Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Control Continuum

One. Every day I deal with my spirited child. (Thanks, Lindy, for teaching me that term. I so prefer it to strong-willed or headstrong.) Each day we butt heads and many days I lose my temper. Some days he says, "I'm losing my patience with you, Mom." My own mother tells me I'm trying too hard to run his life. "I've had this kind of child," she warns me. "You can't 'break him' of it. And if you try, you will make it worse."

Two. I am trying to teach my historically night owl body to become a lark. Each day is a struggle, but I feel myself changing, both body and spirit.

Three. Having recently been made keenly aware of how much my diet affects my health I am on a mission to drink more water, eat less sugar, and pack my family's diet with leafy greens. Today I ate too many Robin's eggs and didn't have a green smoothie. Tomorrow will be better.

Four. For eight months I have struggled with a weird health problem and have prayed for God to take it away so I can have another baby. Only I haven't prayed with much meekness. Instead, I have acted like this: "Having another baby is a righteous desire. Why won't you heal me so I can?" Finally, I realized what I was doing and changed my paradigm. I let go. I gave it to God. I told Him I would trust him. I felt the weight come off my chest as I loosened my white-knuckle grasp on my family planning and sincerely believed that God could have something better in mind. I don't think it coincidence that I am now, nearly inexplicably, on the mend.

I didn't see how any of these things were connected until reading Jordan's post last week.

And suddenly I realized that each of these things seemingly consuming my life is about control. Some things can be controlled. But other things--no matter how hard we try--cannot be made to bend.

I believe one of our jobs in mortality is to learn how to control our bodies with our minds and spirits. In other words, control our appetites and desires. If I want my body to last, I have to control what I put in it, and what I do with it. Of course I cannot control everything that happens to my body. I cannot control or prevent every incident or illness. That is in another's hands.

I can control when I get up in the morning. And for me, in this chapter of my life, being up earlier than my children is a must. No matter how my body yearns for one more snooze, I must will myself to win.

I feel it my duty to be in control of what my child eats, how much sleep he gets, and the way he treats other people (including me). I won't tolerate meanness or disrespect. But sometimes I try to control more than that. And I forget that he has an innate personality and free will. And how dare I try to control and 'break' that boisterous, adventurous, unconquerable spirit?! No, that is not mine to control. Instead, it is my job to teach him how to be in control of it. And I can (and must!) control my temper.

Like I said, I am physically on the mend. But much more important has been the emotional healing that has come as I have been reminded once again that we cannot be in control of all things. Sometimes all we can do is 'show up.' We do all we can, and then we just have to let go.

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