Laying Down The Conductors Baton

How do you react when circumstances spiral out of YOUR control? Maybe you're like me, and you finally realize you need to lay down the conductors baton.
I love music! I always have. If it wasn’t piano lessons, it was band. If it wasn’t band, it was choir. At one point, I was a music education major. But I realized, although I loved music, I didn’t love it enough to make it my career. Or maybe I loved it too much to make it my career. 😉  In my music theory class, I learned the nuts and bolts of conducting music. Thirty years later,  I still direct any and all music that I believe is amazing. Yes … in my car, watching the opening sequence to “Blue Bloods,” sometimes even during worship at church. (Oops, did I actually just type that?) It’s part of who I am. One Christmas, my sweet man even got me my very own conductors baton. It rests patiently in the drawer of my end table–waiting for me to pick it up and put it into motion.

I often chuckle when I watch a movie, and someone is attempting to direct a piece of music that is written in 4/4 time. I think to myself, tsk tsk, when it’s clear they are waving their arms aimlessly.

It’s funny! Except that the baton is representative of another part of my life that isn’t so funny–my desire and felt need to control other people and events in my world.

Since I did not major in music, I never directed a choir, a band, or an orchestra. I don’t know anything about the true effort and skill it takes to bring one-hundred-plus musicians (and I don’t know how many different instruments) into perfect, beautiful harmony. The music I direct is already perfect–I had nothing to do with it.

But somehow, I think I can direct other people into doing exactly what I want them to do, when I want them to do it–and end up with a beautiful outcome.

You might be thinking, How’s that workin’ for ya, Dianne? To which I’d answer, It’s working just about as well as you think it is! (Especially with a house full of teenagers!)

You know as well as I do, that I can’t control my world any more than you can control yours. There is very little, other than ourselves, that we can control. We can’t control the weather, the car ahead of us, how quickly a line at the grocery store moves, countries at war–even our young children. We can influence many of these things, but we can’t force our will on our circumstances.

Why do I feel the need to control my environment? Or, uhm, the people in my environment?

The obvious answer is, I feel like I know what’s best. I probably know what’s best for me. But do I really know what’s best for someone else? Especially someone who is not my child? Do I really know what’s best for them? Of course not.

Even for my own children, as they move from teenagers into adulthood, I have to release the reigns more and more, and let them make their own decisions.

A more subtle answer might be that I’m afraid of the outcome if I’m not the one responsible for it. You’ve heard people say, “If you want something done right, you better do it yourself.”

This is beginning to sound like a diatribe … so let’s get down to the real issue … I don’t trust God with the outcome.


As a control freak (yeah, let’s use the right terminology here), I think I know what’s best. If I don’t control my environment, the outcome is gonna be bad.

Sometimes the outcomes aren’t positive.

Yeah, sometimes, they are bad. We teach, teach, and reteach our children how to live a safe, hopefully successful life. We guide them, we train them. But part of their maturing process is to try some things on their own. (I’m talking to myself, here.) Unfortunately, some of those outcomes are devastating. Not just for them, but for others in their lives.

Sometimes, even surprisingly, the outcomes are beyond what we could have dreamed–even when we kept our hands in our pockets and our mouths closed.

Regardless of the outcomes, God uses everything to accomplish His purposes. Since the time that Sin entered the world, Satan has had dominion over the Earth. That’s why there is so much hatred, evil, and instability. However, God never allows evil to thwart His plan or His purposes.

“Then Job replied to the Lord I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted,'” (Job 42:1-2 NIV).

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” (Isaiah 14:27).

God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but He does allow them. Just like with Joseph and his jealous brothers. They kidnapped him and sold him into slavery, to get him out of their lives. But God used it to free and grow a nation! You can read the whole story in Genesis 37-50. At the end of the story, Joseph told his brothers …

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people,” (Genesis 50:20).

God doesn’t build robots. He allows us to make our own choices–and reap their consequences.
He uses all our circumstances, especially the ones we don’t like, to help us grow and become like Christ. They help us to mature.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world,” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

And in the midst of those trying circumstances, God is with us. He does not leave us alone.

