Is Control your Drawing Tool?

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Do you like keeping control? Is it your drawing tool? The subject arose in our van recently.

Keeping Control

“I would take my permanent markers and draw it,” she mentioned. My ultra-creative, teenage daughter was venturing into the land of imagination from the back seat, well within earshot of its five additional occupants.

She always has been creative, often letting her imagination run wild, even at four and five years of age. Okay, now I’ll do this, and you do that. I’ll say this, then you say that, she would direct her older brother, the scenarios varying according to her imaginative need. He followed the prompting without question, every time. I inevitably smiled, joy flooding my mama’s heart.

“And if you didn’t like someone you could just erase them,” she added, her teenaged voice emanating from the vehicle’s rear area.

Hmmm. That doesn’t sound good. Perhaps that’s a conversation for a different time. My mothering skills were tapping on the window of need.

In an effort to redirect our talk, I chimed in, “And Caleb would draw his own money.”

The youngest child of my husband and I, Caleb, has an ability to think like an engineer or architect. He’s very precise and can visualize three-dimensionally with ease. He’s precise with money as well, saving then spending it on an “as needed” basis from his own hand-crafted, camouflage and blaze orange duct tape wallet.

“But he wouldn’t need money, Mom, because he could draw anything he wanted,” Rebekah responded.

I hadn’t thought of it, but the teenager’s wisdom was right. Why would Caleb need money if he could simply draw what he wanted?

“But if someone wasn’t an artist, they would be in trouble,” she added.

My mind rested on the same thought.

Rebekah’s life would be filled with cartoon-like characters, because she’s good, really good, at drawing them. Mine would have loads of straight lines drawn in perspective, people included. The Lord has given us both an artistic bent, but I still cringe at thinking what our world would look like if we drew it.

But sometimes we try, don’t we?

crayons with a gold circle and black lettering

Giving Control to God

We take the invisible marker of control and put its color on our world.

But what if we entrusted our Father with the markers of life? What if we set the box at his throne and allowed control to stay in his hand?

What if, even in the little things, we believed and lived Proverbs 3:5-6 to the fullest?

Trust in Yahweh with all your heart,
and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 WEB

What if, like Jesus, our lives became the offering? What if, even in the seemingly little things, like quick thoughts of judgment on another, responses quickly quipped in the midst of stress, or carrying offense due to hurtful words, our offering sounded something like this:

“…Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 WEB

Yes, what if?

Whether you’re a mom, single, a leader, or young in years, please allow me to pose this question for both of us:

What would my life look like if I trusted the Lord, even in the little things?

Living everyday life, what would it look like if I offered control of the drawing tool to God instead of familiar, typical, easy, or knee-jerk reactions?

The Lord has challenged me in this. He has recently marked “the little things” on my heart’s tablet.

He has told me it’s now about the everyday, little things. It’s about those entitled feelings, the reactions society says are justified, the small things and thoughts that seem inconsequential. They are not inconsequential.

It’s time for me to relinquish the markers, my friend. I’m leaving the whole cardboard box of coloring utensils at the throne.

God, I hear you. I love you. I desire to walk in your righteousness, not my own, controlled-by-me will.

Little Areas of Control

My area? The beginning, that “little” area where God’s taps are being heard, is in communication with family members, especially in stressful times. It’s time to release the marker.

My friend, will you dare go there with me, on this path of maturity? Will your everyday steps, those little things, approach the throne of grace in hopes of walking away changed…forever?

If so, I’d love to encourage and pray for you as we set down the little things. Let’s start with just one. We’ll focus there. Here’s how:

  1.  Comment below or on my Facebook page at #eveninthelittlethings. List in one or two words one of your “little things”, an area of life where there’s a stirring from God for change.
  2.  Pray for the one noted above yours.
  3.  I will pray for all of them. Would you pray for me?
  4. God will answer as we offer even the little things.


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  1. Oh sweet Kristi, speaking to my heart again! I am a control freak in so many areas. I would love to give up some of my parenting control of my youngest teen son who is on that verge of boy / manhood. Not so ‘little’ but it is the ‘little’ things that I tend to get upset about. Thanks for praying and I will do the same for you!

