Releasing control to God; gaining life by letting go

Releasing Control to God

There was once a bumper sticker that said, “God is my co-pilot”.  I grew up believing this.  The notion of God as my co-pilot seemed somewhat enlightened, in that I was acknowledging that I was not going through life alone, but that God was on my team.  Then several years ago, I heard the phrase afresh “God is my co-pilot”, and I was completely aghast!  For God to be my co-pilot inferred that I, as the pilot, was in the number one seat and knew more than my co-pilot.  It was then that I surrendered the pilot’s seat to God and I took my rightful place as co-pilot of my own life.

Some may think that this philosophy is apathy on my part.  “Amy’s unsure of her life so she’s giving up control so she doesn’t have to be responsible.”  Or, “Amy’s on this spiritual path, so of course she has to say that God is in control.”  But in this slight move from the pilot’s seat to the co-pilot’s seat, I assure you that I have never lived more fully than now.  God can see the big picture of the universe and has plan for how I can interact in it and find a deep sense of fulfillment, much better than I could ever determine.  Is this easy?  Absolutely not!

Since the 17th century and the advent of scientific thought, humans have been seeking to understand and control every aspect of our lives, from atoms to black holes, from our health to our relationships and everything in between.  More than 400 years later, this need to control is deeply ingrained in who we are as human beings.  To release control is not only counter-cultural, it takes an extraordinary amount of awareness and conviction.

This notion of releasing control is found in Matthew 10:39, when Jesus is instructing his disciples. Before he sends them out to minister, he tells them, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”  This seems puzzling; what does it mean?

It means the ultimate release of control; to hand your life over to God, and in that handing over, we are promised an experience of all that our lives are meant to be. The things of this earth are distracting and tempting – we strive after money, possessions, reputation; what people think of us and how the world views us. We’re generally selfish and controlling and we view the world for what we can get from it. When we are so tightly commanding our life and pursuing worldly things, we actually lose the very essence of who we are. Jesus invites us to rediscover our essence and find our life in following him.

As someone who is willingly making the choice to co-pilot my own life, I admittedly sometimes find myself back in the pilot’s seat. I believe that God is gracious – if He finds me crawling over Him to take over the controls, He moves over. When life seems to be spinning out of control, I realize it’s me who’s in front of the instrument panel.  Surrender is a daily choice.  Am I going to trust the God of the universe, Jesus Christ, or not?

If we believe God to be trustworthy, then the process of surrender is straightforward, clear but not easy.  I believe the promises that God makes in the Bible; promises to “never leave or forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6), promises “to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), promises to “strengthen me and help me, and uphold me with his righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10), and so many more.

Because I believe those promises, I am willing to trust God when life feels uncertain or scary or too big for me to handle.  At those times, I remember that it’s not me that has to pilot.  It’s my role to watch what the pilot is doing; to learn from my master teacher; to pay attention and do my part.  But it’s the pilot’s role to know the course and steer the plane and get us to our next destination safely, and I trust him to do just that.

Q. How do you see people today behaving as co-pilots to God? What is the result of their “control?”

Q. Why is releasing control difficult for us?

Q. What steps will you take this week to trust God more fully?

 

Recommended Book: BJ Gallagher, “If God is Your Co-Pilot, Switch Seats (Hampton Roads), 2011.


50 comments
Linda Dixon
Linda Dixon

Yesterday - when an "important" little project DID NOT break - Thank You Lord

Amy Hemseri-Sabala
Amy Hemseri-Sabala

You are right Rhonii, there is a wonderful peace that surpasses all understanding when God is in charge... We just (I just) have to let go.

Rhonii Meade
Rhonii Meade

There is peace with God letting Him have full control:) I surrender to you Lord!

Carol Joseph
Carol Joseph

He better be your Pilot and not Co anything...

Linette Sherrod
Linette Sherrod

"GOD" IS THE DRIVER, PILOT, CONDUCTOR AND OUR CAPTAIN~

John Matthews
John Matthews

GOD doesn't want to be your copilot HE wants to be the PILOT !

Lucinda Marie Crozier
Lucinda Marie Crozier

Thank you for sharing but I have heard an insightful slant on your opening phrase. It is "If God is your co-pilot you should trade places". Have a blessed day :)

Linda Herring
Linda Herring

Most saved santified people know where you're coming from! Trochia not to slight the Veterans' it was God that brought them out to.

Trochia
Trochia

Thank you Joseph R. Ravitts! This clarification is very important. Sadly the fighter's faithful expression is too easily twisted into people pushing God aside so that they can feel in control of their destiny.

Joseph R. Ravitts
Joseph R. Ravitts

This pouncing on the expression "God is my co-pilot" is unfair in a way few people now understand. The expression originated with a World War Two fighter pilot. Since he was _literally_ flying a literal airplane, and God _wasn't_ relieving him from the need to handle his own literal physical airplane controls, it would have been silly for the man to say that he _wasn't_ the pilot. He called God his "co-pilot," NOT with an attitude that God was _subordinate_ to him, but to acknowledge God's _closeness_ to him. So give the guy a break.

William L. Begley
William L. Begley

Gisele you r 100% correct ,I like you have YHVH as my Pilot,...BB...

Gisele Joseph
Gisele Joseph

If God is the Co-Pilot, then who is the Pilot for our lives? No one can drive themselves around spiritually in this world without God holding on to the wheel, therefore, He is my Pilot and the World and everything in it.....

Wm Jenkins
Wm Jenkins

Its better when we let him be our pilot meaning let im be in control and in charge, its the best way to go.

TJ Wilson
TJ Wilson

God is Sovereign and He doesn't need us to help Him. All this pilot stuff needs to be cast into the oven and burned.

Tex Heath
Tex Heath

No, He is the pilot. I am crew

Trochia
Trochia

Bob Ducharme, read the post and switch seats.

Christiane Aurora
Christiane Aurora

Agreed Trevor - with me HE is my pilot! - when I try to be the pilot of any decision then disaster ensue - however, I need to let Him be the pilot all the time - no small task for the dullest butter knife in the table... just saying... Amen

Christiane Aurora
Christiane Aurora

Agreed Trevor - with me HE is my pilot! - when I try to be the pilot of any decision then disaster ensue - however, I need to let Him be the pilot all the time - no small task for the dullest butter knife in the table... just saying... Amen

Janet Sue Wynn Steele
Janet Sue Wynn Steele

Lord, I need you to always be my pilot. Help me that I can give You full control in my life and not pick up the trials and worries that I have turned over to YOU!

Trochia
Trochia

exactly Trevor L. Zylstra, read the post, that is Amy's point.

Trevor L. Zylstra
Trevor L. Zylstra

Just for enlightenment, and edification here, and I'm NOT the "sharpest knife in the drawer", BUT........Shouldn't God be the PILOT????? And NOT, or instead of the "co-pilot"???