In December of 2000, two months after my divorce, my older brother gave me a copy of The Zen of Oz by Joey Green. Since most of my family are Kansans (although I now live over the state line in Missouri), the Wizard of Oz has special significance. We know about tornadoes from real-life experience in our basements or storm cellars, and we all know characters like the ones in the Oz stories.
Wherever you live, the principles of those stories are the same. For example, we can’t always control our circumstances, and we can’t control other people. However, we can control ourselves. Here’s how Joey Green puts it, “All relationships reflect your relationship with yourself. If you feel the need to control other people, what you really need is to control yourself.” I wasted so much time trying to control my wasband. I kept trying to make him see the light. I tried to make him understand the mistake he was making. I kept trying to make him end his affair and recognize that his actions were devastating to so many people. I was distraught that he wasn’t behaving differently. I was furious that he was destroying our marriage and doing so willingly.
We need to do everything in our power to prevent the divorce, but once he has made it clear that divorce is what he wants and that’s what he intends to do, regardless of all of our begging and pleading and screaming and sobbing, we need to give it up. I finally had to accept that he was going to do what he was going to do, regardless of anything I did or anything I said, no matter how loudly I said it. The sooner we realize that we cannot control anyone but ourselves, the better.
So, throughout the divorce process, rather than trying to change him, we need to make sure we are being the people we should be. We need to make sure that OUR actions are what they should be. Stop worrying about what he is doing. We can be like “Miss Gulch who owns hald of the county and wants to own the other half or we can be like the Wicked Witch of the West who wants to control Oz,” or we can just accept that we can only control our actions. If we do that, we’ll eventually get to the place we should be … “home,” that place in the universe that has been created to bring out the best of who we really are.
“So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness.” 2 Peter 1:5-6