Friday, May 2, 2014

Surrender control

I’m sitting here in the wee hours of the morning thinking about the chaos and emotional turmoil that has threatened to totally knock me off track these past few weeks. Undoubtedly, these have been stressful days and I’ve been struggling to stay focused. I’ve been bombarded with all sorts of challenges, emotionally, physically, and mentally since Good Friday, but I know much of it is because that force that I call “evil or the devil” is not happy with the wonderful things that God has been doing in my life. It’s almost as the devil is doing everything in his power to cause havoc in my life. Those of you that share my spiritual beliefs will understand exactly what I mean.

On the afternoon of Good Friday, I had a meeting at Central Michigan University (CMU) with three individuals that I had never met before. The meeting was set up by a fellow employee at my college and was intended to begin a dialogue about the steps I need to consider in order to move forward with the process of sharing my story, establishing a business, and getting some guidance with my motivational speaking opportunities. I was feeling some anxiety about the meeting, primarily because I was meeting with strangers in a place I had never been before and discussing topics that I know very little about. I was definitely “out of my comfort zone” and uneasy. These feelings of apprehension were exacerbated even further when I got lost trying to find the building because the MapQuest directions weren’t accurate, leaving me totally ‘out of control” and feeling lost.  I really do not like feeling “out of control.”

The meeting turned out to be a positive experience and I was given the privilege of meeting three wonderful people who are offering to share their knowledge and help me in this next phase of my journey. I was told that I would be given assistance and guidance… of charge….in establishing a motivational speaking business, writing my book, completing the necessary paperwork, as well as mentoring in developing and improving my skills. I have been blessed beyond measure once again! One of those present, Dr. Sherene McHenry, is one of the most inspirational women I have ever met. She is now a professional speaker, traveling around the country changing lives with her motivational messages. She gave me a copy of her book, and it was almost as if the words were written just for me! God certainly is using this woman in a powerful way. Check out her website and her book:   She is simply amazing!  God just keeps putting all the pieces together for me and I am so blessed!

All of this is quite exciting but also frightening because it is happening very quickly. I’m certain that God is in control, but as a recovering control freak, I keep fighting to take it from His hands and put it in my own. It is a daily struggle to surrender and not only say, but mean, “Jesus, take the wheel.” All of the changes going on around me; the doors opening; the people God is placing in my life; the opportunities that lie ahead are part of God’s plan, and yet, I struggle daily to trust and believe that in His time, He will make it all fit together. It’s not in my control…..and even though I have great faith….. I still experience doubt, fear, and anxiety. I need to work on that!
In my personal life, I’ve been struggling with control issues as well. I’m a couple of days away from finishing my college semester and my final project, a 38 minute MOVIE presentation, is nearly completed. YES! YES! YES!  Putting this project together has been a tremendous amount of work, not extremely difficult work, but nonetheless stressful, because it involved two other people. You know what that means? It means that I have had to work with others and trust that they will do their part….and surrender control. It means that I have to wait on them to get their parts sent to me so I can put it all together. It means that I cannot proceed until I get the information from my partners. It means that I am ultimately not in control, because I am dependent on two students who have their own issues, timelines, and life situations. It means that I have to trust that they are as invested in this project as I am. It means that I have had to surrender control, and even though I have great faith in my classmates, I still experience doubt, stress, and anxiety. I need to work on that as well!

I’ve also been dealing with some serious relationships struggles these past two weeks, and you guessed it, “control” has been at the root of it all, on both sides. I do not like to feel that someone else is dictating my actions…..telling me what to do….placing expectations on me that I do not want to meet…and I certainly don’t like to be told who I can choose as friends or what I can do in my “too little” free time.  I don’t think anyone wants that. But it’s not been one-sided either. I have come to realize my own role in the struggle… wanting to do the same to him; wanting to change his behavior; and make him into something that he is not. I have tried to control him as much as he has tried to control me. Learning to trust and surrender is not easy, but it is critical for healthy friendships and relationships.  Realizing that I cannot control another person is extremely important for my personal and emotional wellness. It means I have to surrender control, and even though I have faith that my friends want the best for me, I still experience fear and anxiety. I need to work on that too!

SIGH…… all of this ‘don’t be a control freak, Theresa” stuff is hard work!  It’s been a tough two weeks and the struggle has manifested itself in my body.  I’ve been experiencing RA flares, not sleeping well, and eating way more than I need. I’ve yet to ‘fall off the wagon” and give in to the temptation to eat cookies and junk food, but I definitely have been doing a lot of emotional eating of “safe foods” to ease the stress. I have been “out of control” and ate four protein bars in one day last week! That’s about 800 calories!  YIKES!  Things have been better the past couple of days, and I’m sure they will improve once the project is submitted in a couple of days, but next week brings its own challenges. The London magazine hits the stands next Tuesday and I’m doing that big speaking engagement in Lansing a week from tomorrow.  I will need to spend a lot of time in prayer in the coming days so that I can surrender control of my body, my eating habits, my life to God, and trust that He has already won the victory and He has already set me free from those habits that ultimately led to my obesity.  This is something that I need to work on EACH and EVERY DAY!

The bottom line in all of this…….. We cannot control those things that happen to us. We cannot control the people around us. We cannot control the weather or the world events or the state of the economy or ……  BUT….. We can control our reaction to things, people, and events. And most importantly, we can control OURSELVES…..our eating…..our behavior…..and our actions.  I need to work on all of that!  Hopefully, you’re doing better in these areas than I have been.  BUT….it’s a new day….and I am feeling in control…..of ME!!!