Give It a Rest

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

A bench to rest on in a gardenLast night, despite the fact that the temperatures were soaring, my daughter was wearing her favorite pair of winter pajamas. “Honey,” I suggested, “why don’t you change into something cooler? You’re going to be so hot tonight.” It was unsolicited advice that I had offered previously.

Instead of changing into more sensible pajamas, as I had advised, Luci simply rolled her eyes and said, “Mom!” drawing out the word as though it had three syllables. I got the message. Luci is a teenager now. I need to back off and let her make more of her own decisions—like what to wear to bed. She doesn’t need me micromanaging her life, treating her like she’s a toddler.

But old habits die hard, and I find myself slipping back into my controlling mother role more than I should. Of course, the odd thing about being controlling is that it never produces what we long for—an end to our anxiety. Instead, our effort to control things and people simply adds more stress to our relationships. Attempts at control set us up for repeated failures, since no one can completely control their own lives, let alone the lives of others.

Think about it like this. Imagine you’ve just stepped onto an Airbus A380. Instead of trying to force your way into the cockpit so you can fly the plane, you merely proceed down the aisle until you find your seat, believing that the pilot will deliver you safely to your destination. After all, he has the necessary skills to fly the world’s largest airliner. Storming the cockpit would be an act of madness—and suicide.

Similarly, navigating life in this world takes the kind of complex skills that only God possesses. Trying to wrest control of our lives from him would be an act of madness—even suicide. Though God doesn’t want us to be passive spectators, neither does he want us to try to control the things that are best left in his care. If you want to reduce your anxiety, resist the temptation to try to control everything. Recognize it for what it is—a crazy attempt to do the impossible. Instead, ask the Lord to show you how to step back and find rest, knowing he is in control.

(Image courtesy of  ColinBroug at freeimages.com)





Originally published May 26, 2015.