God and computer problems, Part II

March 20, 2008

Back in this post I talked about how some technical issues were about to drive me insane. To summarize, I thought I would make a simple change to my blog (getting a custom domain name), and it ended up causing all sorts of errors because of a technical glitch on Blogger’s end. After researching the issue and talking to other people in the Blogger help forums, I came to the realization that there was not a single thing I could do about it — nothing — and I didn’t even have a way to directly contact Blogger technical support to let them know the problem was happening. Most people were getting an error page when trying to access my site, and I didn’t know what the problem was or whether it would be fixed in an hour or a day or a year (or never).

After informing my husband of my plan to resolve the situation by throwing my laptop through the window and stomping on it for a while, he asked an interesting question: “Why are you so mad about this?” When the only answer I could give was something along the lines of, “Because…just BECAUSE!” it occurred to me that perhaps I should think a bit more about what had me so bothered by this situation.

As I alluded to in my last post on the subject, it came down to trusting God. As my husband pointed out, I should trust God with the technical problems on the blog where I write about trusting God. And that should be easy, right? After all, I’ve made a lot of progress in terms of letting go of my white-knuckle grip on the major areas of my life, so it should be no big thing to let go of my anxiety about this. Yet when I tried to do just that, when I tried to cultivate a peaceful state of mind in which I rested in the knowledge that the only thing I needed to do was listen for God’s will and it would all work out according to his plan…I couldn’t.

But why?

It’s not that I thought that the fabric of the universe was going to fall apart if people couldn’t read my little blog. It’s not that I felt that the errors were inexcusable — my background is in the tech industry so I’m sympathetic to the fact that those things happen sometimes. It’s not even that I thought it would have any noticeable impact on my or anyone else’s life. So what was the problem?

Lack of control: I was completely, totally powerless.

As a modern American, I realized, there are very few things in my life over which I have no control. I’ve never experienced food shortage or crop failure; I’ve never had a well dry up; none of my children have ever had illnesses that couldn’t be at least partially treated with medicine; when I’m in pain there are drugs to make it go away; and thanks to air conditioning and central heating, I can even have a sense of controlling the weather by keeping my house and car at temperatures that are comfortable to me. I. Am. In. Control. All. The. Time.

I decided to brainstorm to come up with a list of situations I might experience over which I have zero control, where there is not one thing I can do to change the outcomes. Some of the few things I could come up with are:

  • Computer problems where technical support is not available
  • Getting stuck in traffic
  • Turbulence on airplanes
  • When I need to get in touch with my husband while he’s out and he forgot his cell phone at home
  • When I’ve lost something irreplaceable and can’t find it anywhere

When I looked at the list, I was amazed: sure enough, these are the times when I am most anxious and/or angry. I am more discontent in those types of situations than I have been when I’ve faced life-altering events like, say, when I got a life-threatening blood clot during pregnancy and found out I had a serious clotting disorder. Even though the latter situation was far more important, I had more control: I could research the best medicines to take for the blood clot, switch doctors to get better treatment, modify my activity to lower the risk of a pulmonary embolism, read up on the best diet for people with my disorder, make sure to stay at a healthy weight, etc. I could say that I trusted God with the outcome, and I really did…yet I still had some amount of control.

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I’ve made a lot of progress in terms of trusting God with the long-term plan for my life. Interestingly, it all started last year during Lent. The day I wrote this post was a turning point in my life. It was the moment that the concept of “trusting God” finally clicked for me, that I finally understood what it was all about.

I can’t help but wonder about the timing, then, that another piece of the puzzle fell into place for me during Lent this year, almost a year to the day after my first lesson on the subject. Last year I began to understand that I needed to work on trusting God with the big picture. This year I am beginning to understand that there’s a lot more to it than that; that to really put my life in God’s hands means to trust him with everything — everything. I’m realizing that even if I can prayerfully turn to that famous line from Matthew 26:39 when facing major crossroads, I will only have truly abandoned my life to God when I can find myself stuck in traffic or staring at an error message on my computer and calmly say, “Not my will, but Yours.”


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