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 day off, I was fretting over the multitude of things-to-do I’ve chosen to put on my list, which I won’t elaborate on it anymore 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 is 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 are 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 tried 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 accepted 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’s next’ person), 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’s 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

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