    1. I will be praying for you, Kim! Those quick, responsive words, especially to my family, is my “little”. (Dawned on me this morning that mine was woven into the post, but not obvious.) Taking it all to the throne of the One who can see us through.

    2. Control is a big one for me, Kristi. One thing is feeling overly responsible to make things okay: taking charge if things appear chaotic at our little church in Turkey. (I try to sit back and let my husband lead!!) Making sure the kids are okay. etc. Of course I need to do my best as a mom, but I also need to trust God and let them be sometimes!

      1. You have a big task, helping to pastor a church. It’s understandable that control would knock at your door. I’m praying for you. (Just the fact that you are where you are makes me say, “God is bigger.”)

  2. Permanent markers touch a tender place- my youngest just drew all over her room with a sharpie and a friends kid scribbled all over the back seat on the leather of my fairly new and still nice SUV πŸ™ I am surrendering my right or need to have nice things while raising children while at the same time teaching them to be responsible in caring for things. They only thing I can really control is my response and it’s a choice to not get angry when things get ruined.
    Thanks for sharing at #RaRaLinkUp

    1. Oh Astrid…I feel your pain. Our daughter, the one in this post, used permanent markers to “doodle” all over our brand new kitchen walls years ago. When I tried to clean it, the cheap, builder’s grade paint came right off! Wasn’t good. That was the first room to get a paint makeover. πŸ™‚ You have wisdom, my dear, in approaching it w/the attitude you have. It took me a while to accept that attitude, and waiting wasn’t wise. And, hey….just maybe you have an artist or author on your hands like we do. Those doodles may be the beginning of something very important. I’ll be praying for you. (Mine, which I just realized I didn’t make obvious is similar…it’s the responses, esp. words used with family members.)

  3. Thinking I have to make the “just right” decisions to keep everything running smooth and everyone happy……

    1. Thank you for sharing, Karen. Keeping others happy is highly overrated by the lies that kill, steal, or destroy. It’s wearisome, isn’t it?! Karen, I’m thankful that you were willing to list it for prayer. There isn’t one thing God can’t touch and change, “pleasing others” included.

      1. Thank you Kristi and Crystal, I am amazed how God encourages us at just the very moment we need it, this has helped so much on this very day. πŸ™‚

        Praying for Astrid and Kim also…

        1. He is the ultimate encourager. So thankful He has spoken through this post and to you, Karen. To God be all glory.

  4. Giving up my to-do as I surrender to His will has been my challenge recently. I pray I stay open to God’s divine interruptions and see them as appointments from Him.

    I pray for Karen’s “just-right” decisions and the need to feel it all depends on her.

    Thank you, Kristi, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    1. Praying for you, my friend. You are a treasure. And, btw, if you didn’t see Karen’s reply thread above, you might want to take a peek. Seems as though God is working, and your prayers were on target. #GoGodgo

  5. I need prayer for my out-of-control mouth when I feel offended. I recently moved in with family after living alone for about 3 years. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but already?, a BIG blowup in my first week?!? Help me, Lord!
    Praying and thanking God for you, Kristi β™‘

    1. It is hard, moving BACK in with family. I get it and applaud you for looking to the One who can help you through. Praying for you! btw…Karen Ehman has a wonderful book out called Keep It Shut that might be encouragement.

  6. Wow, Kristi! This really hit it’s target… first, because I was an art student all the way through school… but even better, because I like to think I’ve done this selfless act of laying down my markers… but not really. And God keeps nudging, gently, to revise what I hold onto and what I let go of.
    And now today, He nudges with your words too… love it! Thanks for such a great lesson in trust and faith out of the everyday. Love and blessings, m’dear! #TellHisStory

    1. Praise God. He always seems to know what we need. πŸ™‚ Christine, your pursuit of God is a beautiful thing. And to allow that nudging? Even more so. Praying for you, my writing friend.

  7. Oh, I am such a control freak. I usually don’t wave my white flag until I have made a complete mess of the situation! I am with you on the challenge. God it’s your will, not mine. Thank you, Kristi!

