Monday, February 16, 2015

The Struggle to Reliquish Control

I'm a planner. I like a schedule. I'm what you might call a Type A personality.

You could also call me a control freak.

This is both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.

Being in control means being organized and being on time. It means planning ahead, having a schedule, and almost always having a diaper bag with every single thing we could possibly need on any given outing. I can anticipate needs and plan for them. It means I know where everything in my house is. I know what bills have been paid and which ones still need to be paid.

It also means I do well at my job. I can prioritize effectively, and I can divide my time in a way that is beneficial to getting the job done and doing it well. I can organize and divide tasks that need to be done, and delegate.

You know what is also means?

My need for being in control means lack of flexibility. (Spontaneous? What's that?)  It means stress. Stress when things don't go my way. It also means that my brain is so full of the To-Do list, that I get overwhelmed with daily tasks. It means anger when my spouse or my kids don't plan ahead like I would, and they inevitably forget something really important. It means stress when things are not in their place in my house. It means stress when my little kids don't put things back where they belong. It means losing my temper and raising my voice.

It means I have a really hard time just relaxing, because I am always stressing about what needs to be done.

I have recently given myself a heart challenge. I am challenging myself to not stress so much, to let go of my constant need to be in control. 

I am challenging myself to stop defining myself by my ability to get things done, check things off my to-do list, or the state of my house. 

We just came back from a wonderful marriage conference. When discussing marriage, of course, parenting comes up. One of the speakers said something that deeply impacted my heart. He was telling a story about how when his boys were younger, he got annoyed at all the kids playing in his yard and eventually killing his grass. (This is, by the way, something I would get irritated at. In fact, I may have caught myself a time or two mumbling under my breath about the neighborhood kids who were riding their bikes through our yard for this very reason.) But his wife said something to him that put things into perspective.

"Let's raise grass later. Let's raise little boys now."

Wow. 

For those of you who don't struggle with control, you may be confused as to why this is so impactful. But for those of you who are in this boat with me, you may understand how that just ripped at my heart.

What am I doing? Why do I stress about the toys being picked up all the time? Why do I yell at the kids for being kids

This is not how God has called me to live. This is NOT God's design for my marriage and my parenting.

What good is a clean house if no one can feel at home here?

It's a balance. And it will be a struggle for me to apply this challenge to my daily life. After all, we still do need some amount of structure and routine. I do think kids thrive on such things. But as with everything in life, it's a balance. And I have been way out of balance. 

"So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."
Matthew 6:34

Here's to growth and challenging ourselves to become better. 


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Do you struggle with the need for control? How do you deal with it?

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Thanks for visiting Mama Days! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Five Things I Am Glad My Father Told Me

1. "Your mother is my best friend." I think this may have been preceded by my parents bickering and driving each other crazy. It may have even been preceded by the statement, "Your mother drives me crazy sometimes, but..." He reminds me that even when life gets messy and we get cranky, it's important for you to maintain that deep friendship with your spouse. I am grateful that I have these two as role models for marriage.

2. "You're beautiful." I know this may seem basic and maybe even cliche, but my father made it a point to tell me that I am beautiful. Out of all the voices I heard as a child and a teenager telling me (and all young girls and women) that I was not good enough, I was not thin enough, I was not tall enough, I was not smart enough, I was not talented enough, I was not athletic enough, I was not _______ enough, each time my father told me that I was beautiful, it was like he was swinging a hammer at all those negative voices, one by one, knocking them down. A father's affirmation that his daughter is beautiful... what's a precious gift.

3. "I hope you move away from us." This one was a little tough to swallow. I was a young engaged woman in college. I thought, "why on earth would you want me to move away from you after college?" Well, he wanted me to move away so that my new husband and I would establish our own family, apart from them. And we did! Don't get me wrong, it was hard. I hated (and still, at times, absolutely hate) being away from my family. And my parents have always made themselves available to us. They have shown us support from afar. But my husband and I have learned to rely on God and each other. We have created a family unit. Because after all, isn't that the goal of parenthood? To raise up children that will fly out of the nest when it's time? Fly, and soar onto our own adventures. I am so grateful my parents allowed me to soar.

4. "Nothing you could ever do would make me stop loving you." Both my mother and father have said this to me. Unconditional love. Although this is hard for us humans to master, unconditional love is what our Father calls us to, as He has loved us. My parents made it clear that even if I messed up, made poor choices, fell off the right path, they would be there, loving me through it. I cannot tell you how priceless this is.

5. "I love your family." He says this often when we visit. Why is this important for me to hear? It tells me that he is proud of me and how I am raising my boys. I am grateful for his kind reassurance, that even though I am imperfect, I am doing some things right as a mama. Sometimes, especially after a long week of being an imperfect parent, it's all I need to hear to get my heart back on the right track.

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Our parents have a strong influence on our hearts. 

I am thankful that I have loving parents who have taught me how to love my own children. I will cherish the heart that my parents have shown me. 

I can only hope to encourage my children in the same way.

What words of encouragement have your parents shared with you over the years?