Saturday, January 2, 2010

Control Freak

It' has been a crazy, emotional week. Feelings of doubt, anxiety and fear had come near to overwhelming me throughout the last year and I was desperate for the new year to come as if just the symbolism of throwing one calender out and hanging up a new one would erase the drama of the previous year. Family and friends close enough to recognize that I wasn't my usual 'happy go lucky lets all play a game' self were kind enough to offer words of encouragement that generally included the phrases "you gotta let go" or "you can't always be in control Becky".

These friends recognized something about me that I couldn't see, for it had been my very existence. Kinda like Noah telling everyone it was going to rain. What's rain, they said, vastly confused. Well, what's out of control? What's letting go feel like? Even the act of letting go is an act of control.

Any of these friends close enough to see I needed a kind word, would also be close enough to really know the dysfunction of my early years, where things out of my control were the cause of much emotional pain and suffering that left scars so deep even I haven't seen them. Control was something I have used to keep everyone out of my most vulnerable place, my heart. Although my life often looked 'out of control' to most sane people, I saw it as mine to screw up. However illogical it sounds to many, it felt better to screw it up myself than allow others to hurt me and screw it up within their twisted control.

With salvation I had learned that God had a different idea of what He wanted for my life. A life of love, joy, temperance and righteousness. I learned that He wanted me to have an abundant life that required that I cease self destruction and allow Him to bless me and trust that He would continue to do so. I began to learn that no matter how things looked He would never let me down. I have allowed Him into my heart and He has begun a healing work in me. Unfortunately, the healing I required wasn't a band aid on a skinned knee. The wall I had formed needed to be broken down. I needed to be reset, like an improperly healed broken bone. Painfully broken, pieced back together properly, then hobble around with aid before I started walking again.

The painful break began with my children. I began to understand what letting go feels like. I will tell you now, at first, I didn't like it! It felt terrible. They both have a place, right where they belong, in my heart. I love them beyond measure, to the core of my being. Their entire lives I have done all possible to let them know, I am here for them, that I have their best interest in mind and have geared things to protect them and provide for them. They had been the only ones in that special place in my heart, until I met Jesus, who could transcend the barrier I had created. Although I had been made a new creature in Christ and had been instantly delivered of many things, my barrier still existed outside of my love for Him and them. I have loved family and friends, but not to the deepest degree, not unconditionally, and not to the point of total commitment. Some I have kept at arms length, some a little closer and others right at my finger tips, but my children I have loved completely. My children never hurt me, they loved me and needed me and I controlled their little world. Then they grew up, became teenagers, young people in control of their own destiny, and I didn't like it. Let me emphasize again, I didn't like it. My heart began to hurt, in the vulnerable place, the place I had protected for so long. I began to see that their decisions would shape their lives and that I could only guide them. For some this may seem like, duh dummy, but for me this was a totally new revelation. Worse yet, their words and actions toward me began to hurt me. When people you only love at arms length hurt you, it hurts, but not to the degree of hurt you feel when someone hurts you that you have loved deeply.

This painful break was to the very center of me. The hurt seemed more than I could bear. Not only was I not in control, I was discovering that I was never in control. It had been a facade of control. I had only been guiding, never directing, their paths. My prize for giving them my unconditional love was not going to be their guaranteed love in return. I soon discovered that there was always a possibility of them going their own way, good or bad, no matter how much I love them. I could sacrifice all and there was always the possibility of rejection.

Unable to self destruct the reset started. I turned to the only One I could. I began to seek God. At first unaware of how He was resetting my heart, I was angry, hurt, confused and sometimes outright rebellious. Asking Him how he could show me this wonderful life in Him and then show me that I could be hurt so badly. Why couldn't He just fix this? Couldn't He just step things up a notch? Why couldn't I control my children's destiny? God, always faithful, would attempt to give me peace through His word. I ran to Him constantly, whether in frustration, tears, or anger, I needed Him to survive this. He would continually call to my remembrance His promises concerning my children. That they would have peace. That me and my household were saved. That they would be prosperous. That they had been taught about Him and they would come back to Him. I argued back, couldn't He see that they were making some of the same stupid mistakes I made? That I had a miserable life as a young adult and that the decisions they made could affect their futures. Couldn't He see that just like me they could self destruct creating emotional craters in their lives?

I would vent and keep going in cycles for several months. Then the healing began. Gently, He spoke. Couldn't I see that just like me in times of trouble they would run to Him? Couldn't I see that I could put my trust in Him and believe His Word? Couldn't I see that He felt this way too? Couldn't I see that any sacrifice He made was worth me loving Him unconditionally? He showed me that loving my children unconditionally was the only way to receive the full measure of their love in return. That for them to truly honor and respect me in their love, I could only guide them. That I had to watch them make mistakes, no matter how badly it hurt, and I had to be quick and ready with forgiveness and guidance. He showed me the prize of their trust and love. It was the trust and love I have for Him, knowing I can turn to Him even when I am confused, angry, or even rebellious. I had to be slow to anger, in their frustration and lack of knowledge they would do things that could hurt them and say things to hurt me. However difficult it seemed, I began to learn that the return of their love was worth the cost.

I had been hobbling with aid in this new growth when God showed me it was time to walk. Of all the casualties of this misguided control of emotions, my marriage had suffered the most. Many of my friends and family had been the ones at my finger tips, but my husband had been at arms length. Afraid to love him completely I had unconsciously at times pushed him to the other side of that wall. Who else but flesh of my own flesh could hurt me deeply? With the knowledge God had graced me with I suddenly realized that He had given me my husband to both love me and be loved in return. I had sought council over the last several months from my dearest friends but not my husband. My husband wanted and needed my devotion. As crazy at it may seem, I suddenly fell in love. I mean head over heals. No matter what I loved him unconditionally. I could trust him with my heart. I could be vulnerable with my deepest thoughts and share them with him. Even crazier he was at work when I fell in love with him. He wasn't anywhere around and I couldn't stand it. I was waiting at the door when he came home. I couldn't wait to see him. I couldn't wait to pour my heart out to him and tell him how much I loved him and needed him. That I was so happy that we were going to share our lives together. Better yet, I can honestly say that this is truly the first time I have ever been in love. The wall I had formed at such an early age was now down. In the past I couldn't love, I didn't know how until God reset my heart and showed me how to love my husband His way, the way He intended love to be.

God equiped me with the knowledge that I can love completely and experience the full measure of my husband's love for me is truly an awesome blessing. The promise that brings for the new year is exciting. My husband only thought he had a good wife. Now I want to be the love of his life. I'll keep you posted after our honeymoon.

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