My “go to” reactions to stress, change, or hurt are: panic and obsession. I panic that I won’t be able to fix something and then I obsess about the situation until I am blue in the face. We all have different tendencies in our reactions to difficult situations, but what we all have in common is we all want to control the situation and create immediate relief. No one likes having a troubled heart or mind.
Whether you are going through a divorce, dealing with a wayward child, experiencing heartbreak, losing your job, or maybe you simply dread your daily tasks/routines… we all have one thing in common: and that is our natural inclination to control. I freakin love control. I like controlling the remote, I like controlling the music in the car, I like controlling the temperature in the house, I crave control. Now I realize I may have a more severe inclination to control than most (a.k.a. type A personality over here), but every single person on this earth has a propensity to control situations in their lives. It is our gut level response to unexpected outcomes. When our expectations aren’t met or our story isn’t being fulfilled the way we dreamt it to be, we immediately take matters into our own hands. Some people say “whatever happens… happens” but deep down they aren’t necessarily happy with the outcome, so they cover up their panic with calming words, but their hearts are restless. While others wear their hearts on their sleeve (me) and obsess over the situation by talking about it incessantly.
Before I try to bring encouragement to the surface, I’d like to mention that both categories of control are completely normal and are a part of our brokenness as humans. No one, not one is perfect or supreme. Therefore, you are not alone in your struggles. We all want our heartaches, confusion, and frustrations to be fixed. Again, you are not wrong nor crazy for craving healing.
Every person on this planet desires satisfaction. We want the wrongs to be right, we want justice, we want our sad tears to be wiped, we want people who harm us to suffer, and we want to be the ones who make these outcomes happen. (control). If there is one thing I have learned in my 21 years of living it’s that
Control is to be Surrendered, but Contentment is to be Embraced.
Now I realize every situation is different and perhaps you’re reading this going “this young lady doesn’t even know half of the crap I’ve been through…” While you are not wrong in thinking this, I pray I can still bring some encouragement and offer a fresh perspective.
Embracing contentment is a result of control being surrendered. For me, when I give God control of my circumstances, I am able to find contentment in any situation. When you trust someone, perhaps it is your spouse to watch your kids while you run errands, or your best friend to control the music in your car, or your sister to control the TV remote, the simple ability to trust them with those controllable tasks allow room for you to sit in contentment. These examples may seem silly or juvenile, but the same principle applies to heart-wrenching circumstances. We are relational beings, and so is our Creator. He wants us to surrender control to Him so that we may find pure contentment no matter the circumstance. When you worry or fixate on an uncontrollable situation, you make for a restless spirit and you risk the ability to find true healing. Perhaps brokenness wasn’t meant to be controlled but to be surrendered so that we can find contentment and joy… sounds like a decent trade off.
Bottom Line: Someone has to be in control. There has to be a pilot of a plane, driver of a car, owner of a business, ruler of a country, adult of the home, etc. So who or what controls your life? And if it is you, ask yourself if you have true peace, if you have peace that silences your thoughts before going to bed. Peace that guards your heart from unnecessary fear. Peace that reminds you of your worth and purpose on this earth… I cannot answer that question for you, but my peace comes from Christ’s love for me which ignites surrender of control.
Luke 12: 22-26
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”