Rehab- When You Don't Have Control - The Warrior's Journey®

Rehab- When You Don’t Have Control

Author: Brenda Pace, Author of "Journey of a Military Wife"

Pilots prepare for takeoff. Photo by US Air Force is licensed under CC By 2.0

Military life teaches you (if you are willing to learn) that when you do not have control of a situation, you respond the best way you can

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 131) 

Hello, my name is Brenda and I am a recovering control freak.

I spent twenty-eight years in rehab, otherwise known as “military life.” God used military life to teach me the importance of relinquishing control. The most intense lesson always came when PCS orders arrived. Uncle Sam did not allow me to have any control over when those orders would arrive or where they would take our family.

When my husband received orders for Korea, I wondered whom he had angered. Korea was not on my list of places to visit, let alone live. The order to report within thirty days only increased the tension of the situation. Thirty days! He went to the military housing office to schedule the move, but there were no appointments available for several weeks. What did he do? My resourceful (i.e., desperate) soldier planted himself in the office and waited for an appointment no-show so he could get the ball rolling for our international move.

My husband’s desire to calmly take care of his family was tossed in the air due to a hurried report date. Military life teaches you (if you are willing to learn) that when you do not have control of a situation, you respond the best way you can.

As a Christ follower, the best way I can would not mean trusting in my ability to control my circumstances, but would mean trusting in God who is over all circumstances. I long to learn the “tranquility of mature rest” described in Psalm 131.1

The message of Psalm 131 is the call to give less attention to my desires and efforts, and more to God’s ordering of the issues of my life.2 The psalm refers to the immature child who wants control. She wants to nurse when she wants to nurse. If you are a mom, you know that weaning a child is difficult. Crying and feelings of abandonment accompany the process, but the process is necessary for the child to mature. The process yields a weaned child who is content to rest beside mother, knowing mother will meet and provide for the needs.


Psalm 131:2 in The Message reads:

I’ve kept my feet on the ground,

I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.

Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,

My soul is a baby content.

What does being content look like for you? What are ways you can cultivate “a quiet heart?”

Prayer for the Journey

Lord, help me learn in whatever situation I am to be content. In any and every circumstance, help me learn the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Philippians 4:11–12). Amen.

1 Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 157.
2 Craig C. Broyles, New International Biblical Commentary: Psalms (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), 470.

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