Saturday, September 17, 2011


Yesterday I had a flash.

Sort of like a firework behind my eyes, only I couldn't see it. I just knew that one moment my mind was dark and the next, truth seemed to be exploding and shining light into the dim places.

It was one of those afternoons when the dread of "out of control" was washing over me.

I was hunting for a piece of paper.

To make a list.

Or four lists.

Or maybe just to make a note of "be better at everything" lest I forget that I'm not living up to my unrealistic and unholy expectations of myself.

One particular relationship in our house has been draining me for weeks. I was tired and worn out by the frustration and consumed by a "fix." The kind of consumed where your mind can't rest. You start by thinking about the problem. And thinking and thinking about it. Then you urge yourself to find a solution so you aren't just one of those perpetual whiners. But your search for a solution takes you on a bumpy road, filled with potholes and signs that bear all of your insecurities and paint in bright colors the fears that YOU, in fact, are the source of the frustration to begin with. So if you want to fix it, you have to start by knocking yourself all to pieces and then rebuild yourself as a new, in control woman.


When I get flustered, I want control.

I want a list to tell me how to get that control.

To make order.

To own and manipulate.

As I simultaneously lamented my failures and clung to the abilities that I believed could put me back into a sense of controlled, or controlling, well-being, I had the flash.

I realized that when I am overcome by a weight of "out of control" it means that I have tried to take something that is not mine.

When I can't settle into my life and relax in the ebb and flow of my days, it means that I have abandoned what has been very specially planned and saved for me while I'm on this earth and traded it for a heavy, impossible load.

When I take something that belongs in God's hands, and try to trap it into my own, I upset the balance of my relationship with the Creator.

It should come as no surprise that I feel out of control.

I never had control.

And in actuality, it sure sounds a lot better to know that someone who is everywhere and knows everything and can do anything is the one who is leading this pony.

Why on earth would I actively choose to spend my days in a frenzy, making lists to tell me what to do, how to change, what to stop and what to start? Why not, instead, when I feel that so-very-strong temptation to take something that is not mine, could I not realize what I've done and open my hands immediately.

My temptation, when feeling unsettled, is to curl up into a tight ball and hold what I think is mine close to my chest with my body ridged and weary around it. Who would have imagined that the solution would be instead to expand and stretch and open my arms to allow all that is not mine, all that I should have not tried to control in the first place, to go. To be in someone else's hands. To be in the hands of one much more capable than I.

Can I tell you, when I realized this, I was in my bathroom. I was trying to catch my breath and find my bearings and trying to shake off the soul-crushing weight of being a failure at making my life fit into my skewed understanding of "good."

I saw the pop of light and watched the little trickles of glitter fall over my weary mind and my heart that was bruised by the heavy load I had been trying to hold.

I made a decision to open my hands and drop my list and believe that God loves me.

When I left the bathroom, the difficulties were still there.

But so was peace.

I haven't fixed anything. The things that were hard before I went into the bathroom are still hard. The difference is, I feel more agile and sure footed when walking this trail.

The difference is, when I look at the trouble, I don't need to fix it.

My breath comes easily, in and out, trusting that as I take the time to breathe, God is caring, and participating, and holding all that is his, handing me beautiful pieces to look after as he sees fit.

My habit of holding too much has taken its toll, and I am sure that I have some recovering and restoring to do, but I see another way of approaching life. With my feet shod with the readiness of God's peace, I plan to walk in it.

Care to join me?


Carol said...

"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.For you will spread out to the right and to the left: your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities." Isa. 54:2-3
Little did you know, Dear One when you married Andy, what prophecies you would become a part bring about. But I praise God for you every day that you are a part of the fulfillment of promises God gave me so many years ago. I know His work in you is so much bigger than that; but still, I'm warmed to my toes knowing I got to have a small part in it.

Alissa Maxwell said...

The target conundrum was so much easier.

Emily said...

Alissa, I'm laughing so hard right now! You are VERY funny!

strawberiez52 said...

Your post made me think of a verse I'm trying to memorize, one that I think speaks to your experience. "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

Immediately following that in verse 4 is "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the Lord, is the Rock eternal." :) Keep your mind on Him and he'll provide the strength you need in the midst of the work He's called you to do, and there can be peace with it.

Michelle Ferguson said...

Ah, peace in the midst of unchanged circumstances is quite the accomplishment. Praying with you for the grace to let go :)