Have you ever been caught in the middle of a storm while driving on the highway? I’m talking about the kind of storm when you can’t even see out your windshield the rain is coming down so hard, let alone see the cars around you.
I was caught in one with my husband just a couple weeks ago. We were passing through Cincinnati headed home when the downpour began. I knew that if we were going to make it out of this thing I had to stay focused on the road ahead, remain calm, and keep my eyes and ears open. My muscles were on high alert, ready to make a last-second move if a car slammed on its brakes or an accident occurred in front of us. I knew if I even as much blinked I was putting us in danger.
There was one issue with all of this, though…
I wasn’t the one driving.
But for some reason I felt like my focus and attention was somehow keeping us safe and controlling the situation.
Have I ever mentioned I’m a recovering control-freak?
Well here’s what I’m learning lately…
My tendency is to do this on a daily basis.
My foot is always ready to slam on my imaginary brake in the passenger’s seat, with my hands firmly gripped on my imaginary steering wheel. Here’s the bigger issue…
I’m not actually driving, and my attention is doing little but making me anxious and leaving me with tension in my neck.
Hang with me as I bring this to a practical level. Let’s take a quiz. Please answer the following questions with True or False.
- You tend to get stressed out about your job.
- You are often worried about a relationship in your life.
- You have a hard time falling asleep sometimes because you are worried.
- You replay conversations in your head wondering if you said the right thing or not.
- You think someone else’s actions are dependent on what you do or don’t do.
If you answered True to any of these questions you failed my quiz.
Just kidding, that’s a test to see if it made any of you anxious to fail at something, thus furthering the point I’m about to make. *Insert evil laugh.
I’d assume most of you answered True to one of these. That’s because False Control Syndrome (FCS) isn’t uncommon to the human race.
Please don’t WebMD False Control Syndrome. I made it up. *Insert secondary evil laugh.
I’ve come to learn the warning signs of FCS in my life, so after a week of neck tension, sadness and horrible sleep I knew it was flaring up.
FCS has always been a threat in my life, but I’ve been most vulnerable to its attacks in my marriage as of late.
Real Talk: I sometimes worry that I can’t keep my husband’s attention.
When I worry about this I analyze his every move towards me, or lack of move towards me. I think of ways I can “get his attention” by planning a fun date night or making him cookie dough (his kryptonite). Busy weeks like this past one make me feel like things are out of control because we haven’t connected and I’m worried he is going to forget about me.
Eventually when it gets too out of control, I feel threatened by his very presence and I wall him off – which comes off like me being a complete jerk. I become paralyzed in this shell I create to stop feeling the hurt from his “lack of attention” and my senses remain on high alert.
I’m trying to drive from the passenger’s seat again.
So this morning after another night of restless sleep and waking up still in my walled-off shell, I finally decided I needed to treat my FCS.
I opened up the Word and I positioned myself to hear from the Lord.
Have you ever been miserably sick and the idea of taking medicine makes you want to vomit? It seems impossible to swallow that pill. But after you force it down your throat, you remember it isn’t attacking you, it’s what’s healing you.
I was reminded this morning that when I open up the Bible, the only Word of Truth in this world, and I hear from the Living God, He isn’t attacking me. He’s working to heal me. But I have to surrender to Him. I have to be willing to take the medicine.
I swallowed the pill this morning.
And oh how my heart is singing again.
It’s like I’m finally get a good deep breath outside of that suffocating, nasty old shell of mine.
I was reminded that the fear I’ve been feeling because I can’t control my marriage isn’t necessary.
I’m right that I can’t control my marriage…
But God is controlling it. He is the one driving.
Newsflash: He’s a better driver.
My imaginary pedal and steering wheel are doing nothing but stressing me out.
The other day when I was at the beach I saw a little girl, maybe four years old, timidly inching her way into the ocean. She was obviously a little scared by the waves, but she was trying to be brave next to her dad who was with her. When one wave began coming towards her at eye-level, she shrieked and immediately grasped onto her father.
I watched as her father smiled and picked her up, and she buried her face in his shoulder.
The threats of the waves were still there, but she was relaxed in his arms, knowing she was held above them now. She knew she was safe. Her superhero was holding her and his strong arms weren’t going to drop her. He wasn’t going to let anything happen to her.
She just knew it.
This morning I remembered that I’m held when the waves come.
When the downpour starts and I can’t see out the windshield, I don’t have to worry.
I’m just a passenger, safe in my father’s hands.
I’m not in control…
And that’s the best of news.
Friend, what are you trying to control? Give it to God. He already has it.