This week, I’m traveling for business to the Chicago area. Last Monday, I took a flight from the Philadelphia International Airport to Chicago O’Hare Airport. I have always enjoyed flying, but I have to admit it’s become a little more challenging to fly as I’ve gotten older. I don’t like the turbulence, and I don’t enjoy the butterflies in my stomach I used to like.
While the plane was coming in for its landing, I was sitting in the back seat of the plane looking out the window. My natural tendency was to grab onto the arms of the seat and to force my feet into the pretend brake. But something made me change my mind and loosen up the tension flowing through my body.
I suddenly remembered I didn’t have any control over the plane. One hundred out of 100 times, the pilot lands the plane safely. It’s really an amazing engineering feat that permits a plane of over 200 people, and their luggage, to fly nearly 700 miles in an hour and a half and land gently on a concrete runway.
When you board a plane, you are giving control to the pilots and the flight attendants. You are trusting they will take a huge piece of metal up into the sky miles above the earth’s surface and bring you safely back to the ground at your destination.
It takes faith to let this happen. When I realized I didn’t have any control and things would be okay, the landing experience actually became quite exhilarating.
Life is like this. We want to control the outcome, but there are so many things we cannot control. We are not promised an easy or pain-free life. In fact, we are most certainly guaranteed trials and tribulations throughout our lives.
We can choose to live in tension – trying to control what we cannot control – or we can choose to loosen up and trust God. Giving up control actually gives us an opportunity to enjoy the life we’ve been given.
Paul tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28 NIV)
There may be turbulence along the way, but we’re guaranteed to land safely if we put our trust in God.
What are you holding onto too tightly? How could loosening your grip and giving up control make your flight/life more enjoyable?
Jon Stolpe is passionate about small groups, missions, family, marriage, parenting, and Philadelphia sports. Jon is also a writer and blogs daily at Jon Stolpe Stretched.