What Number One Priority Controls Your Decision Making Process?

What Number One Priority Controls Your Decision Making Process?

I had brought my walking stick, so with careful navigation and a moderate pace, I managed the nearly mile long trek along the breakwater without incident. It felt like a tiny victory, because even before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, I had begun to notice some balance issues. The uneven surface, the movement of the waves, and my poor equilibrium all contributed to my sense that I was not in control of the situation and had put myself at risk.

Control and I are old buddies. Maintaining a sense of control over my surroundings motivates my clutter-busting activities at home. The need to control my schedule has prompted me recently to turn down some very good opportunities.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with setting boundaries and living within them. However, when control becomes an idol for me, I pull the drawstrings of my life so tightly that there’s no room for God to work–or for me to breathe.

What’s Getting In YOUR Way?

Because the illusion of control has kept me from doing some really fun things, it felt very freeing to say yes to a walk on the breakwater. The need to remain safe can become the biggest thing in the room, but only if I let it. When I look ahead and see only frightening possibilities–possibilities I’m convinced I can’t cope with–it’s time for me to take myself by the scruff of the neck and reorder my worship.

What idol has stolen first place in your decision-making process?
Do your thoughts go first to finances?
To safety?
To your own comfort?
Have you made the children and grandchildren God has entrusted to you so important that you’re not available even to God himself?

Reordered priorities require focused resolve. If we wait until it’s easier or until our temperaments or moods or natural inclinations change by themselves, we’ll wait around forever. Elisabeth Elliot speaks truth that puts iron in my soul:

We must choose to be strong–in His strength–and to be resolute–by His grace. When we bring our wills wholly under that divine strength and that amazing grace, who can estimate the possibilities of such a union?”

The Music of His Promises, 31

What number one priority controls your decision-making process? Is it time for a change?

Reordered priorities require focused resolve. If we wait until it’s easier or until our temperaments or moods or natural inclinations change by themselves, we’ll wait around forever.

…And Now Let’s Talk Books!

Did you know that Elisabeth Elliot wrote a novel? No Graven Image draws on her years of missionary service in Ecuador through the eyes of a twenty-five-year-old single missionary. Initially published in 1966, the book must have sent shock waves through readers accustomed to the traditional “missionary story” in which The Called One lands in an obscure and challenging field, shares the gospel message against all odds, and in no time their ministry changes hearts as grateful lives are forever transformed.

Perhaps it was the jarring experience of Elisabeth’s own early missionary career that fueled this narrative arc of a woman so completely surprised by the realities of everyday life in a foreign culture. She discovered that much of her time was spent simply performing the mundane duties of life, and while she had come to share with the Quichua the most important message in all the universe, they seemed strangely uninterested–in her message and in herself!

Had Margaret made an idol of her preconceptions about her missionary role? She confesses her astonishment: “My life went on alongside the life of the Quichuas. I do not say with theirs for the two remained separate. All my efforts to make myself one with them ended at the brink of the great abyss–I was not an Indian.”

No Graven Image should be required reading for all missionary candidates, but for the rest of us, Elisabeth has woven an engaging story in a fascinating setting, populated with characters and conflict that have helped me to become a better-informed prayer warrior for the missionaries I love.

Holding You in the Light,

Did you know that #ElisabethElliot wrote a novel? Originally published in 1966, #NoGravenImage must have sent shock waves through readers accustomed to the traditional “missionary story!”

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47 thoughts on “What Number One Priority Controls Your Decision Making Process?”

  1. I find that to relinquish my control on anything needs to be a daily habit. If not, layers of self dependence build up unconsciously until boom! I again trip over my perceptions and expectations. I need your cane of dependence as I walk through this day. Tomorrow too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post 🙂
    It’s still an unfolding process – I have relinquished a great deal of control over my life: and it’s been very liberating, allowing for more enjoyment of life … but it’s still a daily struggle.
    Praise the Lord, He understands and walks with me; making the process easier 😉
    Have a funtastic week ahead!


