This post is part of my October post series: 31 Lies Modern Moms Believe. Check out the whole series!
Okay. So I knew I’d write this post.
But the title kept bothering me.
Like, really? NO control? Not a smidgen? Surely I have some control as parent, right? Goodness gracious, with all the lectures and vitamins and teeth-brushings I give, surely I’m doing a SPECK of good, right?
I sure like to think I can control my children’s future.
Just to illustrate, here’s a recent “mental dialogue” with myself I had. Kinda embarrassed to share this, as you’re gonna think I’m a total crazy person out in Lulu Land when you read this.
me to myself: “Okay, so maybe if I feed the boys their probiotics cold, and not warm, they’ll will work better, and then they won’t get sick. And if I spray essential oils all over, it will eliminate the germs in our house. And maybe if I give the boys a shower and not a bath, it will get rid of more germs from The Outside World. And for dessert, they should have the cookies with 2 grams of sugar, and not 7 grams of sugar, because sugar lowers the immune system. Yeah…that’s what I’ll do…that’ll help.”
See? Mrs. Germophobe-Control-Freak Much?
I make my best efforts, for sure, but does it actually do any good? It all become a little clearer (and a little disconcerting) when I started making The List.
The list called, Things I Cannot Control.
Here are a few. (I stopped when I started feeling really depressed.)
- whether or not my kids become Christians
- when my kids die
- who they marry
- what decisions they make as teenagers
- whether they have a mental illness
- whether they get cancer
- whether they get some other random horrible disease
- whether they get cavities
- whether they make poor decisions ending up in prison
- who their friends are
- their relationship with God
- whether they do drugs
- or, the worst one on the list. Whether they marry an exchange student from Hong Kong and they love it there so much, they never want to come home, and I’m too poor to buy plane tickets and I never see them or my grandkids, and they don’t even ever call.
(Why no. I’m not a worrier. Why do you ask?) The point is – I can make an impact, but I have no actual control.
It is worth repeating: I can make an impact, but I have no actual control.
Because that’s the weird thing. This is actually very freeing. I don’t know about you, but I took a nice deep breath after I said that sentence. I can make an impact, but I have no actual control. It’s weird. It’s almost like I feel better when I admit I’m not God. Crazy.
Recently I was digging in my little box of keepsakes, and I came across this note my mom wrote me. Who knows what in the world I was stressed about. Take your pic from the 17 items above. On the back, there’s a menu for some family gathering where we evidently were planning to eat potato salad. Not relevant.
On the front, here’s what it said.
- Give him his asthma medications
- Give him nourishing foods and plenty of water
- Be a positive, peaceful influence
- Pray for him
- Take him to the doctor
When I have done all I can do, then I get to watch God work.
If you are like me, and you are a Control Freak and Worrier over your children’s future, then I understand that it’s a problem with many years and many layers, and one teensy little blog post is not going to solve your deep-seeded issues.
But I think a good first step is this. When you feel stressed because you aren’t able to control everything in your children’s lives, ask yourself this question:
What would it look like for me to stop trying to control everything, and trust the Lord with this?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer)
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