave impulsively, and take seriously obligations to others. Conscientiousness is a key ingredient in success, but the off-the-charts conscientious may court perfectionism by setting their sites too high. www.psychologytoday.com/basics/conscientiousness
Ok. So, we can act deliberately, without having to be in control. In my role as leader at work, I am deliberate over most all of my choices and don’t obligate myself unless I plan to carry through. It is so easy though, to fall into that control trap. Sometimes, at home especially, I find myself controlling things that really don’t matter.
When my daughter was an infant, I read a lot of books with advice for the new mother. Some of the advice was hogwash, but I do remember something that resonated with me. The book suggested that when my husband tried to help – pack the diaper bag, change the diaper, dress the baby – to just accept that how he does it WILL be different than how I do it and that it’s OKAY! Wow, that author knew that ladies usually become Captain Control with their babies and that Dad needed to be cut a little slack!
So how can we determine the difference between conscientiousness and control? I think the key for me is trying to make sure the plumb line is always what God’s wants, not the way I want things to be or I feel comfortable with. Boy, that’s a tough one. It is a constant battle against our flesh to remain Christ-like, but first we must give up the illusion of control. Then we must seek His guidance (through the Word), and ultimately submit to His will.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21 NIV11