Control or Influence

I was thinking this morning about the difference between control and influence. I know control has gotten a bad rap, but ponder with me for a moment. Let's use a metaphor to understand this better. Consider the act of eating: we all do it, most folks struggle with it to some degree. We take in calories, we metabolize them, we store them as fat to be used at a later date. When it comes time to use the fat, do we have control or influence? Which would you prefer?

Here is the difference, and one worth remembering. When we want the fat to come off, we really don't have control: all we can do is influence fat loss. We can exercise, we can change eating habits, but none of that gives us any control over our fat loss. For example, I've stripped my diet in a number of ways: more veggies, lots of tuna, low sugar intake. STILL...I've got this tire around my midsection. Do you know what I mean? If I could CONTROL my weight loss, I'd stick my fat on the bottoms of my feet or evenly distributed around my upper legs and calves, but I cannot control my weight loss, I can only influence it.

I CAN control my weight gain though. I can control how much weight I add to my body by controlling my eating, the types of food I eat, when I eat it. I CAN control that part.

So which is most valuable? Influence or control? When one considers that he or she can only influence the outcomes BUT that one can control the inputs, there is an obvious end to strive for. Think about it. Your investment in your day, your relationships, your experience with Jesus is within your control; your reaction to your day, your relationships and Jesus experience with you is only a mixture you can influence.

Paul the Apostle reminds us of this in Galatians 5:22-24 when he speaks about self-control. Maybe that is why we are told to be slow to speak, slow to anger and quick to hear. Maybe its because we can control the slow parts.

As for me, I'll choose control, and I'll take a healthy dose of it!

Do you know someone that could benefit from this posting? Why not send it to them? Bryan Hurlbut is the author of Making It Count: Putting meaning back in business and relationships. This and other topics can be found in the book Making It Count: Putting meaning back in business and relationships.

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