I would guess your instinct would be as normal as mine: something is wrong so I’m going to fix it. However (as easy as that seemed as a kid) it turns out the complications and intricacies of the “fix it” mentality can only reach so far.
The majority of my fear and anxiety stem from things being outside of my control. I can’t control someone, something, some situation, or some action. I’ve taught in many different environments how the only thing you can truly control is yourself.
But what does that even mean?
When life throws storm after storm after storm at you, you discover that your control can only work in regards to YOU. In other words:
I can’t control what someone says, but I can control what I say.
I can’t control the actions of others, but I can control my actions.
I can’t control this negative situation, but I can control how I react to this negative situation.
I can’t fix this, but I can clean my kitchen.
(I threw that last one in there as a joke. Am I the only one who cleans everything when they’re upset? I blame the German in me…)
Learning this is tough. Learning this means letting go and that, my friends, is one of the most painful things to take from head knowledge to heart knowledge to output. Why? Because it means I’m going against the societal and cultural norms that scream at me to do something, confront, tell them off, speak your mind, write that social media status, complain, etc. From movies and television to news articles and everyday headlines, we’re told that we have to act otherwise we’re doing this wrong.
And I’m here to say that’s a bunch of crap.
I know. Super elegant.
What I see is that we’re so concerned with others that we forget what we’re truly in charge of: ourselves and our actions. You want to control something? Control yourself. Make yourself better. Increase your education, work on your anger, set goals to overcome insecurity, push through doubt and reach for faith.
This is for me as much as it is for you. I so often find myself passionate about the action part on behalf of others (or even to others, let’s be real) that I forget my own action as an individual. What does my action communicate?
I even know in frustratingly long seasons it can seem like you need to try and DO SOMETHING to fix what’s happening, but that’s not necessarily where your focus has to be.
Take a step back, breathe, and look at yourself. What is this stormy season doing to me? How is it impacting my thoughts and words? Am I the person that I think I am?Am I changing for the better or worse because of this?
Of course all of this comes back to two cliche words we hate oh so much: letting go.
I’m currently trying to locate my “letting go muscle” and when I find it I’m going to exercise the crap out of it because although God is passionate about justice and righting the wrongs, He makes it super clear over and over again that that’s His job. Not mine.
So where does that leave me?
Resting. Trusting Him. Being still. Taking a hard look at myself before looking at others. It can feel like doing nothing, but maybe that’s ok. I don’t have to do everything. I’m not God. I have to learn to let God be God and let me be me. So…
Take a step back.
Remember you’re really only in control of yourself.
And let go.
You’re only truly in control of your own self control. If you need to take control of anything, take control of that.