control tower

last sunday our sermon was about the tower of babel. two points our pastor emphasized were the tower as a symbol of false security, and as a symbol of pride or false glory. most normal people these days don’t build towers to reinforce in people’s minds (and in their own minds) how great they are.

but we still take things into our own hands and entrust our security to people or possessions or concepts that can’t possibly deliver. or, when if they do bring us some security, we take all the credit for it: “look at me — i’m so smart. i made a rock-solid investment that will keep building and building and never let me down. i’m set for life.”

well, you know what happens next.

i struggle with this. a lot. i love putting my security or basing my worth on my ability to behave, be good, be the model employee/daughter/sister/friend/whatever. i love doing it all myself, my way. because then it will be perfect.

sitting here typing all this out i can recognize how insane that sounds and laugh at it.

me, good — let alone perfect? aw, c’mon, that’s ridiculous and you know it.

yes, i know it. i know it when i sit still and think calmly and remember Who God really is.

but there was this other sermon we had about sin being like a beast crouching at your door, just waiting for you … only it doesn’t always spring like a big attack lion, but crawls around your ankles like a cat and disarms you before it pounces. i usually don’t notice when i start slipping into that “oh golly gee look at me!” mode, or the mode of depending on something other than God for my security and value.

i’ve done that a lot lately. have you ever had your security blanket ripped off?


it leaves me upset, indignant and undignified, protesting wildly that it really wasn’t my fault … when i actually know it was, which leaves me feeling depressed, confused and slightly wretched.

a tower’s well and good until you get pushed out the window or it crumbles beneath you. control is one of my towers.

jj heller has a great song about this. oddly enough, it’s called “control.” what she talks specifically about in the first verse isn’t something i struggle with, but i have my own pet ways of enforcing my will on some microscopic portion of the universe. you know what? they’re usually something in the mode of cutting off my nose to spite my face, and they hardly ever make me happy, unless, in some twisted way, it makes me happy to make myself miserable for a while.

anyway: here’s her song. the last verse is the best and most beautiful part.

control,” by jj heller, from when i’m with you 

The cut is deep, but never deep enough for me
It doesn’t hurt enough to make me forget
One moment of relief is never long enough
To keep the voices in my head
From stealing my peace

Oh, control
It’s time, time to let you go

Perfection has a price
But I cannot afford to live that life
It always ends the same; a fight I never win

Oh, control
It’s time, time to let you go

I’m letting go of the illusion
I’m letting go of the confusion
I can’t carry it another step
I close my eyes and take a breath
I’m letting go, letting go

There were scars before my scars
Love written on the hands that hung the stars
Hope living in the blood that was spilled for me

Oh, control
It’s time, time to let you go… 
It’s time, time to let you go

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous runs into it and is safe.”
— proverbs 18:10, nasb