I must release control.
These four words are some of the most challenging words for me to consider. Control is, after all, what has always kept me sane. I know that if I control my diet and exercise plan, my body feels better, and my mind is clearer. I know that if I control my wake-up time (two hours before my children), I will treat my boys’ morning antics with far more grace. I know that if I can control the steady completion of my weekly checklist, our house is more peaceful overall.
I like…OK…I maybe even love control. It makes me feel like I have a say in what happens in my life.
But what about when, despite my best efforts, I cannot control the outcome after all? What do I hold onto then?
Almost a year ago, I was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, a disease in which my body decided to take control out of my hands and essentially wage war on itself for no reason. I couldn’t have stopped it from happening. No amount of eating better, working out more, waking up earlier, or making better lists could have changed the outcome. I was forced to release control, whether I liked it or not.
This is my story, but I know that many others have similar ones in which “I must release control” became more than just a good mental practice. Perhaps it’s a diagnosis of cancer, a sudden death of a loved one, or unforeseen violence that hits a little too close to home. Whatever it is, each of us has a moment when we can no longer resist the demand of those four words.
We must release control.
Why do we wait until those moments happen to do so? Why are we not willing to release control until it is all but demanded of us? What do we fear? I think I was always afraid of what, if anything, would remain when I did release control.
A few weeks ago, I wrote the following poem as I was wrestling with a random bad day in my Addison’s journey. It’s about not only the demand of those four simple words but the larger demand God has for us: to trust in what remains.
There is a part of me that my body one day just attacked. It was a powerful ally, and then… it wasn’t. There is a part of me that my body one day just rejected. It was intimately connected, and then… it wasn’t. There is a part of me that now wonders constantly about belonging. It was something innate, and then… it wasn’t. So, what do I do, Lord, while my own body plays a game, deciding what belongs in me and what does not? There is a part of me that knows Your answer quite deeply. I must release control of what is temporary in this body and in this life and hold on a bit tighter to what remains. I am Yours and You are mine, and that… always will be.