I’m writing this on the way out to California to visit our eldest and her family. One thing about typing on a computer in a jet flying through turbulent weather is that I will at least be able to read this later. Not quite so easy were I writing this longhand. (Although, that challenge sometimes applies to my handwriting with my feet on terre firma also…)
We’re kinda intermittently bouncing around up here, which reminds me of the time I flew to the Big Apple by myself to see our youngest daughter’s first art show. At that time, closing in on the airport brought us directly into the path of a thunder and lightning storm, reminiscent of the Midwest I had just left. It was something out of the beginning of a Steven Spielberg movie; foreboding music was surely playing somewhere but I just couldn’t hear it since I was a part of the flick.
(You know something is bad when the flight attendants exchange ominous expressions.)
That’s when the sensation hit me—the realization that we are so very, very good at placating and relegating to the very far back corner of the brain’s frontal lobe:
No, we are most definitely NOT in control.
We like to think we are, feel we are, pretend we are, and come across to others that we are, but truth is, we’re not. At least, not fully.
I heard about the so-called “Imposter Syndrome” many years ago. It has to do with seasoned, well-trained professionals who have an irrational fear or thought-process that someday people will find out they don’t really know what they’re doing. Which is hogwash (well, most of the time…I hope). It may be the surgeon who has done this same procedure many times, or the diplomat who considers his success “luck” more than skill, or the airline pilot…wait a minute, let’s not go there right now.
So how does the truth of not being in full control of our lives gel with the Imposter Syndrome? I think perhaps they’re related because, embedded deep within each of us, is an obscuring of true identity, an identity based on our created-ness in the likeness of our eternal Creator. This breeds an insecurity that can surface regardless of the barriers we might use to keep it at bay, and whereas we were originally in full control in a beautiful garden as part of that identity, both were forfeited for the taste of a shiny “apple”.
Jesus did a little revisiting of this same situation:
And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living…”
Probably one of the most beloved parables of Jesus, this is a story of a son who thought he was in control of his life, but ended up losing his identity. And when he came to his senses…
“So he got up and came to [i]his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
The connection was reestablished. True identity was revealed, and control was redefined.
And our solution is the same thing, only it’s found in the story of a Cross and an Empty Tomb, the two of which provide the connection once again with our real selves and our real Creator.
At this part in our flight, the sunset is just beginning as we are still high above the clouds, but not entirely out of the bumpy air, (yet a subtle reminder). So the cap’t has turned the seatbelt light back on and asked everyone sit down and strap in. About an hour left in this flight until we touch down.
Except, then it’s onto the Los Angeles 405, during holiday traffic, possibly in the rain. I’m glad I’m not driving—I don’t even want to PRETEND to be in control of that.