The long tail effects from my silent retreat

“Wanting to control the outcome.” BHAM! OMG! This just came into my mind. I now know my problem. Seriously. Thank You Lord for telling me this!

It’s not merely about me wanting to control what time I sleep (I call it discipline, perfectly fine), I want to control that I can fall asleep soundly at the time I’ve designated. Failing which, I get very anxious, frustrated; which of course it’s a stupid move, because I will then never be able to go to sleep.

I realised that today’s 3 blog posting (in a day!!) on this topic of ‘relinquishing control to God’ has everything to do with my 3d2n silent retreat over the last weekend.

So, it is true what the spiritual director said at the beginning: “Don’t be hung up over wanting to get results at this weekend. Sometimes it will come after the retreat.”

Today being my off- day I was fretting over the multitude of things-to-do I’ve chosen to put on my list, which I won’t elaborate about it any more as I’ve blogged about it here and here

And being a Miss Google (someone who wants to have an answer now), I’ve found articles on my problems.

But none being so profound as to what God said to me out of a sudden: “Wanting to control the outcome.”

Thus, the dots from the retreat started to connect.

The scripture passages given to us:

But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.Isaiah 43:1 NIV

What stood out for me:

But now, this is what the LORD says 43:1:1 NIV

For I am the LORD, your God 43:3 NIV

your Savior 43:12 NIV

‘But now’ seems to me to hush myself, put aside my own preoccupation, conclusion and listen to ‘what the LORD says.’

(Question to God then: God, what am I preoccupied with?). Today I KNOW. I am preoccupied with the outcomes… which is God’s domain, never mine.

I try hard to listen.

He told me this at the retreat through His creation. "Did you create any of these?” *Pointing out the different plants, flowers, bees, birds, cloud, sun.

He continued:

‘For I am the LORD, your God.’ – He is my creator. He creates everything. ‘In the beginning, God created…’ Genesis 1:1 NIV.

“Do you get this?” God asked me. “I’m telling you that I AM your LORD. I am your creator and I AM in control.”

I get it today, God. I get that I have only 2 choices. Either I am a slave to my own wantings/sins or I am a slave to You.

At the retreat, I was driven nuts by this verse (the words in bold). It was SHOUTING in my head repeatedly, I almost have to cover my ears to stop the noises.

Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 NIV

Cease striving and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 NIV

Stop [your fighting]-and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 CSB

Let go [of your concerns]! Then you will know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 GW

Be at peace in the knowledge that I am God” Psalm 46:10 BBE

(Did you notice that the words ‘I am God’ stays throughout the different translations?)

At the retreat, I was chasing God asking, how? How? How? How? Tell me how to be still and still do!

I thought that’s my primary problem, wanting to know how.

God didn’t answer me then no matter how much I huffed and puffed. I’ve relented and accept the fact that, huh, I even wanted to will God into action, but God won’t allow my childishness.

True to His ways, He gave me my answer when I least expect it, and yes, through my wrestling and frustration.

So, yeah, my problem is I want to play God and control the outcome of things & situations. Setting myself up for disappointment and unnecessary anxieties. 

Knowing this ‘wanting to control the outcome’ syndrome is a big thing for me. And for once, I am happy with just that for today. I will normally chase on, and will want to move on to the next step (Oh yeah, I’m also a What next girl), drilling deeper to find out when were the instances this syndrome is messing up my life, and asking God for a solution.

But nope. I am contented that I’ve realised I have this problem.

What next, later. Prayer of surrender, now.

Serenity prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

(and the MOST important eight lines to the prayer)

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

Researching ” relinquishing control to God” aka ‘How to stop being a control- freak”

Well, blimey. I found out that I’m STILL a control-freak after all. I thought I’m a reformed control-freak. 

But nooo… I have no idea that after 3 years of being a Christian, and knowing all those let go, let God, I am still holding on tightly to the steering wheel. I thought I’ve let those go. I thought I’ve improved.

Nope. Nah.

I want to control how my day goes. I want to control my to-dos. Heck, I even want to control how & when God respond to me when I do my quiet time with Him.

No wonder I drive myself nuts. Miss-I’ll-Google-it-and-I’ll-find-my-answers.

Good thing though. Coz after driving myself nuts over driving myself nuts, I Googled: ‘bible verses about relinquishing control to God.’

As I read the articles and identified myself with it, I buried my face in my hands, shaking my head in disbelief.

It’s like being whacked awake.

From Rick Warren’s blog:

For some of you, the more out-of-control your life gets, the harder you try to control it.

The number one reason you’re under stress is because you’re in conflict with God.

I know this article is referring to the things we can’t control in life. But to me, I want to also relinquish control over the small things as these are those little buggers that makes me stressed out everyday.

So, I’m thankful for this, also from Rick’s blog:

Millions of people pray the Serenity Prayer, which is based on the Lord’s Prayer, but most have never read the last eight lines to the prayer: “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.”

That’s where the power is! There is power when you surrender to God the very things you’ve been trying to take control of from him.

I will say this prayer everyday if I can. So, help me Lord.

Struggles of being a control-freak

It’s a pain to learn how to place Him in the center of my life in e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

Take my Monday offdays. It’s an indication of a trap I placed myself in in my life. I flipped restlessly between wanting to do nothing, or to just focus on 1 thing for that day and wanting to tick off things to do.

Exercise- check

Driving daughter to school- check

Grocery- check

Errands- check

Quiet time with God- check

When sometimes all I desire to do in my heart is to spend the entire day with Him. Or, spend the entire day just reading.

But sometimes, circumstances dictates that I do have to tick off those to-dos. Now what?

My husband had learnt the wise way of being thankful even when he is tired. That has helped him to focus away from the ‘chores’. And focus on Him.

Something that I struggled daily.

Stupidly, the more anxious I am flip-flopping between the two, the more time I’ve wasted.

Dear God,

I’m angry at myself for the stupidity and absurd way of managing things in my life. For someone who’s logical, I am certainly not handling things in a logical manner.

Even if the most logical thing is to center back to You. Because I know You will set things right.

It’s driving me nuts.

Lord, can You show me why do I punish myself this way when You offered a much peaceful way to live my life? (and I know about it but stupidly allow myself in the anxious trap).

“Because you are a control-freak” Says God/my mind.