God has recently taught me an important lesson that is changing my life. I’ve lived a large part of my life tiptoeing around various fears and expecting the worst. I’ve been a lifelong pessimist, always afraid to really want something lest it be snatched away. The future has always seemed threatening to me, because I don’t know what might happen or how I’ll be able to cope.
God has shown me that my fear builds when I try to control people and situations. He’s told me plainly that when I try to control something or someone, I am accepting responsibility for how it turns out. And I will admit that there are a fair amount of things I worry about that I have no control over. I try to control them by anticipating them and preparing to be disappointed (or devastated). Mainly I don’t want to be caught off guard, so I have to be on guard, which leaves little room for calm.
When God gives you His wisdom, you know it’s right. It’s so obviously true, there’s no doubting it. And what God was saying to me was that I would have to stop trying to control everything if I wanted peace. I release anxiety when I accept that some situations/people/circumstances can’t be foreseen, changed or controlled. I am not personally responsible for making sure that people won’t hurt or disappoint me, because they are making their own decisions, and I can’t control what they do or don’t do. I can’t predict the future, so I don’t know what lies ahead, and I can’t condemn myself for that!
This revelation has helped me in two ways–I’m starting to see the harm I bring on myself by trying to control things that are outside of my control, and I can let myself off the hook for not anticipating every scenario that could cause trouble. Letting go of my rigid hypervigilance is giving me much-needed relief from the feeling that I’ve got to make sure everything turns out okay. God is truly blessing me with these truths He has given me, because they have made an immediate difference. And each time I resist the desire to dictate and control, I get a little more peace as a reward. 🙂