Control Is an Illusion

You never know how even the most casual comment can profoundly impact the trajectory of someone’s journey.

In the early 2000s, I visited a fellowship in Nottingham, England, on a couple of occasions within a few years. I remember those visits with a smile and enjoyed the pastor and his family where Sara and I stayed. I hadn’t heard from them since until this email showed up in my inbox last week. I’m sure I must have taught some wonderful things when I was there, but what God seemed to find most valuable was a simple comment I made in passing.  I’ll let Gary tell you about it:

Your visits to us all those years ago fundamentally altered the spiritual direction of travel for our family and for the church. My family remembers you fondly. Being a Vineyard church, our relationship with God was ministry-led.

However, your presence shifted us towards an authentic personal journey with God-experienced in community. I remember profoundly you looking at my well-organized calendar and saying, “You do know that control is an illusion, don’t you?”

In light of that, I wanted to let you know that I have written a book summarising my spiritual journey. It’s where I arrived after all those years. The title is Control, the Illusion, and the Lie: The illusion is that you can have control and the lie is that you need it.

It’s a personal spiritual growth book for people to join me on the journey, arising from a fresh view of the beatitudes. My writing may not be the best, but I am a message carrier which I believe I have achieved in the book.

I have used some of the material with a friend who does research for an international computer company. At the time, he was undergoing some top-flight psychotherapy that these companies provide for their executives. On sharing some of the material with his psychotherapist, the therapist said, “this is great. Can I use it?”

God works in mysterious ways.

That he does.

I love his story, and if you’ve read much of my stuff, you know how passionate I am that the love of the Father displaces our need to feel in control of our circumstances. There is no more frustrated person than the one trying to white-knuckle their way through difficult times rather than letting God guide them through them. Thinking we can control what happens to us is an illusion, and learning to live in his unfolding reality is much better than trying to get him to do what we want. Recognizing our powerlessness is a doorway into living lightly and freely in the world, and seeing God’s glory unfold.

His book is a wonderfully simple read with a profound message that will change the way you live in the world and leave you ever-more free to embrace him and his glory as it unfolds in you. This is one powerful thought I got from Gary’s book:

In circumstances when we feel powerless, we don’t have to give in or give up; we give way to what the Father has in mind. 

Order it in the US from Amazon.    —    Order it from

9 thoughts on “Control Is an Illusion”

    1. Control is an illusion. It took me 25 years in industry and commerce, 27 planting and pastoring a church, and 38 years as a father to realise it and write the book, Control, the illusion and the lie. The illusion is that you can have control and the lie is that you need it.

  1. I love hearing about others on this journey of letting go and learning to enjoy God. What encouragement!! I just had a conversation last night about living with open hands and seeing what the Lord puts in them.

    1. I found that my hands were full of the need to make life happen for me and mine. It’s understandable to want the things we feel we need or even more especially the needs of our close family. I found the ‘way’ through by doing everything I can whilst realsing I’m ultimately powerless to make life happen. From my book, Control, the illusion and the lie. The illusion is that you can have control and lie is that you need it.

      1. I just received the book and I want to thank you for sharing your journey! Reading the first chapter so far….❤️

        1. Hi Judy. It’s a wonder to me that I can offer spiritual direction through this book. Remember the book is a journey to experience. You will experience transformation as you travel slowly and reflectively through it. You may choose to read it straight through to gain an overview, however the power is in your reflections on your own life as you journey with me. Please bear with me in terms of my grammar and punctuation as I’m constantly improving it. The journey, however is the same. I’d be happy to take questions. Yours Gary

          1. Thank you so much!! I’m finding going through the book slowly is best for me! I’ve read the first chapters a few times before going on, but I’ve thought about reading it through for the overview. It is indeed a journey well worth taking.

          2. Yeah each chapter of the book will walk you there. So once you’ve engaged with the message each successive chapter takes you through slowly but surely. A week reflecting on each chapter will be enough. As my spiritual director said ‘trust the pathway’.

  2. 110 books are now out there. Some of the feedback is … as we give ourselves permission to be infirm, we let God into our infirmity and the healing begins. Also, this leads to a greater level of consciousness of deeper levels of infirmity and deeper levels of healing. Our engagement with everyday life becomes more authentic and we are increasingly becoming able to see how God is working in us, for us, and through us. All part of finding freedom from needing to make life happen for us and ours.

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