Thursday, February 24, 2011


The other night, I was reading bedtime stories to Brady. He wanted to read a book where a bunch of animals just say "shhhhh," which I thought was too boring, so I changed it. 

"Meeeooowww" says the cat and "Ruffff" says the dog. I changed everything from "shhhh" to the noise that particular animal makes. Then, we came to the turtle page.

Now, I can bluff my way through most animals, doing a blubbery noise for fish, a nibbling noise for bunnies, etc. But that turtle completely stumped me. After a few seconds, I just said, "I don't know what turtles say; turtles don't say anything!"

Brady waited a second, looked at me, and told me, "No, nemo turtle say DUUUUUUDDDDEEE!"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Losing Control

I am a control freak. FREAK. 

I distinctly remember a project in sixth grade where I had to write a screenplay based on the Underground Railroad. We were assigned groups of maybe four or five students, and away we went with this major project. The problem was, I didn’t like my group; they were not hard-working or capable enough in my mind. Before long, I was taking on the entire project myself. They gave their input and I typed up the entire thing alone, adding and editing the script as I saw fit. It was a ton of work, my mom had to help me because I couldn’t type fast enough (this was before emails/texting/online chatting was around), and the rest of the group got to slack off.

When I was younger, this need to be in control was thought to be a good thing: I was a leader, I was strong, I was smart, I was capable of handling things on my own. As I’ve gotten older, my need to do things “my way” has become a stumbling block in my relationship with others, in my ability to manage my time, and in my relationship with God.

Control freaks detest the unknown, and the unknown is squandered when we have our way. When we are in control, we feel powerful. We are convinced we know best and are the only ones capable of doing something “right”. Or at the very least, the way that will be least hurtful and surprising.

This seems like a simple, no-brainer statement, but I am really learning you cannot control life. As will happen so often, when something slips out of my control, the anxiety kicks in. The very thing we think we have complete control over is turned upside-down. The proverbial rug is pulled out from under us, and all that is left is a pit. That feeling of spinning out of control gets unbearable. 

For me, that pit is like being in quicksand (or at least what I think it feels like to be in quicksand!). I struggle, I writhe, I worry, my heart beats faster as I sink, I think I’m making progress only to be knee deep the very next moment. The harder I grab for something, anything that I think might pull me out of the sand and back into some semblance of control, the worse it gets and the more I sink.

All the while during my flailing and suffering, God is standing patiently by, I think not so much shaking his head in shame or disappointment, but in the way a parent shakes their head at a young child, intent on conquering a difficult task himself that you know he needs help with. I think God looks at us in our sandy mess and just gently says over and over, “I am here. Stop grasping at the things of this world that you think will pull you out of this mess, and just be still. Be STILL, and know that I am God.” And the moment we decide we’ve had enough pain, we are too tired to continue on (which can take a VERY long time for a control freak), the moment we are finally still, God lifts us out of that gunk, cleans us off, takes our hand, and leads us to solid ground.

I don’t remember what grade I got on that project. It was probably an A. But what I do remember is my inability to let others take the reins and help me, even if they didn’t necessarily do it “my way”. And I see now how this need to be in control has dictated much of my life. 

I’m trying to let go and be still. I’m trying to let go, lose control, and let God. It’s not easy for this control freak, but I’m trying.