“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you,” (Hebrews 13:5).

The bottom line?

Certainly I need to do everything I can to influence positive outcomes–in my family, in my activities, in my work. But I must realize that I can’t determine or force the actual result, as much as I may want to. Instead, I need to place my baton in the hands of the Master Conductor, take my seat in the orchestra, and await His direction. Then! Trust Him, knowing that God will use even the dissonance in life to create a beautiful symphony.

God uses even the dissonance in life to create a beautiful symphony.Click To Tweet

For a follow-up to this post, check out Life Is The Classroom For Growing Godly Character!



Where I regularly link up.

Purposeful Faith with Kelly Balarie and Testimony Tuesday with Holly Barret.

Grace & Truth with Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings with Deb Wolf, Dance with Jesus with Susan B. Mead

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30 replies

  1. I know this feeling all too well. Thankfully God did not make us robots, like you wrote. Learning to trust that God will work it all out is a wonderful realization!

  2. Dianne, I’m not going to say “I used to be like this” because that just wouldn’t be right – but I will say, I’m better than I used to be and not as good as I’m going to be…in this area. I don’t want to a control freak – I can’t stand it. But I don’t mind being in charge of something. Does that make sense?
    hopeful50 recently posted…five minute friday: presentMy Profile

    • I totally get it. God wired some of us to be just like that. I am one! Sometimes I think God “sets me up” and watches how I react. Sometimes I do ok. Sometimes not so much!

  3. Oh, so true for me! Lord, help me trust you to make all of my life into a “beautiful symphony”!
    Jennifer Yates recently posted…How to Stay Faithful to GodMy Profile

    • Certainly easier said than done … This post was echoing in my mind last night as I went to bed angry that some things didn’t go my way.

  4. I love music but am so not musically inclined at all. Great post!

  5. I remember a time when I would attempt to tell God what He should do… (He loves it when I do that! lol!) and He ever so gently whispered to my heart, “Honey –I don’t answer to you!”

    Don’t we wish He would though? Don’t we think we wish He would answer to us and do what we want and others would just take our advice and know that we know best… (except, of course, when we totally miss it and, in fact, do not know best!)

    I am so thankful for His love and patience and that He reminds me that I can control me… and that is all… (and clearly, even that -on some days- can be tough!)

    Great post!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…How To Take Back Time: Be Present! – A Five Minute Friday postMy Profile

    • I know!!! I just replied above similar to this. I had some things arranged “just so.” But “other parties” did not cooperate. Unfortunately, my own response was not one that reflected this. Still learning!!

  6. “Regardless of the outcomes, God uses everything to accomplish His purposes.” Thanks for this reminder today. We can do all we think we should with our kids, but as they become adults they make their decisions and sometimes they don’t seem good to us. I’m so glad that God sees all and He will bring to pass His will. When I try to control, it just makes things worse so I’m learning to trust Him more and more. Blessings to you, Dianne!
    Gayl Wright recently posted…Being Present in the SnowMy Profile

  7. I so know where you are coming from. I want to protect my child from all chaos and confusion. I want to influence her to live for God. I want her to go to church, college, and have a life that exemplifies God’s goodness. I push and prod and try to control her whole life. I have to let go sometimes to and let God be in control and have faith in His promises. Thanks for sharing.

    • It’s hard with our kids, especially as they mature. The little nitpicky things that get in the way prepare us for these big ones! Thanks for coming by, Mary!

  8. Dianne, as a lover of music who did major in music education and minor in conducting, I suspect we must be kindred spirits. 😉 You’ve spoken wisely about the common tendency to be controlling, and you accurately diagnosed the deeper heart issue at its cause. Unbelief is a common root for a lot of our problems, isn’t it? And how much peace we must forfeit as a result! Thanks for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth! I’m pleased to feature this at A Divine Encounter on Friday. 🙂 If you’d like to stop by, I’ll have a feature button you’re welcome to add to your site. May God continue to bless your ministry!
    Jennifer recently posted…Praying the ScripturesMy Profile

    • I’m honored and blessed! Thank you, Jennifer. So true … We sacrifice what we desire most in our pursuit to control our environment. Blessings on your week!!

