Tag Archives: control

He’s Back! (but he is not in control)

In the classic movie The Shining, there is a horrifying yet tantalizing scene of Jack Nicholson axing through a door declaring crazily, “Here’s Johnny.” In this renewed creative work of mine, I kind of feel like that scene where I am axing through the door of busy-ness, of distractions, of creative mind-block and more … in a crazy world. I sometimes feel like Nicholson and life is driving me crazy, and I sometimes feel like my world is inside the room and the rest of the world is axing into it. 

Nicholson shows me one truth though – I am not in control.  In the movie, it is the snow and isolation that seems to be the impetus of the craziness. But it is so much more too. There is another line he  says that kind of points to the way I feel the world is coming at me …

I’m not going to hurt you … I’m just going to bash your brains in.  


I am not in control.

  • The storm causes spots on the highway that yields to a car hydroplaning off the road: I am not in control
  • I am walking a trail in perfectly dry and (semi) clean shoes when I step in a muddy water hole, or a pile of something else: I am not in control
  • I eat my vegetables and exercise, yet I am diagnosed with a life altering, or life ending disease: I am not in control
  • I have a paper to finish for school and the power is knocked out for hours: I am not in control
  • I think I’ve found the girl with whom I want to spend my life and my parents make me move 2000 miles away: I am not in control
  • I raise a child, teach him Biblical, Christocentric world view, yet he rebels and turns to the ways of the world not the Word: I am not in control
  • I buy and build a home that I try to use to honor God and a storm destroys it in seconds: I am not in control
  • I leave my child for 30 seconds to get something and a tragedy hits that from which I will never recover: I am not in control
  • The office catches on fire, the car breaks down, a pandemic hits the world, wall street crashes because politicians bicker over minutae while Rome burns, the love of my life dies of cancer, I’m left alone with no family, no friends, no hope

It’s as if the world is saying — I’m not going to hurt you … I’m just going to bash your brains in.  

Soooo – It’s Monday, August 1st. I am returning to Muddy Shoes from an extended hiatus, and what do I write about? I am not in control. Life gets muddy this way.

QUESTION: So how do you get through all this? How does one survive a world that clearly shows you that ‘you are not in control’? 

ANSWER: You get to know the One who is control. You learn His ways. Trust His power. Rely on His providence. Live according to His principles. You Fix Your Eyes on Him. Run the race, muddy shoes and all, with chaos and mayhem all around, with life trying to bash your brains in, but run it knowing He understands, He ran it too, and He is in control.

Fix your eyes on Jesus.

As I start Muddy Shoes back up, I hope together we see more of life’s funny mayhem and the Lord’s powerful faithfulness. We can fix our eyes together – and let’s start doing it today. Just one day at a time. One section of the race. Just Monday. Just today. You are not in control, but He is – so fix your eyes on Jesus.

image from Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BEpAtEJRxlE/

—— Pics from The Shining are used.

FaceBook takes on Apple

This is the battle of the Titans. Two of the largest companies in the world are at odds. Apple announced a new feature starting with a soon to be released update … a feature that lets you control who tracks you.

You know what I’m talking about. You Google something, say a review on a baby gift you are buying a friend who is having their first child. Next thing you know, baby ads pop up on everything … news’ app will mention baby seats … you have Oshkosh B’gosh ads on Twitter … Luvs diapers ads on Facebook. And I can’t prove it, but I would wager they are even listening. Talk to your wife about taking a vacay, and next thing you see are Disney World ads on your opening splash page.

Big Brother is here.

In this world, Apple now will require its apps to ask for permission before tracking users. They will also have to provide details about the data they collect. Hmmm, giving control of your privacy to you. Doesn’t seem bad. And add extra layers of transparency. Doesn’t sound bad at all.

FaceBook was not pleased. A multi-million dollar response. Full page ads in the largest newspapers. Calling Apple anti-small-business … threat to a free internet … killer of small businesses.

Tim Cook could’ve responded with sarcasm, could’ve ranted on Twitter, could’ve upped the ante with a harsh comeback. But that’s not what he did. He waited and gave a simple one paragraph press release giving the reasoning behind Apple’s direction.

