for when you think you want control

“This is the second time in my life where I cannot control an outcome. The first time was the disease, [the second time is] now.”

Lance Armstrong,  in his interview with Oprah Winfrey

Lance ArmstrongLast May when Phillip Phillips won American Idol, he didn’t jump up and down or make number one signs in the air or fall to his knees and make a big scene. Instead, he humbly sang his song until about mid-way through when his emotions twisted up his throat and he had to stop singing and just put down his head.

Phillip Phillips seemed like a man who knew that the outcome of that competition was completely out of his hands. He looked genuinely shocked to discover himself as the winner.

I heard a quote where someone said the human soul wasn’t made for fame – watching Phillip win was visible proof of that statement for me. 

Last night in a two hour interview with Oprah, Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. He said every time he won a tour, he knew he was going to win. He orchestrated it to be so.

Oprah said, “Fame magnifies whoever you really are.” I think she’s right.

Lance Armstrong said he was a guy who expected to always get what he wanted.

He was a controller of outcomes in every area of his life.

Except when he got cancer.

And when he got caught.

Did you watch Part 1 of the interview?


  1. says

    I thought Oprah’s fame quote was one of the best parts of the interview; so spot on.

    Despite being in a much lower place than he was a week ago, Lance still seems very much in control. Of course, we know this isn’t the case…but…I don’t remember the last time I’ve witnessed such PR genius.

  2. says

    It’s heartbreaking. I know I’ve done it – grasped hands with Eve, questioned the goodness of the Giver, and stepped into the dizzying dance for control. And the really humbling thing to me is that my control over (fill in the blank) is always vapor…illusion. So thankful for grace that is greater…and new every morning.

  3. JennyBC says

    I watched last night and had mixed feelings. Control…the refusal to surrender. It has deep spiritual implications as well. What I saw last night was a mixture of a man who is coming face to face with his actions but who is also mad and embarrassed that he was caught. So if he seemed insincere, I get it. How many times have I sat before the Father with an “confession” that was half hearted. It certainly was not repentance at the time. It may have become repentance as my heart changed. I will be interested to see part II and how he describes what the implications to his life have been. God help us all if we think we are in charge…we were not made for fame and we were not made for ultimate control either.

  4. says

    I love the way the two stories contrast, thank you. Poor Lance, I pray he comes away from this stronger, finally relinguishing control to The Force that is greater than him; it was only a matter of time anyway.

  5. says

    I wasn’t going to watch the interview, but I will now.

    I recognize all too well the craving for control…the elaborate schemes to get things to turn out my way…the subtle (and not-so-subtle!) use of others as a means to an end.

    Grateful that I’ve tasted the peace of surrender…and it is good!

  6. says

    My first thought is, his children. Bless their sweet souls.

    My second is a story I’ve been telling my girls about icebergs. You only see 10% of them. The rest are under water.

    10% may be your talent. What others SEE.
    90% is the foundation you build on. This is all about character.

    The 10% does not matter a hill of beans if there is no foundation for it to sit on.
    And it is the 90% – the part underneath all that talent that will sink you.

  7. says

    Great post and take on this situation, Emily – thank you. I love the contrast you pointed out with the 2 celebs. And you hit the nail on the head for me as to while I just loved watching Philip Phillips win American Idol…it was so honest and genuine– a true winner.

  8. says

    I didn’t watch but I did have Twitter up and running and felt like I was watching.

    I just couldn’t watch someone lie. From what I’ve heard, he he hasn’t come to a broken place yet.

    Your Phillip Phillips example is spot on. Humility.

  9. Amy says

    Just thinking about your two quotes . . . “Fame magnifies whoever you really are.” “The human soul was not made for fame.” Don’t sound contradictory?

    I agree that our souls were not made for fame and it usually ends up a destructive force. That’s why any fame we receive should magnify the Father . . . He can handle glory righteously. Outside of Him, we can not.

    Fame eventually exposes what we believe, what and who we worship, our treasure. I guess in that sense it magnifies who we really are. Though I doubt that’s what Oprah meant.

    “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 12:34

    We are meant to have our hearts laid open in all their filth before a loving and merciful Father who can redeem them into something beautiful. The courts of public opinion will never show that grace, and so it becomes hardened in defense. Someone commented and rightly pointed out that his reaction to being caught was embarrassment and anger. Just how my kid reacts when caught. Just how I react when I feel like I’ve lost control. Even control I never really had. Or when my heart is exposed for what it really is. I’m caught, mad, embarrassed, and hopefully, repentant. That last part is hard because that’s where you have to go exposed before God, knowing you have no justification in yourself. Only in the cross.

  10. Christine says

    I did watch. I was saddened for him, but I think Lance was living the life of a “Good Girl” (!!!) for so long, just on a much, much larger stage. We’ve all wanted to keep our flaws hidden, and yet we’ve all been caught and called out at some point in our lives. For most of us, it humbles us to know we’ve hurt those we love, and that they are watching to see how we go forward. For Lance Armstrong, he not only lives with the hurt he’s caused to so many, but he is also aware that he will spend the rest of his life earning back the trust of his friends, family, and also the world that once held him in such high esteem.

    I’ve seen interviews in the press with many who know him, saying that there is no way they can forgive him. I hope, having seen how shattered he is, they will find a way to forgive him nonetheless… Maybe, through that forgiveness, he will be able to see what true mercy and grace is…

  11. Barbara Fanta says

    The even saddest part is that he cannot control the consequences of his denial of Christ. “With regard to religion, he is agnostic, quoted as saying, “at the end of the day, if there was indeed some body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I’d been baptized. If there was indeed a god at the end of my days, I hoped he didn’t say, ‘But you were never a Christian, so you’re going the other way from heaven.’ If so, I was going to reply, ‘You know what? You’re right. Fine.’

  12. says

    Hi Emily. I didn’t see the interview but your words are touching; it takes a lot to let go of control in any situation especially ones we forsee an outcome. Thanks for these reminders ever so needed!

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