Let go, man! 

Most of you know someone who always has to be in control. They have everything scheduled, things run “by the book” (I imagine this is the book of Whacked Out because that’s what they eventually end up being) and everything is in its place. I used to look down on those people. I’m not proud of it but I thought I was better than that. I wasn’t like them, no way, I was so laid back. I just went with the flow. Nothing ever got under my skin. Until, that was, I started to get all adulty.

About the time our kids became teenagers I had an epiphany. I was no longer in control and it was really, really obvious. I realized that although I was Mr. GoWithIt and easygoing that was only as long as the minor maelstroms were missing soccer uniforms and dirty socks. I was cool with being along for the ride as long as I could rescue our kids’ homework and buy juice boxes in a single bound. Once they hit high school and driving? HOLY CRAP! We had to get a handle on this!! Still, I tried to act like I was okay with things spiraling out of my control. Mostly I laid awake nights wondering how our lack of parenting skills was going to doom our kids to living in a van down by the river and how our divergent parenting approaches would instill split personalities in them. I mean, tell-all book deals and therapists are all well and good but… See, I had finally begun to come out of denial and now I’m finally ready to fess up. I am a closet control freak.

Back in the day I really did control things even though maybe it didn’t look like it. Ask my kids about the pocket calendar I called my “life”. And certainly, when the kids were young I held all the cards. Now that they’re young adults, out of college and mostly on their own I realize I owe an apology to all those parents that outwardly tried to keep things in line. I’m right with you brothers (and sisters). The difference is that now I no longer have an outward appearance of being laid back. I finally realize how much I LIKE control. I want my pickup to be clean. I want my desk, my room, my closet, my sock drawer (for crying out loud!!) to be orderly with things in place. Outward control is inner comfort. Don’t believe me?

See (clutter) in this same section. Order soothes me. Control comforts me while I freak out on the inside. The problem is as so many personal development people will tell you, “comfort” is not where growth lies. So (and man, you have to know this pains me to say this) this Thursday I am quitting trying to control everything. I know it won’t be easy but I have to give it up. And here’s why.

If I hang onto control I’ll never trust. I’ll never trust my kids, I’ll never trust my spouse or others and I’ll never trust God to have things unfold in the way that’s best for me. If I don’t trust my kids, they’ll never grow into the adults they need to be. Sure, things are going to be messy for a while with them but I’m going to have to be okay with that. Furthermore if I don’t trust my spouse or others I’ll run myself into the ground. I believe that down deep in our core we all want to help others. If I don’t allow those people to do that I rob them of it. Finally, if I don’t trust God then I negate him. Simple as that. If I say I’m a follower and I have faith and trust but I try to do it all by myself or on my own then I’m flat out lying. And I hate liars.

So, here’s the truth. This week, Thursday, I’m quitting trying to control everything. The truth is stuff will happen, scrapes will be had, conundrums encountered and who knows my pickup might be a pig sty (for a while) but it will be okay. I just have to breathe. And tell myself it will be okay. And breathe. And tell myself it will be okay. And…. repeat.

I think we all wrestle with the subject of control. How much, how little and what are the consequences? Where’s the one area you’re struggling with today?

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