One author claimed Cook’s response was a perfect example of a person of high emotional intelligence (EI). EI is recognizing how you respond to something, evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and feelings that lead to your response, and make wise and intentional choices on how you will respond.

Low EI people will have knee-jerk reactions. They will shoot first and ask questions second. They will rant and post and demand what they ‘think’ is right without considering all the factors, all the circumstances, and all the point of views.

High EI peeps will look at all the details and also evaluate how their response will also be taken. Basically, they will quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

This response is nothing groundbreaking. The brother of Jesus wrote about this 2000 years ago (James 1.19). But this wisdom is often neglected today. I’m not saying people are low intelligence, but we often behave with low emotional intelligence.

I wonder what 2021 would be like if people took James’s advice and acted a bit more like Tim Cook did in this present battle of the Titans? What a wonderful world this would be.

Forget everyone else … how will you reposed to things in 2021?

Post Script … I think FB will lose this battle, and that’ll be tough for the Z man. And maybe it’ll help all of us that use the web. I’ll keep on using my Apple products.

Click It … #1 of 3

Life should come with a remote control. Not so that we could control others, though I might like that at times. But so that we could be better at controlling our circumstances, or better yet, controlling ourselves. Over the next three days, I’m going to explore this concept and maybe get us all to think a little more.

This past week, I’ve had several scenarios with different remote controls. One needed a battery. One took extra steps to sync. One ignores me. And we’ll, the last remote control just doesn’t exist.

I replaced the battery on the first. I googled how to reset and resync the second. I repeatedly push the same buttons over and over – harder and harder on the third. And I occasionally win the battle. But the fourth, I guess I need to search more options.

Let me explain that last one. I am looking for a way to remotely control a smart tv from offsite. Kind of like IT guys do when they need to fix my MacBook. They don’t show up anymore. They don’t always require me to drop it off. They go through tiny fiber optic and wired cables. They talk to it over the magic of wifi. The take it over from across the globe. And wallaah … it’s working again. Some technician from Dominion Technology has changed my computer. Oh wait, can they do that? (JK)

Life Application Dilemma … My mother suffers from short term memory dystopia. She has been quarantined in her retirement home since March. I haven’t seen her since that time. It’s a great place that watches and cares for her. And her tv is often her only interaction. But sometimes she pushes the wrong button on her tv remote and messes up the settings, source, sound, etc. There was a time she had Spanish only. Another with no pic. And so on.

So I would like a remote, an app, a program where I could take over her tv and adjust the settings, get her on the same page, open an app like FBLive so she could watch our worship services. A way to fix and control her problems from afar.

As great as that would be for mother’s TV (and maybe a reader can figure it out, market it, become rich and give me a small royalty), I’m not sure this would always be best for life.

Life Lesson One ….

I think we often want this from God in an unhealthy way. We want Him to fix our problems, change our settings, and do it remotely with no fuss nor mess. We don’t want to give up control completely, just enough to make life easier. However, life is messy and we learn from messes.

God is there through all the mess. I think it would be so much worse if he wasn’t. Paul prayed to remove the thorn in his flesh, repeatedly he prayed. But nope. God left it and used it to teach us about Grace.

And he wants complete surrender, not just part of me.

Life Lesson Two …

As parents, we too often want that type of remote control over our kids. We want to fix their problems, bandaid their boo-boos (at all ages), correct their errors (don’t watch that, Junior), or push an agenda (watch this instead). And while I hope our kids will listen to the wisdom we’ve gleaned through lessons learned from mistakes and victories, they’ve got to grow and learn on their own.

Life Lesson Three …

Soon this pandemic will get under control. Soon I’ll get back in to see my mother. If I can avoid that, and stay home, sometimes my lazy butt would take that option. I don’t long for six-to-seven hours driving. But that attitude is not good. We weren’t created for relationships from afar. There is power, strength, and connection made through real life interactions. We need that. She needs that.

So a remote-remote for the smart tv would not always be wise.

Tomorrow … a mute button. For others. For myself.