This is a subject that could fill a book – maybe several books. I will try to narrow it down to cover the thoughts I had today. I am a big proponent of controlling what you can and letting go when you know you can’t. I spent some time today with a friend who is going through a rough time in her own family and then on top of that she is surrounded by challenges facing other family members and friends. It is making her a little crazy, understandably. My automatic response was to suggest that she hand over two of the three worries to God and if she must worry, stress over just one thing at a time. She thought that might work.
When things are not going our way there is only so much we can do about it. The rest we can worry about, anguish over, or simply let it go – if you are a believer, then give it over to God. He can take it! He is much better equipped to deal with it than you are.
I appreciate the fact that I have some control over my life. It makes me feel more in charge of my destiny. But sometimes, especially when other people are involved, I have no control and that’s the hard part. When I found out my young son and his wife were moving to Oregon, I was very sad. We had a routine lunch every two weeks where we talked about all things new in our respective worlds. That was about to go away. Their decision came too quickly, also. First it was a “maybe someday” and then it was we move in 30 days! The only way I knew to get rid of the terrible hurt I felt inside was to let it go. It has made all the difference. I am still sad when I think about it, but I am mostly okay.
A completely different type of letting go is traffic. Driving home today should have taken me one hour. Instead it took 2 1/2 hours. I had heard of an accident which was on the freeway directly in my path. I got on the freeway anyway, moving a few feet every couple of minutes. I decided I would be one of those “smart” people who gets off and drives the surface roads until I passed the accident. That was a bad decision. Bumper to bumper there too. I guess there were other “smart” people who had the same idea. Then I made a wrong turn and had to come back the other way. I got on another surface road which told me, by its signage, that I was on the way back to the freeway. Hooray! I didn’t mind creeping slowly, knowing I would eventually get to the onramp I needed. Literally a half hour later I could see the onramp ………. and it was closed!!!
I turned around, got on the freeway in the wrong direction (traffic flowing nicely) and got back on, going the way I wanted to go. Still crawling traffic. I knew I had a few miles to go to get passed where they said the accident had occurred. It was hot in my car, despite the windows being open. I didn’t want to use the air conditioner because I was running low on gas. I was hungry, having missed lunch altogether. I had options here, many. I could get really upset and frustrated. I could lose it, walking away from my reasonable self. Or I could “let it go”, knowing that I would get home eventually. That is what I did. I stayed the course. Soon I was sailing home at a regular speed.
I passed by the accident on my left. It was not a small one. I felt terrible and for a moment I prayed for the passengers. I came home and read that one man died in that crash, not his fault. Perspective, anyone?
Trying to control the uncontrollable is crazy-making. Control what you can (which almost always involves just you) and practice letting go of what you cannot control. It will make your life a whole lot easier. I promise. (Insert Serenity Prayer here.)