I began the Let. It. Go. (written by Karen Ehman) Online Bible Study with roughly 8,000 other women this past week at Melissa Taylor’s site (for those who don’t know, Melissa Taylor is a wonderful OBS leader). Only 2 chapters in and I can already say I will be sad when this study ends.
Hi, my name is Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Florist (with promotion to Floral Shop manager next week), Bill Payer, Schedule Maker, Chauffer, House Keeper… and I have a tendency to control. I’m a soft spoken (most of the time)/enabler/martyr/people pleaser. But I have hope and so do you! My hope is coming from this study right now. I am clinging on with everything I am that by the end of this study I will have relinquished some of the control I feel I need to have and have learned how to delegate some responsibilities without giving myself a panic attack.
“It was a frightening and foreign sensation that left my stomach untouched but invaded my thoughts and emotions every day. The feeling was that of being utterly out of control.”
Oh, how hard this hits home for me. While Karen was using an example of being pregnant with severe morning sickness and having to rely one family and friends to help her, my thoughts turn immediately to surgeries and fairs. That’s right- I said fairs. But, before I get to that one, let me explain my control issues surrounding surgeries.
I think my issues mostly with surgeries stems from being in a very violent relationship several years ago. One of the things he really liked to do was to show me just how much stronger he was then I by pinning me down and holding me there. To this day I still can’t be pinned down- even in play. I first realized this affected my ability to go through surgery without a panic attack the first surgery I had. It was hand surgery. I didn’t realize I had been strapped down (thank you medicine!) until half way through the surgery when I tried moving (I had been given a local so I was still awake during the procedure) and couldn’t. After being told by the anesthesiologist several times to calm down and stop moving, I was knocked out completely for the duration of the procedure. My second surgery was even worse. Because of my experience with the first surgery, the surgeon decided to put me to sleep for its’ entirely. I was told after I came out of the anesthesia that I had actually started waking in the middle of surgery screaming out and trying to move around to free myself from my restraints. I don’t remember this happening, but it’s pretty scary to think it had. I’ve had a few surgeries since. I get panic attacks while in pre-op and have to be sedated even before the surgery begins. The staff is made aware of this and of my history well in advance. I have to be in control of some aspects of my surgery to even get me through the doors. 1. My husband must be in recovery before I begin to wake. 2. I don’t see any restraints. Don’t even bring them out until after I am completely knocked out. 3. I will rip at my IV and oxygen tube that goes in the nose as I am waking, so they need to be vigilant about watching for it.
Ok, so that might be a reasonable reason for exerting control (although it may be a little neurotic). But what about fairs? Why do I need to exhibit so much control at fairs? One word- RIDES!!!! I literally cannot step onto any ride at a fair ground no matter how slow or fast it is. My husband found this out first-hand the first time we went to a local fair together. He kept after me to go on this ride. It kind of looked like an enclosed tea-cup ride with a teddy bear on it. It goes around and around in circles and the seats themselves can go around in circles separate from the other seats. I caved and reluctantly agreed. But the first time that ride lifted up and tilted, I began screaming and having a panic attack. To my (and my husband’s) embarrassment, the ride had to be stopped so I could get off. And why? Because, I am not the one running the control panel and I most certainly will not trust anyone but myself to run the rides. So, since I actually don’t know how to work the box and don’t work for the people in control of the fairs, I don’t get to ride on any.
“When we ladies are responsible for so many people and tasks, it seems natural, and even necessary, to call all the shots.”
It’s hard for me to relinquish control to anyone- including my husband- even for the smallest of tasks. Take grocery shopping for example. I have to write out the shopping list each week and it has to be written in a certain way. I have to have it starting in the produce section and ending with the frozen food aisle. Everything on the list needs to be in the exact order as I go into the aisles. While we are shopping, I can’t send anyone off in another aisle to get anything or it completely throws me off. Pretty silly, huh?
“What we must do is determine the difference between being conscientious (our part) and being in control (God’s job).”
Sadly, I wish it were that easy. I know God is going to protect me. I know he knows what is best for me- even more than I. I know I should “trust” him. I love him and want to honor him, but do I really trust him? I say I do. Then why don’t I allow him to do HIS job. This is something I know I have to work on. I am hoping that by the end of this study, I will be able to give God his job back.
One of my favorite parts I have read thus far was when Karen explained dog and cat theology. Dog theology is when the dog is so happy you are home. They are so excited to see you, want to spend every moment with you and make YOU happy. You feed them, spend time with them, pat their backs and rub their bellies. “You must be God!” Cat theology is when the cat thinks you are happy to be home with them. You feed them, spend time with them, pat their backs and rub their bellies. You do all this because THEY “must be God.” While humorous, it is the truth and a clever way of making a comparison. I hope this type of humor continues through the book.
“When we go through life looking out for ourselves, taking control rather than trusting God for guidance, making decisions based solely on what’s best for us rather than what will make God most famous to those around us, we’re elevating ourselves above God and buying into backward, upside-down cat theology.”
So, my question to you is this- Do you want to be a cat or a dog?