Letting go of things is something I used to be really good at. I’m not sure at what point I surrendered that ability but I’d like to get it back. My favorite saying is, “let go and let God”. I like the simplicity of it how it sounds, yet the complexity of what it truly means excites me. Letting go of control of our lives is foreign, no matter how long you’ve had a relationship with God. Our human nature causes us to want to control things, some of us more than others. And if we really get to the heart of why we desire control, it can stem from a number of things, but for me, it’s fear. My last post was all about fear and how it controls us, but I realized that the need to control things is engrained in almost every single one of us to some extent.
There are countless scriptures that show us the importance of trusting in God and not trying to do things on our own, but somehow we still cling to the lust of wanting to do things our own way. The balance of letting Him lead me and me getting ahead of Him eludes me. I want to trust Him to lead me the way He wants me to go, and at times, I succeed. But there’s always this fear in my mind that I’m either not hearing Him correctly or I’m not actually going to receive such a blessing from Him. I had three visions last year and prayed relentlessly about them (so as not to misconstrue what I felt He was showing me), and not one of them came to fruition. I know visions can be subjective and not necessarily reference a specific time frame, but these all felt imminent. When the last one didn’t happen despite my best efforts to believe I was hearing from God, I felt like I’d failed Him somehow. Everyone told me not to worry, that these things may be true, just not in the time frame I felt I saw. And that’s been the hardest thing for me to grasp, that God is showing me things, I just have to have more faith.
One of my biggest struggles throughout my life is feeling good enough. I know I don’t stand alone in that fear, but it’s hindered my spiritual growth because it’s caused me to feel that God is using the same measuring scale as the world. It’s hard for me, a doer, to sit back and not feel that there’s something I could or should be doing. I know I’ve felt the tugging in my heart to stop trying so hard, I just don’t really know how. I feel if I could just do this “one thing” for God, He’d be pleased with me. And when I fail my world falls apart. It takes a while for me to get my bearings back and test the waters again, but I do every time because that’s the fighter in me. It’s just a constant struggle inside to know whether I need to sit back and do nothing or get up and get into the action.
At the beginning of the year I decided to make a few tangible resolutions. It goes against my nature, but I decided on things that seemed like more of an attempt to change who I was as opposed to a resolution that no one ever sticks to, like losing weight-even though I threw that on there as well as my, “why not, everyone else does it”. Well, unbeknownst to me, I would be diagnosed with my third autoimmune disease, and that it would be the one that really prohibited me from actually losing any weight. Nonetheless, I do see how God has changed me in ways I didn’t even ask for. There have been some huge changes within myself and family dynamic that I am really excited about. I still can’t help but feel like I could have done something else to enhance all that’s happened, or feel like maybe I just didn’t try hard enough to lose weight. My type A personality really gets in the way sometimes.
A few months ago I blogged about a friend’s daughter who lost her battle to DIPG, and how much of a fighter she was. Her favorite movie was Frozen because, as her mom said, she admired and was drawn to strong people. She took Elsa’s character very seriously for obvious reasons, and every time I watch the movie with my kids, Let It Go makes me emotional. I’ve concluded the obvious reason is because it reminds me of little Isabel, but it also resonates deep inside because I know that’s what God wants me to do, just let it go. I have a tendency to over complicate things, I think we all do, because I just think it shouldn’t be that easy. It’s perhaps a product of a chaotic life that, internally, I always feel like if things are going smoothly or seem to be too easy, something is bound to be lurking around the corner and will cause me to control the situation.
I think there’s a lot to be learned from that song. When she says, “don’t let them in don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be”, it reminds me that I’ve always felt the need to be who I thought others would like or approve of. That being good or perfect was the only way to be, showing my flaws was a sign of weakness to me. As an adult and mother, and someone whom my kids look up to, I feel that pressure more now than I ever did as a child. Somehow becoming a mother cast this huge magnifying glass over my imperfections and I feel like I’m letting them down. My desire is to be someone they can look up to and see that I try my hardest to give them what they need to succeed in life. And, sadly, my desire to control all these things has caused so much pressure and unrealistic expectations of myself, and certainly doesn’t produce the desired results. But maybe that’s the point, that I can’t control everything, especially what they choose to see and learn from. I suppose that when I feel the overwhelming sense to worry or wonder what’s going to happen next, if I can remind myself that there are just some things I can’t control, it’ll help me focus on what’s important. And at this point it’s showing my imperfections so people can relate and see that I am genuine, not perfect.
I wish letting go were a little easier, especially when my desire to do so outweighs my desire to control things that I know are better dealt with in God’s hands. Fighting yourself internally is probably the hardest battle because it involves retraining your brain and automatic responses. Trying to reprogram a mind that is so used to busyness and control is like trying to take candy from a child-it can be done, but not without a fight. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between learning the difference between actually controlling a situation and acting on what you know is what you should be doing. My hope is that by the end of the year I’ll be able to feel like I’ve made progress in finding that delicate balance.
Letting go is such a relief, I have felt it at different points in my life. I just wish it were simpler to realize when I’m beginning to control something so I could tell myself to stop. Maybe if I just listen to Elsa sing the song a few more times it’ll sink in.