This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Palms Up....

"Put the ipod down."

Familiar refrain between my 9 year old and myself lately.

"Time's up.  Give me the gadget."

And he does.
Ever so slowly.
Making sure to move in sloooooow moooootion.

He hands it toward me....
And pulls it back.

"I just want to log-out."

He moves it in my direction again....
And pulls it back.

"I just need to make sure I set my alarm."

The ipod comes toward me....
And he pulls it back.

"What time did it say again?"

And again.
And again.
And again.
Until I grab the bloody thing and wrest it away from his sweaty over tech-ized hands gently remove it from his grip myself.

Kid likes his gadget.
Kid likes to be in charge of how much time he gets with said gadget.
Kid likes to retain control of things.

I get it.

Do I get it.

There might possibly maybe potentially be a bit of a familial control issue here.

When I was struggling to regain a semblance of footing in my life following the tornado,
I realized that a huge part of my problem was
(as sad as this sounds and all kidding aside)
that my calendar had been blown to a neighboring town.

(Actually....I found a few pages of it.  May and August, I think)

I was sure that once I had all of my "life" written down on a new calendar then
my memory would return and
my orderliness would return and
my organization would return and
some normalcy would return.

My mom found me some random calendar she'd received from some random real estate company and I
flat went to it.

I called people to find out birthdays and anniversaries...
I recorded kid activities....
I penciled and penned in appointments....
I filled as many of those little squares as I could.

It helped.

For a few days.

Then I accidentally buried it under mounds of insurance papers and couldn't find it for a week and realized that chaos was apparently going to reign for a while yet.

Point being....
I wanted to be back in control.

I wanted to be in charge.

I LIKE that.

Now I don't necessarily want to RUN every event my family is a part of....
But I DO prefer knowing the details of the event and
where we are supposed to be
at what time
and what our responsibilities entail
and who is riding with who to get there.

I like order.

I like definite.

It's true.

In this season of my life,
I try to make some sort of plan in my head for how things are going to go.

It usually not how I want them to go for my personal pleasure...
It's more like: how-they-should-go-so-that-the-other-4-people-in-my-life-can-all-do-what-they-want-and-get-where-they-need-to-be-to-keep-everyone-happy-and-punctual-and-fulfilled.

I'm a logistical orderly people pleasing planning psycho.
(Put that on a resume´!)

When situations arise that thwart my plans....
I stress.
I stew.
I get irritated.
I snap.

And that snapping thing?
It never really helps.

My 13 year old has started making his own plans on his own phone.
That's how it should be.
(Granted....since I'm the driver and custodian...I should probably be made aware of these plans before they're confirmed....but it's good he's taking initiative like that.)

I've found myself gritting my teeth today when he told me he made plans with his grandfather.

I love him spending time with his grandfather....don't get me wrong.

It's just that....
I had already made a plan for the day.

And it included my eldest.
And now he's not going.
And he's doing something he likes better.
And it's an awesome opportunity for him.
And it won't really affect the other two if he's not there....
But it wasn't how I pictured it.

And I don't know when they are going and when they'll return and where I should be and how I will meet up with them...and I don't like not having knowledge of the details.

My control....slipped down a cell phone shaped drain.

This control-desire is in other areas of my life, too.

I have people in my life whom I love very very much.

They don't have much of a relationship with God.
They certainly don't believe that Jesus loves them.
They don't really even believe that Jesus is God's son.

This eats eats eats at me.
Not so much because I can't convince them....
But because I see so many of them struggling with the idea.

And they are good people.
Really good.
And they do so so so much for others.
They sacrificially love people.

And I know that God said good works is nothing without faith....
And I know that He loves them even more than me...
And I know He's given each person free will to make choices...
And I want God to crack open their hardened hearts with a big giant sledge hammer and rip the blinders from their eyes and let them see the truth.

I am apparently not in charge of those situations either.

Sometimes I find myself irritated.

It's hard for me to pray sometimes.
Or read my Bible more deeply than looking at the ink.

I feel distanced from God....
and it's hard to find my way closer.

And I have begun to realize that my desire.....
my need...
for control is a big part of the problem.

When "life" changes my carefully laid plans....
 I don't look at the interruptions as "blessings"...but as hurdles.

Because I didn't plan them?

When I think about "my people" who don't know God and won't experience life forever with Him...
I accept, but I don't really comprehend.
Or maybe I am just too sad.
And because it's so hard to understand....I push away.

And while I know that these two situations are WAY different in many ways....
I have also realized that they have similar roots.

I can't understand.
I can't control.
I can't.

These are the facts.
I simply simply can't.

And sometimes, when I honestly realize that truth...
I mean TRULY accept it....
There's some peace.

Sound contradictory?
A little weird?
Yeah.  I know.

Here's the deal.
I know that God is big.
Really big.
And He knows everything.
Every. Thing.
He knows the big picture.
If I knew what He knows....then I would understand and agree that all the things that happen are really ok.
That, in the end, all these things will bring glory to Him.

I certainly do NOT understand how.
I confess...I have moments I doubt how it can happen.

But....I believe it will.

1 Corinthians 2:16 says:
For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?

If I could understand everything about God....then would He really be big and amazing and wonderful enough for me to worship?

Isaiah 55:8-9 reads:
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways...For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

If I always knew what was best for myself (and all the people in my life)....and I knew the perfect paths for all people to follow, then what would I need God for anyway?

So....I give Him control.

And there is peace in that.

