I am a bit of a control freak. At a minimum, I like to think that I am in charge of what is happening to me. Then I usually extrapolate that concept to some extent onto the people around me that I interact with on a regular basis who I depend upon (or who depend upon me). In other words, I think other people are in charge of what is happening to themselves as well. While we may influence one another as we accomplish work together and maintain relationships with one another, my initial philosophy is that everyone decides autonomously, and has total freedom of choice when determining the meaning and purpose of their own life. The age-old debate about free will versus predestination persists, and today’s readings underscore what a fool I am to think that we are in charge.
Obviously, God is in charge. We don’t choose God, but rather he chooses us. It is not possible to do enough good to win God’s favor, or even begin to balance out the bad. Christ died for our sins, and that’s it. The “Popeye Sermon” that Father Rob presented last year about becoming energized when “I can stands what I can, but I can’t stands no more!” underscores all the motivation that I should require to try and eat some spinach and make a difference. But the fact is, it isn’t me at all (and it’s not even the spinach), but God who is using me to carry out his will. In fact, I don’t even like spinach that much.
There are many problems and troubles that go along with being in charge. It often creates a lot of anxiety, worry, and fear that causes stress, which can then sometimes lead to destructive behaviors to relieve the stress. So after today’s readings, I kind of like the idea of letting God be in charge. I just wish he didn’t make me such a control freak. Is it up to him or up to me to change that? The age-old debate about free will versus predestination persists.