  3. It’s hard to know sometimes whether the seemingly limiting factors God allows in our lives are there for boundaries or because He wants us to lean on His strength to push through them. Maybe some of each, in differing circumstances.

    I read No Graven Image years ago, but need to read it again. I remember one scene (if I am remembering correctly) where a visiting preacher wanted to hand out tracts to some women working in a field, even though he didn’t have any in their language (and I think perhaps they couldn’t read, anyway). The desire to “do something” has to be coupled with God’s wisdom.


  4. The struggle with giving up our need to control is one I think we all face. I guess it’s really a trust issue – do I trust that God is control so that I don’t need to try to be?


  5. I love your following statement Michele;
    “Because the illusion of control has kept me from doing some really fun things, it felt very freeing to say yes…”

    How I relate to this one, chronic health issues have definitely challenged my previous illusions of control!
    And this has been a positive learning curve for me. ☺️


  6. I don’t know if it’s control or fear. I have balance issues and am a fall risk because of fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses. I forgo many fun things, also if I push myself I end up down the next day. I always pray before I do things. I praise him and ask for protection. Humm.. good question, I wonder if it is control. Maybe it is because I can’t control my body the way I used to.


  7. Once again, Michele, you’ve pinpointed an area in need of re-construction. My control issues become most apparent when the schedule tightens up and I wonder/worry if I’ll get everything on the to-do list accomplished on time. I get cranky over interruptions too. My motivation for completing tasks is often askew, wanting to please people–even impress them. (I’m shaking my head here with the foolishness of such a mindset!) Since confession is good for the soul, perhaps it will also be good for modifying expectations and purifying motivations. A “Help me, Jesus,” is also in order!


  8. Elisabeth Elliot’s book sounds like a great read. It reminded me of some friends who have been missionaries for many years in a country where sharing the gospel in any other way than just through one-on-one friendships is illegal. They went there and set up a business and just worked to become part of the community (a very primitive one). It was a very slow process but eventually began to bear fruit one person at a time. Even then, it is dangerous at times. But they have just sought to be faithful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. i’m guessing more of us are control freaks than we’d like to admit. especially when we know that so much IS out of our control. it makes us want to grasp and cling on to whatever we think we can take charge of.

    we forgot WHO is in charge.


  10. Such a great call for self-reflection, Michele. Sometimes, it’s easier to judge what seems to be motivating others than to examine our own motives closely, but when we do, we can find lots to confess and an opportunity to return to God Himself.


  11. I too have had a struggle with control and also a struggle with chronic business. A few months ago I was diagnosed with cancer and God took all control out of my hands and I was forced to stop being busy. It’s definitely strengthened my relationship (I always thought I had a great relationship) with God.


  12. What a balance we walk between our illusions and God’s possibilities! I struggle with control too, and so appreciate this wisdom and your example of depending on Him! I didn’t know Elizabeth Elliot wrote a novel – adding to my list!


  13. Oh yes, often it’s control and fear (which for me tends to be the flipside of control) that holds me back. I’m trying to get better at saying “yes” but it’s so hard!


  14. My sister-in-law arranged for her brother (my husband) and sister and their spouses to accompany her and her husband on three different trips a year apart. We lived half way across the country and seldom saw her, but were thrilled with the opportunity. Only on the last trip did she reveal she had been diagnosed several years before with Parkinson’s. She was very particular about her diet and getting adequate rest, but so are a lot of other people. The courage that she demonstrated was remarkable. She was a strong woman of faith and I count it a true privilege to have been able to spend the time and share the adventures with her that we did.


  15. There are a lot of things I don’t choose to do, despite the offer, due top the cost to my family, not financially but from being away from the home and not available to them when needed. Thanks for linking with #pocolo


  16. This is so relatable. I fear losing control, but in reality, I’m not in control at all. God is! Thanks so much for writing this. #DreamTeam


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