But....I tend to snatch that pretty parcel of control back up.

Then I give it back.

Then I grab it again.

And again.
And again.
And even again.

I simply have to open my hands,
Hold them out with my palms up,
And ask Him to take away my control.

Take this day, God.
Use it for Your own.
Let me embrace and be thankful for opportunities that arise.
Help me find the appointments You have made for me.
Remind me again and again that Your ways are not always the ones I would choose.
Thank you for saving me from my wrong choices.
Thank you for being so much bigger and wiser and kinder than I can imagine.
Let me remember that You are directing my paths....
And help me not fight against that direction.
Remind me that the details are not usually salvational.
Show me Your way...
And help me keep my hands wide open,
Palms upward,
Letting go of my attempts at control
And giving them to You.
Let my open hands receive the gift of peace You have for me....
And hold on to that tightly.


Anonymous said...

Great post Shannon.
I can totally relate to that Mum-needs-to-be-in-control scenario!
Sounds like this study and this surrendering to God with our palms up is going to perfect for both of us.
God bless you

Janet said...

What a wonderful post - and oh, so encouraging! I can totally identify since I want to be in control too...but how much MORE God has for us when we lay it all at his feet. May we both be #Palmsup today!! Thanks for sharing!

christine said...

Your post resonated with me a little too well, if ya know what I mean :) Letting go of that control is so hard,but God IS and we CAN put our palmsup and give it to Him and let him KEEP it!

Jane Lysell said...

Truly enjoyed this stop on the hop! I am a planner maniac and mother of teenagers that fly by the seat of their pants :). Very encouraging words about control and giving it up! Thanks so much!

Shila Anderson said...

Wow, I too love to control and can identify with your struggle. Thanks for the encouragement and some great scriptures that I will write in my journal and turn to when I get "Momma Snappy". Blessings to you!

Christina Sujure said...

Haha... I so loved this. I believe anyone can truly relate and I'm on in my early twenties and trust me, "I'm a logistical orderly people pleasing planning psycho." too...well maybe not logostical, I'm kind of all over the place but it's still order to me. Anyway, I totally get it about wanting to convert those people in your life...I get soooo frustrated too. Everything you've said, I've been there minus the kids and all, and I have had to learn the same thing. Kind of still learning it actually :-) Thank you for sharing. This was enjoyable and very encouraging. If you don't, Can I share this on my FB page?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. This is exactly what I struggle with to say yes and your analogy of your son with his iPod is perfect....I have a 15 year old son, so that really spoke to me. I, too, give God control and then take it back over and over. So, I too, hope to be able to live palms up more and really relinquish my control freak self over to God. <3

Melanie Shannon said...

This is awesome. I love your writing style but even more what it said because I so can relate. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and offering these words of encouragement. Praying for you and may all be #Palmsup today! Melanie, OBS Group Leader

Vivian said...

I relate! I also saw something else too. Just as the kiddos are reluctant to let go of iPods and such, we are just as reluctant to let go of things and say "yes" to God! Great parallel! Enjoyed your post!

MBD said...

I have met my soul mate!! What a great post to read this morning. I, too, am a logistical, orderly, people pleasing psycho! I had to write that phrase in my journal for future use. I have raised two teenagers (now 25 and 21). I decided a long time ago that trying to "control" the lives of your older children is like trying to nail jello to a tree (I stole that quote too!) It is still a daily trial to fully hand over my trust to God when it comes to my life and the lives of my family. I guess that I feel that I have it all figured out and He needs to just go with my way, right?? Sending my children off to college really taught me how little control I have or ever had. The praying just really goes up to a different level when they are four hours away. Funny, I do believe God knew this all along. How about that!

Thank you for sharing your post. I look forward to coming back and spending more time with you.


Becky said...

Love this!! There are lessons we can all take from your thoughts and I can for sure relate to the fight for control with either my children or God Himself! Thanks for sharing! :)

debbi said...

I am also a "logistical orderly people pleasing planning psycho". Thank you so much for your transparency and your words. Hopefully shinning the light on my weakness will help me let Our Heavenly Father mover me from it! Thank you! Palms Up!

Stella said...

I can really relate to your desire to have control. I, too, suffer from this affliction. (That doesn't make for a great atmosphere sometimes in my middle school classroom, believe me.)

I have realized that I step in and make decisions without always stopping to consult anyone, including God. I AM trying to change this. I have been making a purposeful effort to stop and pray about things when I know I am going to have to choose a path in life, especially with the big things. I improved with the Stressed Less Living study that I just completed and I am hoping that this one will help continue to loosen my own tight grip on things and allow God to step in and help me make decisions more.

Robin said...

Shannon, love your post! It had soooooo much of me in it. I have always thought that fear of failure was my big hold up to saying yes to God and part of it is but after reading your blog part of my fear is giving up control of my life! I too like to plan things out and when life interrupts those plans I too get upset rather than think God has His hand in it all! Thank you for your encouragement and openness!

Beckey said...

(checking post over and over - just to be sure I didn't somehow write it and forgot. LOL)

Relating oh so much. Just... so... much! I know I'll be thinking of this posting the next time I am telling my son it's time to turn off the Xbox for the night - and he is stalling and holding onto that controller for every last second he can squeeze out.

Mel F. said...

Love this post!! Keep up the great work!!

Karen said...

I love this! Control!!! I will be praying that we can all give it up to God even for a few minutes at a time!!

brenda johns said...

You, my dear, are a very good writer!