  9. I was a music major and taught piano lessons for years. And yes, I think I tried to control the outcome too often . . . especially when my children were at home. I’m better at surrendering control now, maybe because I’ve finally realized I don’t have that much anyway. 😉 Thanks so much for linking this at Faith ‘n Friends!

    • You and Jennifer! Music majors!! I’m learning. Slowly. I think I’m doing better, and then I realize I’m in the middle of my own little tantrum. *sigh*

  10. Ouchie, ouchie! I hear you on this. I often default to responding to the belief that I know best and have the right answer. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I am learning to recognize that sneaky desire to control.
    Ginger Harrington recently posted…How I Know God Cares About Our FearsMy Profile

  11. I so love this Dianne!!! I don’t even have older children yet, so I can only imagine how challenging this part is and will be for me one day. Praying for you!!!
    Johanna recently posted…What a Wedding Ring and Semi Truck Taught Me about Trusting GodMy Profile

  12. I think you wrote this one just for me, Dianne. God must’ve figured I needed to hear these words and used you as His faithful servant. 🙂
    Some years ago when my son first attended day care I learned the lesson that God is really the one who takes care of him — way better than I ever could. Ten years later, God is still finding ways to reinforce that truth and He’ll keep doing so until I get it. As a former band member I think I’d better stick to my role rather than try to conduct the entire orchestra from my seat. Thanks for these wise words!
    Marva @ sunSPARKLEshine recently posted…Trusting God Enough to Walk on WaterMy Profile

  13. Ah I love all the rich Scripture you pack in your posts! And guess what – I’m a music major (piano). So I could certainly relate to your love of music and the movie people flapping their arms! (I especially notice when they’re “playing” the piano – PSSSHHHHHH.
    When I had choral directing, my professor told me to take it down a notch – said I looked like I was punching a cash register. So. I did improve though and used my music in many different capacities down through the years. (I sound like I’m dead or something – I actually still do – church pianist.)
    But your point is so so valid! We want to control everything but only God knows the outcome and can turn something awful into something good.
    I’m so glad he’s our Conductor!!! 🙂
    Love ya, CBB buddy!
    Ruthie Gray recently posted…Why you never stop missing your kidsMy Profile

    • I’ve had more fun meeting music majors with this post! Deb is also a music major and taught piano! I knew there was a reason I liked you!

  14. A relevant post for me as of late. I am tutoring (rephrase… sitting in class with the kids and letting them lead me) a music theory class with a group of teens who have more musical experience than I do and feeling a LOT out of place. What I bring to the table is a new vision of how to learn and how to get excited about music because I can appreciate it but I have little experience with the ‘teaching’ of it. We are having fun starting at the basics and learning to analyze and score a piece of music, and I have a few conductors in my class. They are pretty amazing though, so I will let them hold the baton. 🙂

    This is a great analogy, Dianne. We all like to conduct the lives we hold close more often than we don’t. And teenagers…. Ah! A beautiful crazy time in the life of a parent. I am pretty sure that I didn’t know what humility was till now. 🙂


    • I am amazed at how much knowledge some of these teenage musicians have. It’s exciting to see their passion.

      Yes, teenagers. You described it beautifully — it is wonderful — and, well, you know — all at the same time. But I LOVE IT! Thanks so much for visiting today, Dawn!

  15. Thanks so much, Dianne. As a mom of a strong-willed teenager, I battle with this everyday. But God… He keeps reminding me, to ‘do everything I can to influence positive outcomes’ and ‘Then! Trust Him, knowing that [He] will use even the dissonance in life to create a beautiful symphony.’ Trust; it all comes down to trust. Thank you for those words, Dianne, and thanks for speaking to my heart.
    Carlie recently posted…Winning the Lottery… Quest of the Thirsty SoulMy Profile

    • I’m blessed, Carli, with your beautiful summary! Strong-willed teenagers … I have one of those. They take you to your end–where you need God the most. And then they delight you. It’s crazy! Praying God gives you grace and more grace with your strong-willed one … and that you will continue to trust the One who made your child and then entrusted this one to your heart!! ((Hugs))

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