Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How I'm like Lance Armstrong

Control freak.

It was big news last week when Lance Armstrong interviewed with Oprah and confessed to what everyone had long suspected...that he had doped during all 7 of his Tour de France victories.

An American hero - someone who had overcome the odds to reach the top hit rock bottom in a matter of weeks.

I, although not a fan of cycling per se, was a hold out.  All of the allegations against Lance were numerous.  But he so adamantly denied the charges for so many years, I was pretty convinced he was telling the truth and that it was a conspiracy against him.  After all, in hundreds if not thousands of drug screens he never had a positive test (that wasn't tested retroactively).  That is hard evidence to argue with.

As I watched his interview and him admit to all sorts of cheating, he also admitted he was a control freak.  He wanted to control every outcome he possibly could.  From the doctors he worked with to the riders on his team, he was involved in every minute decision that controlled the outcome of his races.  His desire to be in control was so strong that he created his own "reality."  It wasn't cheating, it was "leveling the playing field."  He didn't openly say it but it sounds like if someone wasn't willing to dope then they were off the team.  If his massage therapist disagreed with him, he called her a whore. A teammates wife called him out and he called her a crazy bitch.  He sued people who alleged that he cheated.  Its likely he convinced himself he did nothing wrong.

Even in his "confession," he still tried to control it.  His team definitely fished for public opinion in the days leading up to Oprah.  There were rumors that he was going to confess that got leaked to the media followed by a strong denial from his lawyer that there was no confession coming.  I'm pretty sure they were testing the waters of public opinion.  And he picked Oprah for his grand confession.  Seriously?  Even when Oprah was asking him questions, he avoided certain ones or spun it into a different question.  It was almost visible how much he was desperately clinging to the control that remained.

I'm not sure if Lance considers himself an atheist or agnostic, however, it seems clear (as he wrote in his books) that he does not appear to follow any type of religion or believe in God.  When I heard this many years ago, I was confused how a man who had overcome Stage 4 cancer to become one of the greatest athletes of all time could not believe in God.  But I guess now I know.  Because it wasn't God given talent that got him there.

So what does this have to do with me?

I'm a control freak too.  Maybe not on such a grandiose scale, but its true.  I like controlling things - especially when such things reflect upon me.  Whether it's a group presentation, sharing a patient at work, how clean my house appears or even someone watching my child, no one can do it like I can.  If I had my way, no one would get the opportunity.  I often take on too much because I don't want others to "mess it up."  I want to be in control.  And my tendency to be so reared its ugly head this weekend and my poor husband got the brunt of it. 

On Saturday, Andrew offered to help clean the bathrooms (which is my task of the day).  I was already tired and hadn't gotten Friday's task of dusting done.  I thought he could clean the bathrooms and I would watch Sawyer and maybe dust while he did that. 

To say I'm tired these days would be an understatement.  Its been a good 6 months since I've gotten a good nights sleep.  Tired me is not always pretty.  First he took forever to clean the two bathrooms, then he didn't arrange my stuff back to the way it had been on my side of the bathroom counter (which truly had no particular order but it was something for me to get upset about) and then he hadn't cleaned the base of the shower which was still gross.  So, I got angry.  I stormed around the house slamming things around - a trait I inherited from my mother.  Andrew kept asking me what was wrong and I kept snapping at him.  I was a complete jerk. 

I, like Lance, am a control freak.  I want things done a certain way and I will snap at people who don't do it my way. 

But there's a difference between me and Lance.  I have Jesus.  As I've learned over the years, you can't love Jesus and be in control.  It just doesn't work.  The only thing that saves me from creating my own "reality" where I'm in control is knowing that Jesus is.  And there is such freedom in that.

Fortunately for me, my husband loves Jesus too.  He got me to fall in love with him by telling me that it was his job "to be the best representation of Christ that he could be to me."  He lives with my control freak tendencies, forgives me when I snap or storm around the house, and loves me anyway.

One of my devotions the other day said "Let your weakness be a door to My Presence."  I need to desperately pound knock on that door every day.  I know I can't control everything in my world but I also need to realize that I don't need to control it.  That's what Jesus is there for.  I certainly don't need to get upset with my husband who only has the best of intentions for helping me.

Lance will go down in history as one of the biggest sports frauds that ever was.  Its sad.  I hope that one day he finds Jesus and lets go of it all.  I hope that he comes to understand the true freedom of having a Father who loves him no matter what and has plans to prosper and give hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  He will never be free otherwise.

Oh the joy that comes with that freedom.  Probably better than any Tour de France victory.


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