Tag Archives: control

Just Breathe

“Just breathe, Kimberly.  Relax and breathe.”

These are the soothing words that my mother has been whispering to me for my entire life.  And now my sweet, wise fiancé whispers them to me as well.  They are both the kind of people who feel excited “on the inside.”  They smile slightly when they’re happy while I jump up and down, clapping and laughing loudly.  They also take things in stride  and don’t get too upset when things don’t go the way they planned.  They aren’t so sure they were the ones who  were right to begin with.

So why, raised by such a calm and reasonable mother, do I find it so hard just to relax and breathe?  And why has it always been this way?  Why do I hold on to everything with such a tight grip, feeling that the world will go spinning out of control if I can’t keep it in check?

I want things RIGHT.
I want everything to go smoothly and to flow, and I want everyone happy.  But in my vain attempts to keep  it all in check, I become unhappy – full of angst and fighting to keep myself from a full-blown anxiety attack.  Thank  God I haven’t had one of those in a very long time…

God has been drilling these lessons into my head for the last several years, over and over again.  I am not in control.  I cannot make anything go my way.  The sheer force of my will isn’t enough.  I do not always have the answers.  In fact, I am often very wrong.  I can relax and let God handle the things that concern me. 

So today, Labor Day, I am ceasing from my labors.  I’m taking the advice of a friend who came over to help me unravel the mess in my head and put together a priority list.  She told me I’m not allowed to worry about the lingering items on my to do list concerning the wedding, honeymoon, and new life together in a new house in a new part of the country.  She said I am only allowed to concern myself with what is on the list for today – and I now have a well-organized list to tell me just what that is.

I’m going to go sit with a friend and drink some coffee.  We’re going to laugh and talk and not worry about the fact that my wedding invitation envelopes lay un-addressed in a pile on my desk (and no one else can do them for me because they must be RIGHT).

I’m going to stop concerning myself with who will replace me at my job and trust that God has heard my prayers for just the right person at just the right time.  (Oh, how hard it will be to believe that anyone else can love and nurture and bless those children and my dear friends, their parents, as well as I can…)

As the list of concerns and things I must do grows and the time in which to do them shrinks, I am doing all I can to lay my concerns before the Lord and trust that He will work everything out.  I am doing my best to remember how incredibly joyful this time in my life is and to relish the pleasure of being a bride.  I am trying to delegate things to my friends and family, letting perfectionism slip away and sanity return.

God, help me to remember to breathe.

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‘Tis So (Bitter)Sweet, Part 2

As my life has changed this year, facing fears of the uncertain future has become my daily companion.  Many things in my life are temporary and I don’t know when they will end.  At times, I find myself reacting to a situation in a way that’s totally unreasonable, placing unrealistic expectations on others, and anxiously looking ahead.  Sometimes I internalize these struggles and sometimes I take them out on others. 

When I find myself totally out of sorts, I go for a long walk.  I pour out my frustrations to God and I don’t stop walking until my head is clear.  A few days ago, anyone who saw me walking down the street might’ve wondered if I needed to be put in a straight-jacket.  I was crying, waving my hands around, and huffing up a very big hill.  At the top of that hill, when I was totally out of breath, I heard God’s voice break through my fears and questions. 

In that moment I realized how (yet again) I was allowing fear and uncertainty to plague me.  Hasn’t God taken care of me up to this point?  Won’t He continue to do so?  And if something in my present circumstances changes, won’t He provide something else for me?  Hasn’t He proven Himself faithful to me time and time again? 

Letting go of my fears and turning them over to Him felt like peeling off a filthy garment and placing it into God’s hands.  I felt His cleansing blood flow over me, washing me clean.  It’s God’s job to take care of me.  It isn’t my parent’s job, my boyfriend’s job, my friend’s job, my boss’s job, or anyone else’s!  God is responsible for my future and I can let those around me be who they are, trusting that my future is secure. 

I’ve found that the people in my life who provide a sense of security are often the ones who suffer the most when I get full of fear.  I want them to fix things for me.  I want them to center their lives on me, take care of me, meet my needs…  Then I get disappointed and hurt when they don’t measure up to my unrealistic, often unspoken, expectations.  When I trust God to take care of me and meet my needs, the people I care about have the freedom to be themselves and respond to me in their own way.  The tension on the relationship eases and everyone is happier. 

Isn’t that the heart of things when I get anxious and afraid?  I’m not really trusting that God has my life in His hands and won’t let me fail.  It’s a huge mistake to force things to happen when I think God has forgotten about me, to struggle and strive and fret.  If I cast all my cares upon Him, He will take care of me. 

Oh, and here’s the most frustrating part of the equation for a planner like me:  God probably won’t take care of things in the way I think He should.  His ways are better, even when I can’t understand.  But they are HIS ways and not mine. 

Maybe my next post should be about giving up my false sense of control?

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