In 26 days my oldest daughter will be graduating high school.
I am not sure if it is the fact that she could soon be leaving home or other factors influencing our life right now, but my wanting to hold on, wanting to control my life and the life of my family has been at an all time high. Time and time again over the last couple months, these words have been playing in my heart and mind.
It is time to let go.
What is it about letting go, that causes anxiety to rise up inside? Or why is it, when faced with letting go, we hold on even tighter, or try and control other areas in our life?
This tension, this battle of control/letting go isn’t new. It was present from the very beginning, from those first moments in the garden…the need to be god, the desire to know, and the desire to control.
“You will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil…” – Genesis 3:4,5
Our need to know, our need to control was part of our original sin, while God’s heart was for us to trust and depend on Him; to trust in His goodness. Yet we know how the story ended. We know how it played out then and how it plays out today when we try and control situations and others. It gives birth to frustration.
“pain in childbearing…he will rule over you…cursed ground…by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” Genesis 3:16-19
The truth of the matter is, we can control no one. As much as we try, we are not made for control, we are made for freedom.
In Danny Silk’s book, “Loving your kids on purpose” he talks about control. ”The lie that we can control others, is the biggest lie in human relationships. If we can be delivered from this one, deeply rooted lie, then there is hope that we can change the dynamics that cause so much anxiety between people.” (75)
And he goes on to say, “The only person we can control is ourselves.”(80)
No matter how much of a challenge this is, there is a freedom in letting go. When I realize ultimately I cannot control another, I lay that down and look instead to what I can control, such as my reactions, my words, and my feelings. This is never easy, but with God’s Spirit these are the areas I can influence. The added bonus is, when I am focused on these areas there is little time left to control anything else.
So in these 26 days, I want to find joy in what is and what is to come, rather than holding on to things which were never meant to be held.