In an interview between Oprah and William Paul Young, the author of the book The Shack, he made a point while talking about overcoming the struggles in his life that both struck me and provided some clarity. He was talking about how, because of his fears, he had attempted to control everything in his life and this attempt to control everything ultimately led to it all falling apart. I just want to re-emphasize that for a few of us: His attempt to control everything ultimately led to it all falling apart.
What he said that struck me was this:
When fear is the predominating factor in a situation, we either move toward control or we move toward trust.
It became clear to him and to me that when we attempt to control things in our lives that we really have no control over, the Universe “helps” us to recognize this and strongly encourages us to lean into trust as we are forced to learn the lesson that if we don’t trust enough to let go of the illusion of controlling everything, we will be forced to in the end.
When we are operating from fear, there are only 2 ways in which we tend to go. The first, control, is not effective in the long run and it is ultimately a way of prolonging the inevitable. Control can feel more effective in the short run as it can help us to feel safe beneath the delusion that we can make things go the way we want. But in so many ways, it is just a way to delay the impending reality that we are not in control. Attempting to control everything in our life is a great way to feel stressed out, disappointed, angry, and even more out of control. It is also a great way to perpetuate the fear that was behind it all to begin with.
It may seem like the smartest or the best choice, but control is truly just an illusion. It provides only a temporary fix to a much larger issue. The fear may seem overwhelming, too big to face, or as if it is coming from many different directions. Fear is tricky that way, and it will convince you that you must control things in order to be “ok”. The fear will also dive down into your belief system and embed itself like a virus, influencing your decisions and behaviors on a daily basis.
A few of the ways that we attempt to control are by hiding, minimizing, making excuses, blaming, and playing small. These all serve no none.
The other way to go, if we are to turn away from control, is to trust. Gulp. This is where things get a little more difficult for some. To let go of the attempt to control and to trust that we will be alright no matter what happens can be a really big deal. We have to step out in faith that if we let go of our need to control, things will actually go as they should. We have to trust that life knows what it is doing and, sometimes this part is more difficult, we have to trust that others can live their lives right.
Another layer of trusting is to allow things to be imperfect. If we try doing our best each day (whatever our best is for that day) at the end of the day, we can rest well and feel satisfied to be right where we are knowing that we did all that we could. We must also acknowledge that we aren’t really in control anyway. We must be able to recognize that life will keep on going even if we don’t assert our control and even if we (and everything else) aren’t perfect. Remember, both ‘control’ and ‘perfect’ are illusions that we can pour all of our attention and energy into, and in return, we only find ourselves burned out, frustrated, still in fear, and still only wishing for progress toward who we want to be.
So, why not take a load off of yourself and try the trusting? It may be scary, but it is worth a try. Aim for whatever your best is today and trust The Universe to handle the rest. You can let go of a ton of worry and stress if you trust enough to go with the flow a little more.
You can try using a mantra as a reminder to help you get through; something as simple as “I trust…”.
Try it on and see how it feels. If it feels uncomfortable, then keep going! That means you are on the verge of growth.
I will be trying right along with you.
Chat again soon,