Deception of control

It’s that time of year again. Watching TV can be painful, especially the ads. No, I’m not talking about election season, although that does run a close second. I’m talking about Halloween. I can’t even watch the Food network, as the creations they are making compete with one another for the most foul and goulish edibles. Why must it all be so horrifying and distorted?

As I was flipping through channels trying to avoid the offending commercials and shows, I started thinking about what is it that makes people like this kind of thing? The closest I can get in thinking about this genre is the Harry Potter series; and the most unique aspect of the stories is the magic. In essence, the stories are about a boy who is learning how to control, not only himself, but also to manipulate what he comes in contact with: circumstances, things, people, etc. Yet even with this power, albeit very rudimentary due to his inexperience, life is not easy for him. Even the adults with their superior skills must face their own issues and trials. So why is magic so fascinating and desirable to us?

What is magic? It depends on the person; for one it’s about changing a frog into a prince. To another it could be spinning straw into gold. For others, like some characters in Harry Potter,  it could be endless power and domination over others. The allure of magic is that we can seemingly have whatever we desire. However, magic is not real. We sacrifice something real for the perception of an altered existence. Yet this attempt at controlling our environment ends up making us slaves to something not real and we will never be happy with the way things are. Magic is deceiving ourselves in what we want. Magic is a distortion of reality under the disguise of control. 

In all our efforts to get what we desire and to change what’s around us through magic, we miss what we truly have. We miss the beauty of the little things that can bring a smile. We miss the big things because we are looking for something else. We miss the true joy of being in the moment with those around us. God has given us the ability to think and to reason. With those tools, we can appreciate everything that crosses our path, accept what we cannot change, and assist in the transformation of what we can. God wants us to participate with Him in bringing His Kingdom to those we encounter. It’s a transformation to God’s will, not ours. 

God has given each of us the gift of free will. We have the freedom to choose. Our choices are what shapes us and the path we walk. It’s rather ironic that we look to control those around us and make choices for them, when the all-powerful Almighty God allows each of us to make our own choices. The God who is Love itself has given us an example to follow. Why give up freedom of choice and truth for the chains of control and deception?  

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