Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Not In Control

All around me people are talking about the structure and stress of returning to their school routines. In the beginning of the summer I saw multiple references to the "lazy days of summer" and now families are moving back into the busyness of fall. I have to laugh about it because it's so different from what I experience. Summer is the busiest season for me, September gives me glimpses of a return to ordinariness and October is when life really starts to settle down again. This all has to do with the choices my husband and I have made for our life. We want to share life with others so when others propose outings during the summer we tend to jump at the opportunity. That's when they are free: so that's when we book every weekend, whether it's a whole weekend camping or separate activities each day. Then as their lives become occupied with school and they choose to stay home, our weekends become more relaxed again also. Not that they're activity-free; just that those we interact with tend to live closer to home and the activities themselves become shorter (2 hours instead of 5). Plus our prayer group moves meetings back from Thurs evenings to Sunday afternoons. That may not seem like a significant gain (they're actually longer now than during the summer) but it makes such a difference when it pushes other potential activities off the schedule altogether and the timing of it enables everyone to sleep a little more (grumpy kids=a LOT less time available to complete household chores).
I find it so incredibly helpful to remember how my choices affect my life. It is when I feel like I've run out of options that I fall into discouragement. When I not only don't like my life circumstances but also feel helpless to change them I get very frustrated--and then no one in my family is happy. (I'm the mama and if mama ain't happy...) Maybe this desire to have control over my life is especially strong in me because I am a first-born and a perfectionist, though I've met many who are "middles" and "babies" who desire that same control. Regardless of why I want to control my life's destination, what is far more important is how I handle myself when I can't. Unfortunately, that's one of my weaknesses, and while I can gracefully adapt to a couple of curveballs, I really don't react well when faced with more than a teeny portion at a time.
I need to hold onto what is important, recognize how the decisions we've (I've) made caused whatever stress I'm experiencing, and trust God to work out the consequences that are beyond my control. If my summers are busy, it's because I've chosen to prioritize activities that make them busy. If my fall is filled with transitions, it's because I've chosen to prioritize my life in such a way that makes it a transition season for me. Granted, sometimes the results are not what I anticipated when I made a particular decision. (That's when I feel frantic over my lack of ability to control my life.) Yet since I am deciding each day to prioritize my relationship with God, I can also choose to trust Him for the consequences of the various other decisions I've made in my attempts to follow His leadership. I may not have foreseen the particular consequences I am dealing with, but He certainly did. So if I made my decision to follow Him, then made my decision to prioritize certain activities that I felt He was calling me to, then everything resulting from those activities are also in His control even when they're not in mine.

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