At the end of a very long day, dinner was cooking in the oven, Jonathan and Magnolia were LOUDLY chasing each other around the kitchen island, and the dog was barking. Then as Caleb opened the oven, smoke filled the kitchen… cue the smoke alarm… and the kids are still chasing each other, and the dog is still barking. The feeling of being completely out of control washed over me as I opened the windows and there went Scout, the dog, out the front door. I stood there in disbelief. What a crazy, noisy, chaotic night.
I do not consider myself a “controlling” person but having 4 kids can definitely manifest a major temptation to control. I don’t like surprises, especially the kind that come with children and pets. I could literally fill this page up with all of the out of control surprises I have encountered.
Because of this, I attempted to create more perimeters to avoid these surprises. Think drawer labels, laminated schedules, family meetings, rules, and more rules. The more I tried to control the more frustrated I became. Like really frustrated. Life would not cooperate with my grand plan. The unexpected just kept happening. It was me literally trying to wrestle life into submission. At some point it became clear my fight was in vain and in that very moment I threw up my arms and shouted, “CONTROL AND LIFE ARE INCOMPATIBLE.” They do not go together at all.
YOU LIKE MY BUBBLE?
Control is like a bubble that we build around ourselves as a way to quiet our fears and get the results we think are best. Yet, by the time we finish building it we are shut off from everything and we have shut out those that love us, because nobody wants to live in my bubble. It is fashioned from my own preferences and goals and has very little of anyone else in it.
The problem with bubbles is that they are transparent, I can still see the chaos I am trying to save myself from. They are easily burst, so there are lots of opportunity to be frustrated. They are time consuming, so I have to keep focusing on creating my bubble instead of focusing on other things. It preoccupies my interactions with people and life. I am so busy trying to control I don’t see the look in your eyes and the harm I am causing.
I’m over it. Being in control is way overrated.
Control, We Have to Break Up
Most of the time our intent is noble and our heart is in the right place. We want what is best for ourselves and those we love. It will be glorious for a while as we take the reins and control our destinies. It will feel great, but it will eventually catch up with us through stress, exhaustion or a broken relationship. When that time comes, if you wait that long, it will be obvious it is time to break up. Breaking up with control is an opportunity to let go of our all-knowing egos so we can grab hold of God’s way and serve others in love.
What does freedom look like to me? Freedom looks like trust, rest and grace. It is setting my heart free from the stress and labor it takes to control. It is acceptance of others who do things different. It feels really good.
So, the next time you have the temptation to fashion your own utopia; Release the control to God, Rest your heart and mind, and Trust in God’s ability to work. When the kids don’t cooperate with your organizational masterpiece, you can’t afford to save the ideal 20% of your income, or they put mayo on your hamburger…be a carrier of freedom.
God has it. God will work it out. There is such peace in accepting that I don’t know everything and I am not always right. Let life happen without forcing your own way. Embrace the mess, the noise and imperfection. Breathe, Smile, and Trust. Who knows? Once we release our death grip off of the situation, He may actually be able to work a miracle…HIS WAY!
Galatians 5:13 For you, brothers, were called to freedom; but do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Rather, serve one another in love.
Response: At the root of control is fear and pride, it says,” I know best.” What I did was humble myself, repent and place in His capable hands my struggles. I chose to Release, Rest and Trust Him fully and completely. I invite you to do the same, today.