I'm always so amazed at how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking I've got things under control. In fact, I've gotten to the point that when I experience that intoxicating feeling- you know- the one where a few weeks have gone by smoothly and we begin to pat ourselves on the back because the kids haven't been late to their activities, the laundry has been cleaned and put away, and we actually have money in our bank account...that feeling. I know that when I glance back at those weeks with a sense of self approval, (like I had anything to do with it), that something bad is going to happen to throw me right back in my place. And just to be clear...my place is one of complete lack of control.
I think there is such a fine line between recognizing our limits, those things that will never be in our hands, and those things that God has given us stewardship over. Imagine the misery of someone who is constantly thinking, "If I can just push a little more, work a bit harder, change this in the future..." How exhausting! And I realized that last night when I was falling asleep on the couch at 8:30. So much of my fatigue stems from this need to control everything within my little bubble of existence. I spend my days obsessing about the fact that my son isn't walking yet (when my heart, and every other person is telling me that it will happen on its own.) I panic about our financial situation, how my daughter's teeth are growing in, whether or not the butter-margarine-canola-can't believe it's not REAL spread I'm eating on my toast will clog my arteries. I worry about aging, and suffering from cancer or Alzheimer's. I think about my parents dying- when and how it will happen. I worry about the worldwide hunger epidemic, and all the antibiotic-resistant microorganisms that are just waiting to attack my immune system. I wonder each time I get in a car, whether or not I'm going to be in an accident. I am extremely meticulous about what I eat, how it was prepared, the cleanliness of it, and the probability of it making me sick. I ruminate over whether or not Trenton's job is stable, even though there is absolutely no evidence that it's not. My days are rounded out with "What ifs?" and it is just such a waste of time. My best friend Autumn has the ability to see when I'm swirling down the toilet of "What ifs," and always cuts me off by posing this same question, "What if birds had riffles? Then we'd all be trouble."
Autumn is reminding me to keep some much needed perspective about where and how I fall on the map of mortality, and how crazy I sound when I start listing my concerns. One thing I've really learned this year is that ultimately, whatever we've been given can be taken away. But I also know that one our many purposes of being on this earth is to master the things we do have control over, and find peace in that. Not to be driven crazy by those we don't. For me it was easier to deal with the concept by sitting down and writing out a list- one column included those things I'd like to work a little harder on that I know will have a changing result. The other column was titled, "Somebody else's problem." It's such a freeing feeling, to let go of the illusion (and that is what it is) of being in total control of my circumstances. I agree with Melanie Beattie, author of The Language of Letting Go, when she says, "Whatever we try to control does have control over us and our life." She continues with, "We trade a life that we have tried to control, and we receive in return something better- a life that is manageable."
Quote from "The Language of Letting Go", by Melanie Beattie.