I am a control freak. I freely admit it. I like to be the one driving the car. I like to be the one who has all the answers. I like to be able to fix things, people and situations.
Well, it is something I am keenly aware of in my life, and, let’s just say, I am working on it.
My control freakishness rears its ugly head sometimes when I least expect it. Just when I think I’ve got my control issues “under control”, I realize I don’t. Most recently and most frequently, my need to control is related to my children. My two beautiful gifts. They are my whole world. They are the two most amazing people on the planet, in my opinion. Like any other mom, I want the best for them. I want them to be fulfilled and happy.
They are growing up so fast; it is scary to me. Their childhood is slipping away before my very eyes. The control freak in me has a very difficult time with this, as you can imagine. I want them to make good choices and blossom into the people God has planned for them to become. I want them to grow up, but I don’t want them to grow up. It is a constant tug-of-war. Makes me feel kinda schizo sometimes.
I often cling to the words of Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I hold fast to these words for my children. I trust that God has a plan for them. So often, I say to God, I know You are in control. I know You’ve got this…But let me just help You along a bit, okay? I often pray and say, I’m giving this to You, Lord—only to take it back from Him five minutes later. Surely we can all identify with that struggle.
Jacob, my son and firstborn, is 16 years old now. He is a high school junior. When he was 5 years old and diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, I could not see this far down the road—I could not see past the next five minutes. I had no idea what his future would look like. And yet, here we are. Now is the future I couldn’t imagine back in 2000. He has made huge strides since then and we are so proud of him. He still has hurdles; he always will. And I still don’t know what the future will look like for him as a man.
I realize that I won’t always be right there to hold his hand and say, now remember your homework assignment or did you put on your deodorant or change your clothes or say hello to the man or, well, you get the picture. I desperately want to make sure he is okay and it is so hard to let go and allow him to go it alone and endure those situations that can be challenging for him. I want to do things for him. To control the environment so he doesn’t get upset when there is a loud laugh-y lady in the restaurant who, I know, is making his skin crawl. To remind him to use the tools his doctor has taught him to help manage his anxiety. And don’t even talk to me about him driving a car! OY!
He is not like other boys his age who are out playing their soccer games and driving their cars and going out with their friends and girlfriends. He is a loner. He is happy to hang out by himself or with his family. He is not really interested in connecting with people. Going to parties or crowded places is not high on his list of things to do. He is not super motivated when it comes to his school work and does not really seem to have an idea of what he wants to do with his life. Naturally, I worry. He does not fit in the traditional mold of the typical kid…and that is okay. He is truly fantastic and I think he is awesome. But I have to be realistic and know that the world likes “typical”. Unfortunately, a world that likes “typical” is not always accepting of “atypical”.
It is that constant struggle of helping him become independent and doing too much for him. Helping him find his way, without telling him what that is. That whole “give them roots, but give them wings” thing. Finding the balance is a very difficult thing. Should he take the SAT or the ACT? Will he go to college? Will he be able to support himself? Will he find someone who will love him for who he is and who will want to share her life with him? Are we doing the right things to help him? Who will make sure he is okay when his dad and I are gone?
These are the things I lose sleep over.
And then, I am quietly reassured—Fear not. I am reminded, God loves him more that I ever could. God knows the answers to all those questions that constantly swirl around in my worried brain. He truly is in control—whether we give Him that control or not.
I see, in my mind’s eye, me carrying my two children in my arms. Just wandering around carrying them. Then, I see myself carrying them, one by one, and laying them at the feet of Jesus. Then, Jesus bends down and picks all three of us up in His arms, like we are light as a feather, and, walking away, carries us all.
It is remarkable the peace I feel when I let Him carry it all.
When He is carrying everything, He carries my worry. I don’t have to worry about the future, because He is carrying that too. And He is carrying us there to that future—wherever “there” is. And I don’t have to worry about that either.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will hold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
So, today, I ball my worries up and throw them as far away as I can. Far up into the heavens so that I can no longer see them. Some days, that ball is more like a boomerang, coming back to me and smacking me in the head once I’ve turned to walk away. But, today, it is okay. Today, I refuse to pick the worries back up. I’m going to let Jesus carry them all day. He does a way better job than I do.