  8. Kristi- Thanks for this- I really like to be in control too- because it feels safe to me- Learning that God is safe and His ways are safer than mine! Taking some work and practice though. Thanks for this- stopping by from Holley’s today!

    1. Ahhh safety. This brings to mind Jesus calling Peter out on the water. Maybe, just maybe, these little things are really our call out onto the water… Thanks for visiting, Susie.

  9. Ok, there are so many little things, Kristi! The gist of it is that I am a CONTROL girl. I am especially having trouble letting my teen son take control of his own organization/schedule/schoolwork, even though I know that taking responsibility for these things is part of growing up! I’d love prayer that I will know when it’s time to step back and let him develop his wings:) Thanks for this thought today- definitely something I needed!

    1. Yours is a common theme, Kristine. I’ll be praying for your relationship with your son and the control factor. Thanks for stopping in.

  10. So convicted by this. I try to keep a tight reign on the chaos around here, but sometimes it turns to a death grip on every part of my children’s lives. Thank you for the reminder about who is really in control!

    1. There are several others who have responded the same way, Kaylie. Thankful you’re willing to set the marker down. Praying for you.

    1. Hi Jen! I’m pumped that you stopped by. You might have picked up on something. The little things really aren’t little after all. They’re all part of the BIG picture of our faith. Praying for you, my friend.

  11. Kristi, I was so edified by this post!

    I’ve always said that the big things in life, those that are overwhelming, I very easily give over to the Lord, because it is just too big for me!

    But it is the small things, the day to day things, that I am gripping on to so tight in control, that it becomes my joy-killer.

    Thank you for spurring me on to relinquish even the small things to the Lord, trusting His will, not mine…

  12. Yes! and Amen! I release the markers Lord!
    I join with you and I will be praying for Karen for all the little areas where control steals her joy to be restored to her… I understand that all too well.

    My area: With my first book being published and released this August there are so many things to trust God with… eiditing deadlines, designs, distribution. God has so beautifully taken care of each step, but because I am a first time published author I often feel like a fish out of water during the process. My soul finds peace and rest as I release my urge to control and trust Him. He is so very trustworthy! This has been a 10 year long writing project for me… He has never left my side and I know He won’t now. Just knowing that you are saying a few little prayers for me would be so amazing and needed! Thank you sweet friend. Blessings to you!
    Love Danise

    1. So glad you joined us, Danise. I will lift your area to God in prayer, and others likely will as well. He’s so faithful! Deep breath on that book. I love how God brings all things together. Cheerleading you from here. Would love your updates. πŸ™‚

  13. Lord thank you for Kristi’s encouraging and moving words. Help me to give all the small details of everything to you! I need all of you. Thank you for speaking these powerful word, Kristi. I know many of us are compelled to think deeply about this. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

  14. Kristi – “The Lord has challenged me in this. He has recently marked β€œthe little things” on my heart’s tablet” your thoughts on the ‘little things’ and ‘what ifs’ really touched me. My ‘thing’ (it feels big, not little) is releasing my fear for my adult child’s future – trusting God to work in and out His best. Thanks much!

    1. Sandraj, you’re not alone in that “little thing”. (They really are big things, so you hit the nail on the head!) Many others have made the same comment about trusting God with their children. I’ll be lifting your name to the One that truly can be trusted.

  15. Such truth wrapped up in a box of markers! I love how you developed this story about a conversation your kids were having into how God is the keeper of our markers and our lives. I had my 3rd graders do a writing activity recently where they needed to give their opinion about the best superpower they could have for one day. After reading your post today, I know that the best superpower is to trust God in all things. Thank you for these words and for your encouragement.

    1. God is our superhero, so trusting makes perfect sense. Thanks for visiting, Mary. You’ve blessed me today.

  16. Yes, I too am learning to open my hands and let God control the littlest things — like the stoplights on my commute to the meeting and running into folks at the grocery and taking a little longer with the shopping. How freeing, to know God is sovereign over all! Your next-door neighbor at #livefreeThursday. πŸ™‚

  17. Ahhh…the stoplights. I’ll be praying, Lisa. You’ve been blessing to me today. Thanks for stopping by.