Confessions of a Recovering Control Freak - Part 2

Part 1

I said once I was going to write about learning not to be afraid, but finding my way through where to start on such a big theme in my life was more than I could manage then. 

I used to have to literally sit on my hands, to keep myself from doing anything that was a fear based controlling reaction. I didn't know what to do that wasn't me trying to escape the fear by doing something to give myself the illusion that I could protect myself with some sort of inane action, however unrelated. To this day, if I am having an uncomfortable conversation, or I'm worried about something, I will find something to scrub, or a crevice to clean the dirt out of, and focus on that the whole time we're talking, just like my grandmother. This is not to be confused with all the times I deep clean something just for the satisfaction of seeing it clean. I'm sometimes a little OCD like that. You would think my house would be more tidy than it is with that tendency, but it's not.

The truth is, the antidote to fear is choosing to trust. I would sit on my hands, not knowing what else to do, and remind myself, "I trust God. I trust God. I trust God. I choose to trust God. I believe God is good."

I didn't tell myself that God was in control of everything, because, my friends, I don't believe it's true. And if it were true, it's more terrifying than if it isn't. If God is in control of everything than the little girls who are right now being raped by their dads, or an uncle, or a John, are suffering because he made it happen. I don't accept that. I don't even try to make that make sense with a God who is good, and who loves, because it's a waste of time and energy. It's just not something that can coexist in the same being. Either he is good, and he loves, or he's in control, and he's the terrifying orchestrator of evil.

Now you know why it was so hard to figure out how to write about this, because I just plunged down the theological rabbit hole with that last paragraph, and it's a long way to the bottom before I finish explaining what I mean. How do I put a neat little bow on this post now?

Here's the short way out of the tunnel, maybe.

For some reason God saw fit to entrust us with a lot of power, to affect our own lives, and to affect the lives of others. This may have a lot to do with the fact that when He made us it was so we could rule over the earth and take care of it and stuff. We made a mess of that and all. But we still have this free will, and this power to change things and make things happen with our choices. For some reason God didn't take that away from us once we turned away from Him. I suspect it's because he is still fighting to get things back to the way he planned for them to be, us knowing him and taking care of the earth with him.

But the key word there is fighting. Because we have this power and God doesn't take it away and control us, and there are lots of people, and other agencies perhaps, choosing not to obey him. Not to mention all the people who say they are obeying him, and maybe even think it's true, and who are still doing harm to the earth and each other anyway. All of which means God's will isn't being done, and we are in the middle of a war zone, and God isn't in control. But you know, he doesn't have to be. Because he's really good at redemption, at making things right out of wrong, beauty out of ashes, joy out of mourning. In the end I believe he'll win. He'll get what he wants, which is all of humanity choosing to obey and use the power he gave us to do the good he intended from the start.

So I once sat on my hands and reminded myself that I chose to trust in God's goodness, that he is with me, that he will redeem all things.

Eventually I stopped having to sit on my hands most of the time. I learned how to deal with how big and scary and unpredictable the world really is, and to let go of the illusion of safety in order to embrace the good that was always there, even in the bad. I learned to laugh at the days. (Now you know.)

So this week, as I often find myself needing a quiet place to sit on my hands and chose not to be enveloped by the rising panic and the sheer number of overwhelming things, perhaps I'm writing about this to remind myself of what is true. I lose sight of it so often. I know I'm not the only one.

I should probably do more than joke about that support group.
Fearful People's Anonymous meeting today. Sign up below. We can remind each other to let go of our illusions.


  1. Secret Agent Josephine12:42 PM

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  2. katie1:20 PM

    I will be at that meeting! :) Thank you--I feel like I am always thanking you here--for posting something so pertinent to my life. And for being honest and thoughtful about a subject that seems so big and scary.

  3. AnnMarie1:47 PM

    I just so love your writing. I'm afraid (lol) you won't have time or net connection to write as much but I hope you do. I want to keep following your story and hearing your bits of wisdom and trying to laugh at the days with you.

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