Learning to be still.

April 11, 2011

I struggle with wanting to be in control. I have done so my entire life and it is something I strive to let go of daily, but I usually fail.

With the need for control comes fear and anxiety and stress and a pent-up tightness within me that I just can't let go. I need to be in the know. I need to know the plan. I need to be in on the plan. I need to know what's going to happen next.

This can be as innocent as needing to know when my husband will be home from work so I can know when we are leaving the house for dinner. It can be as innocent as needing to know what our schedules are for the week so I can meticulously plan out the dinner menu. It can be as innocent as needing to know what exactly we are planning to do on vacation so I can pack accordingly and efficiently. As much as I love to be spontaneous, I tend to avoid there ever being a big enough gap in the plans to allow for spontaneity.

And I have a very spontaneous, go-with-the-flow, no-plans-needed husband. This has stretched me greatly.

As much as there are times when it's okay to plan, sometimes life just can't be planned. And sometimes I try so ridiculously hard that it physically and mentally wears me down. I start living each day as if it were a schedule to follow as opposed to living each day as if it were a blessing to accept. I treat our nights out as an item on the calendar as opposed to a genuine, uninhibited time to spend together.

So when it comes time to make those big decisions in life, those decisions that alter our course, direct our path and change everything we know, I tend to just make myself sick over it. I worry about the decision and if it's the right one. I worry about the decision and if it's the wrong one. I worry about what people will think. What I will think. If I'll be happy. If I'll have regrets.

I try to map out decisions as if they can be mapped out. I plan it out to the month as in if a certain something happens this month, then this can happen this month which will let this happen this month.

And we all know that that is not how life works. Exhibit A: Meeting Chris. We'd still be engaged if it had gone my way.

I've spent the last several months agonizing over decisions in my head. I've even made some bold steps towards those decisions, but nothing too bold to change the course quite yet. And I've stressed and worried and wondered and questioned and dreaded every step along the way. And I've dragged my husband along for the ride. Thank you, God, for an ever-patient husband.

The other day I was driving down the highway with the Arizona mountains straight ahead. I looked on the mountains, continuously amazed by their beauty and grandeur and continuously taken aback in those moments that remind me where I live. Almost four years later, I am still in awe of the landscape here.

As I was running through the never ending thoughts and plans in my head, thinking out a timeline for how things can all fall into place just right, I heard a voice in my head that said: "Be still, and know that I am God."
The tone was a gentle reprimanding as though He was reminding me, "Hello? You know who I Am right?" While I've heard that verse before, the enunciation on those particular two words made all of the difference.

And I thought, yes, of course I know. But do I really?

He is the Master Planner. He is the One Who Is In Control. He is God.

He stills my thoughts. He stills my irrational fears. He stills my plans and timeline and schedule of events to stop me in my tracks and say, "Quiet down. I've got this under control. You are my interest. I will do nothing outside of what is best for you. So stop. Be still. Let go."

And when my head and heart start to spin out of control, I am stilled by knowing that I am His interest. And He is my God.

Some words to encourage us today, into the week and beyond:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
{Jeremiah 29:11}

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Be still, and know that I am God. {Psalm 46:1-3, 10}

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. {Psalm 37:6-8}
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  1. You and I are kindred spirits. I am a planner. Justin (my husband) is not. I also operate at a higher frequency and feel everything. I'm working on being still. On letting God take control. It is not easy but is so necessary.

    I will be praying for you on this journey!

  2. thanks for commenting on my (in)courage post - i'm loving looking around your blog and reading your story...

    my very adventurous and spontaneous fiance and i were talking about our top ten priorities for our marriage this weekend - and we've decided to 'plan' on being adventurous and spontaneous as part of our marriage priorities - so sometimes the planner (me) and the adventurous can have a meeting of minds!

  3. Right with you, Jordy. I think I wrote a similar post last year. Oh the life of an event coordinator... :)

  4. Thanks for the inspiring words! I'm also type A, control freak (must be Leo's...), thanks for the reminder to just chill =)

  5. Jordan, I am so glad I read this post today. I was actually crying this morning because I was so afraid of what the future holds for my family. After all God has shown us and provided I can not believe my faith was shaken once again. I needed your reminder. God has it all under control so we don't have to.


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