“The people and circumstances around me do not make me what I am, they reveal who I am” Laura Schlessinger
I am sitting on a suitcase wearing the hand-knit burgundy poncho my grandmother made for me. At the best of my 2nd grade ability I packed by myself, for myself, anticipating a weekend with the one man in my life, who was becoming more a stranger as the days went on. First the move from our home, then the change of schools, then the weekend visits- which were dwindling from occasional to once in a while. I can’t recall exactly what I packed inside the suitcase, but my Mrs. Beasley doll was by my side. I know I’ve repressed a lot of the pain wrapped in these memories, of the step-father who promised to pick me up each Friday only, to face the reality that he wasn’t showing up again. My mother shuffled me back in the house and into the world of my Barbies I’d go. I remember the tension in the air. The unspoken hostility. Children sense the anger of adults, but perceive all as somehow their own fault.
The seeds are planted; the little seeds that sprout up later in life as a need to control people, circumstances, places, things.
Little girls learn early that things don’t always go as planned, people can’t always be counted on and life isn’t always happy. Some learn earlier than others, and in ways that aren’t ideal. But in the end, we’ve all got to face reality.
Because the truth is as adults, we understand the reality is the same. Things don’t always go as planned. Heck, they rarely go exactly as planned, and people are often unreliable. As far as the happiness thing goes, let’s face it, as Abraham Lincoln once said,
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
So, I learned early to hold plans loosely… or so you’d think.
Instead, let me tell you what I’ve learned about human behavior over the course of my life. What is taken from an individual can sometimes become the thing they cling to tightly and have to learn to release over the course of a lifetime. To the degree they can comprehend, reflect and consider their relationship to whatever it is they cling to is the key to their ability to be free and move on.
It has taken me many years to truly hold loosely the plans I make. It has taken years and the presence of a faithful and real God walking me through the dark places, shedding light and truth onto the false beliefs and lies that I lived.
My past issues with control are too complicated to deal with in the context of this blog post, but as for you, you need to consider your relationship with your own need to control; with whom and what you want to control.
“The closest to being in control we will ever be is in that moment that we realize we’re not.” Brian Kessler
The truth is we have limited ability to control anything at all.
Ultimately, the only thing we can control is our own response to the myriad of circumstances and experiences that come about each day.
You can make your plans, but our lives our not in our hands. That is a whole other blog post as well!
What or who is it that you feel you need to control?
Why do you think you need (to do) to control this person/situation ?
Can you find a root connection to the situation (s) or person (relationship) you feel you need to control?
What are you neglecting in your own life while trying to control this situation or person?
What would happen if you let go of the need to control it/them?
There was a time when I would hold things against people who let me down, and there was a time when if things did not go the way I wanted, let’s say you would not have wanted to be around me. My relationship with Christ has tempered me, but I am still in process. I have experienced greater freedom as I have come to realize and accept my insufficiency to be in control.
Before you brush me off about this issue of control I want you to give yourself a chance to look at some of your “planner motives”. Those who give planning a high priority will want to look at the topic of control periodically and make sure that they are not becoming Planning Dictators, and we who say we know God should be willing to surrender daily our plans to Him… if we are truly submitted to His plans for us.
I have learned that the One who is in control is trustworthy and sufficient for all that I don’t understand.
We make our plans, as we should. But accepting and rolling with what comes our way without complaining or malice within is a beautiful gift to experience for ourselves. It is also a worthy offering to give those who know and love us.
Take some time to reflect on these questions. Journal them, Ponder them and see what they reveal. You might be surprised at what you find when you explore your relationship with and perceptions of control.
So who’s in control of your life? Note in your journal if you find freedom or fear as you delve deeper. Release all that you find into the hands of the One who understands the beginning and the end. And all of the in between. As well as your relationship with it all.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
With you on the journey…