Control-Alt-Delete: When You Need a Reboot: Katy Parker
Do you ever feel like you need a reboot? You feel like you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need to start over. Maybe you started a conversation that turned into an argument, and now you want to go back to do it over again. Many of you feel like you are in a vicious sin cycle. You are constantly confessing the same sin, and you just can’t seem to get past it.
Sometimes we feel like we need a system reboot and start over. In the computer world, the most common solution to your tech problem is “Did you try restarting it?” And maybe a restart is what we need. Although it has changed over the years, utilizing Control-Alt-Delete on your computer is a way to interrupt the current function of the computer and even reboot the system.
Of course, we are not computers, and there is not an easy button or three-step code to fix our problems. However, I think we can find biblical principles to help us when we need to interrupt the current function and start again.
Control is a significant starting place for us. This is where we need to examine our heart and see how much our need for control is dominating our lives. So often we are desperate to maintain control over our lives. This can sometimes look like worry or fear because you are feeling like you cannot control what is happening around you. You cannot control if your kids get sick or hurt. You cannot control if there is conflict in your relationships. You cannot control traffic or the weather. The list goes on and on. Then, worry can become a cycle. You are afraid of all these things outside of your control, but you don’t feel like you cannot stop worrying. So the feelings of helplessness are compounded.
Maybe you had this idea of the type of parent that you wanted to be, but now you are in a pattern full of frustration, impatience, and yelling. If we dig deeper into the heart of that pattern, we can see an issue of control. Our kids are not doing what we want them to do. When we start to feel the frustration and impatience building, it is a good indicator that we are probably not concerned about the right things. Really, we are frustrated because these little ones are not bending to our idols of control, comfort, and ease. I have no idea why my toddler suddenly decides that naps are overrated, forgets that she is potty trained, or does the best sloth impression when we are already running late. However, I know that when that happens, it exposes my complete lack of control and my desperation for it.
Perhaps you are in a continuous sin pattern. You continue to return to the same sin over and over. It is not just that you are being tempted by the same sin, but you are continuing to return to the same sin habits. It is frustrating. You hate it. You really want to rid your life of all your sin. But that is the problem…you are trying to do it on your own and for your own glory. You are trying to have the control, and you are
trying to rid yourself of sin by your own ability. We don’t want to admit our need for God’s grace, His mercy, or even His help to overcome sin.
All of these things expose the idol of control in our hearts. We are desperately clinging to this idea that we have some control over the world around us, but there is only one who really is in control: the God who created and sustains everyone and everything. When we need to reboot, we need to start by surrendering any control that we are trying to cling to. We need to recognize that the God who “laid the foundation of the earth” (Job 38:4) is the only one capable to control both the large scale events in history as well as the minute details in our daily lives. In addition to that, we can trust the goodness and wisdom of God. At this point, we need to be reminded who God is so we can say like Job “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
Once we recognize our problem of control, we can move forward to alt(er) our thinking. It is important that we take responsibility for how we think about God, ourselves, and our circumstances. Understanding that we have a desire for control helps us to start changing that unbiblical thinking. We can start by focusing on the one that is in control of our circumstances. Rather than allowing our thoughts to be passive, we can make an active choice to meditate on the goodness and faithfulness of God. We need to be actively remembering what God has done for us. As the Psalmist says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11.)
When we are desperately in need of a reboot, it is an opportunity for us to see how much we need God and how little we can do on our own. All of your worry and fear about all the ways the world can crumble around you is an opportunity for you to cling to the surest foundation. It is like we are treading water in the middle of an ocean. We start frantically reaching out to anything to help keep us afloat. We reach for scraps of wood, other people, or just try to stay afloat of our own strength. But right there in the water is a rock that is rooted deep into the ocean floor. It is unmoving, and it has withstood the fiercest storm. Instead of holding onto the immovable rock, we keep reaching for scraps and other people or things that are floundering themselves. The world around us may be a chaotic storm with waves crashing over us, but we have THE ROCK to cling to.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3
Once we start to alter our thinking, we can begin to operate in repentance. This is where can “delete” the sin and sin patterns in which we are living. Paul tells us to “put off the old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:9). For us, this is a picture of actively removing the sin from our lives. Although we know that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, the Bible is very clear that there is an active role we have in removing the sin. We must take seriously the work of removing sin from our lives. In Colossians 3:5, Paul uses strong terminology. He says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” We need to act as if we are waging war against the ungodly thoughts and belief in us. This is not something that we are doing on our own. As followers of Christ, we are given the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us. The Spirit empowers us to be able to rid ourselves of sin.
The control we are trying to hold onto is in direct opposition to God and our worship of him. When we are trying to control the world around us, we are resisting the sovereignty of God and refusing to surrender to Him. This resistance is keeping us from living in right relationship with Him. So we need to interrupt what we are doing and reboot. We need to come back to the right relationship with Him. The frustrating moments as a parent, the uncertainty of life around us, and the repeating struggles with sin are opportunities of grace. They put a giant spotlight on our need for God and our inability to do anything apart from Him. So take this opportunity to reboot and surrender control to God.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is
Katy Parker is originally from New Mexico. She came to Southeastern in 2009 to complete her MDiv in Biblical Counseling. While she was in seminary, she met and married Jesse Parker, who is now a PhD student and the Director of Student Resources and Financial Aid. Katy graduated in 2014 and recently came on staff at the seminary as the Student Life counselor for women. They have two kids, Lottie (3 years) and Logan (11 months). The Parkers are members at Vision Church in Raleigh where Jesse serves as an elder.