Control, some of us are said to be given to it more than others. However, I would argue that we are all, in some form or another, always trying our best to control each moment of our days to the best of our ability. We are trying to manage our moments to make the most of our time, be the best we can be, present ourselves as competent as possible and show ourselves worthy of whatever title we bear from friend, parent, spouse, employee, employer, or a number of any other hats we have at our disposal.
But this never-ending cycle of being in control is consuming us to no end and taking our energy in a way that we cannot comprehend. For ages those who have gone before us have been asked what advice they would give the generations behind them and the overwhelming common response come in a form that says to slow down and enjoy life more. Yet we continue to fail to hear it until we too get to their stage in life and realize they were right. Why is that? I suppose it’s still natural to strive for success and when we reach it (success) we stand back in awe of ourselves only to realize that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be and what really mattered was right in front of us the entire time.
So my challenge today is to stop doing what you do best, for a moment at least, to get ahead…if not just for today. Stop controlling everything!
We attempt to control everything in our lives in order to be accepted – period. Being rejected, ignored, abandoned or any form of not belonging is like death to our brains.
We can’t always give up control. We can’t walk into all settings with such a free spirit and really think that life is going to be so fair to us. That is true. But we can bring a balance back. There are many situations when we can drop the control part and simply roll with the punches. We just need to learn which ones those are. That’s a learned skill!
You need to challenge yourself to pick a few of the important issues and stop controlling everything in order to allow freedom to come into your life. Laugh at mistakes. Roll with the punches and allow silly and even embarrassing things to happen. They really won’t ruin you. Sit with those uncomfortable feelings once in a while and learn what they feel like. Once you get comfortable with them you’ll find you didn’t really die and that you can become a more tolerable person. Those around you will be grateful.
For those situations that you can’t give up control? Don’t. But afterwards, find a way to release the tension by safely expressing yourself. Talk to a friend about what happened. Give yourself permission to do something fun that you enjoy as a reward for handling a tough situation. Journal about your success or struggle in the matter. Reflect on how you could have done better and learn from it for the next time around or what you did well that you can do again the next time. That’s another learned skill!
Know that these hard days WILL come. They come to all of us. Your job is to equip yourself for them. Fire departments prepare for emergencies by preparing their engines and staff. The engines are prepared by being fully stocked with supplies and the engine is backed in so that they can easily leave the station when an emergency hits. They don’t have to back out and watch for traffic, they have the easiest exit route. The staff are trained and ready. We can learn a lot from them. We tend to be surprised that hard times hit us as if we’re unaware that they will. Understand that bad days come, trials occur, hardships hit, and evil lurks. We have to be prepared for battle at all times and ready with a plan. One way is to have a joy tank filled. One of the biggest battles I see people face is depression and anxiety.
Depression is a lack of feelings/emotions. It’s our job to fill our emotional tank just like a gas tank. Each and every day we need to be finding things we are grateful for. If you struggle with depression, don’t wait until depression hits to try to find gratefulness…it’s too late then. On your good days, write on cards things that you are grateful for and put them into a box, basket or something that you can go to on your depression days. I once had a friend who used to tell me she was grateful for her teeth. I thought that was silly – a bit ‘too grateful’ until I saw my daughter fall and knock out her front teeth. Prayer is helpful with depression to help the mind hear the heart of the Holy Spirit and how God see’s the person rather than how the person see’s themselves and the world around them.
Anxiety is a generalized fear of the unknown. It’s a terrorizing emotion that has no name because fear can be given a name. I am afraid of ____ (the dark, losing my job, etc.), whereas anxiety is anything looming in the distance and it doesn’t have a name. Anxiety’s secret is to remain unnamed. Whereas depression is a lack, anxiety is everything. It’s as if Satan has taken the two extremes and shaken our world with these. But God is a stabilizer. Anxiety is usually the result of someone who is overly sensitive due to much trauma in their lives so they’ve learned to cope by being hypervigilant to their surroundings. If he/she always stays on top of things and keeps watch, he/she hopes to avoid any surprises that might harm him/her. The result is anxiety. Prayer is often helpful in this area to calm the mind and surrender the thoughts to the will of the Holy Spirit.
Control is never the answer – but it can feel as though it is the answer. It can be a temporary solution but eventually twists a person into knots and traps them. Control is a trap. It eventually pulls you further away from relationships rather than draws you closer to relationships. Control leads people deeper into fear-based relationships. While it always begins feeling safe, it always ends destructive. Begin challenging those areas that you feel you must control to learn why. Try to understand the origin of the fear that underlies the need for control. Take steps to loosen your grip of control to gain freedom. It’s a very difficult journey but an amazing one of freedom on the other side.