I really like to be in control. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child and I always got to do everything first, I set the rules, I was the boss to my siblings, but I think all of us like to be in at least a little control. I am also a planner. I really like to know what I’m doing in advance and get places on time, maybe even a little early. At different points of my life I’ve been more or less in control of my life, in the direction I was headed or not headed.
When I started discerning, seriously discerning religious life, there was a sacrifice of control. To discern means to enter into a discussion with God and to be open to what He desires and sometimes it’s not what we desire. In the beginning of my journey that was really difficult for me. I had to learn how to let go of my own desires. And that has continued throughout this entire process. When I started the application process, I was showing interest in the community, but I had to let go of control because I had no say in the outcome. All I could do was be myself, pray, and hope that things would work out. When I was asked to wait a year, I really had to let go of control. I had to allow for my plans to be changed and I had no way to make things go the way I wanted them to.
In the last couple of days, I’ve been reminded of my desire to be in control and how it’s been taking over my life as of late. A lot of intense things have happened to me in the last year. I think part of my reaction to that and processing of everything that has gone on is that I’ve been trying to take control of everyone and everything. It also helps that I know where I’ll be living next year instead of still not being sure.
I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to fix situations that are out of my control. I’ve been worrying about my friends and family and how they will feel when I leave in May. I’ve been letting myself be consumed by every little bad thing that happens and trying to find a way to fix it myself.
It got to the point that last week while I was on vacation with my sister, driving in an unknown area, I was so tense and stressed that my sister had to give me a pep talk to talk me down from panicking (she may not have know that’s what she was doing, but it was). I wanted so badly to be in control of the situation, to know exactly where I was going, but I couldn’t, in that instance I had to trust that my GPS would get me to the right place and that if it didn’t we would be able to figure our way around.
The day after we got back from our trip, I went to Stations of the Cross. At my parish they offer Adoration and benediction following the stations. It’s usually just five minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament but it’s a great way to end Stations. Anyway, during those five minutes I was overwhelmed by all of my worries and concerns, everything that was crashing back into my mind now that I was back from vacation. In that moment of chaos, the Lord spoke to me using a very well known story. One verse came to my mind, “you are worried about many things, you have need of only one thing.” It’s from the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). It was just the smack in the face that I needed. Jesus was telling me to stop worrying and to focus on Him. It was very similar to my sister telling me to stop freaking out and reminding me to trust the GPS.
I met with my spiritual director this week and he helped me to see how my desire to be in control has been affecting my relationship with Christ. By trying to be in control, I’ve been closing myself off to the Lord. I’ve been saying: I can do this on my own. I don’t need Your help. I can save myself. But that’s just not true, that is why the worries never go away. I can’t save myself. Jesus is the only one who can save me, and He already did by dying on the cross. So today I took some time to surrender my worries and concerns over to the Lord as I have so many times before. It’s a continuous process, but I’m committed to letting the Lord take control. He wants what is best for me, even when I can’t see it. He uses every little good or bad thing that happens to me for my good. So there is no reason to worry. That doesn’t mean I won’t, but it does mean I’m going to practice every day surrendering to the Lord and I hope you will too because life with Christ is a beautiful adventure.