Early in my marriage, I remember asking my husband if I was crazy to have certain expectations. His response was something we still quote today. He said, “No, you’re not crazy. You just like things the way you like things.” I’d love to say I’ve grown from this notion as I’ve aged and matured, but as I’ve added more variables to my life, I’ve found I only hold tighter to this preference. I wrote about this in a previous blog (see, it’s a constant struggle) called “I hate the term control freak” where I argue that it’s more freaky to not want to control things.
If someone told me a few months ago I’d have the opportunity to keep everyone at home and be in charge of their schooling, my control-freak heart would probably have been excited. No worries about drama with other kids at school. No chance of sports/dance injuries. The ability to control how the kids learn. Yes, on paper, quarantine feels like a party for control freaks.
And honestly, it was…at first. I enjoyed the schedule we agreed on. I liked seeing what each kid was learning. I liked making menus and chore lists and having everyone home. Over time though, things began to unravel. The kids weren’t as excited about the schedule. Chores became a fight. Little by little, I felt the tiny bit of control I had slipping through my fingers. Then, things in my house began to break. First, it was the toaster. Oh well. I can’t think of an appliance we use more. We definitely got our money’s worth. Then, it was the dishwasher, the storm door, the dishwasher again (different repair), a leaking toilet and subsequent basement flood, then the instant pot, and then the kitchen sink clogged. Not a pour something down there kind of clog. A major, call a plumber, kind of clog. All the while we have a barely house-broken puppy who loves to chew things and suddenly, I don’t even remember the definition of the word “control”.
This is usually the point in the blog where I give some truth from the Bible. Please don’t think it’s because I’m so holy I have no other choice but to make it about God. I give some truth from the Bible because I need to hear it. I need to know that my God (who also likes things the way He likes things) is actually in control. Not pseudo “I just made this schedule” control but actual “I made this universe” control. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
It’s hard for me to not want to control all the things around me. I know it’s normal. I’m reminded of this whenever my four-year-old is throwing a fit. Whether he’s looking me in the eye and pouring his drink out or refusing to go to bed, I think about how I revel in the things I can control too. I throw fits and do things God has told not to all the time.
God doesn’t want us to give up all control. I can still be a bit of a control freak, but instead of trying to control everything around me, I get to control the way I react to the things around me. I could throw a fit and purposely spill my drink or I could choose to calm down a little. I can stop cursing the day simply because the toaster is broken. I can keep going. I can make the best of it. I can laugh when things are so incredibly side-ways there’s nothing else to do. And most precious of all, I can chose to use this time to teach my kids about a faithful God who has everything under control.