Life is stressful. And no matter how I try, I always end up stressed out about something. I’m better than I used to be, but somehow all the stuff that makes life so crazy just keeps stacking up until I’m buried in a pile too big to climb out of.
I’m not a tightly wound person either. I’m not inclined to anxiety. But somedays anxiety seems inevitable.
Responsibilities. Duties. Family. Friends. Work. Hobbies that become work. House stuff. Car stuff. Bills. Paychecks. Paychecks in comparison to bills. The rising cost of gasoline. The rising cost of everything. If they were just individual concerns, they’d be easier to deal with. But they never come individually. They always come together, all seemingly united in the singular purpose of driving me out of my mind.
But when you get right down to it, being stressed out about anything is really a choice. It doesn’t always feel like a choice, but it is. This is something I really struggle with, especially lately.
When I run into a situation that I can’t control, my automatic reaction is to get stressed about it. I worry about it. I think about it all the time. And even though I can’t do a single thing to change it, I lay awake at night, staring at my ceiling and wondering what other ways I could solve it. I guess in itself that’s not bad. But it’s not good either.
When I encounter a situation I can’t control — or a problem I can’t solve — the best response is to give it to God and not worry about it anymore.
But it’s so hard to do that when you’re a control freak . . . .
There’s a cartoon show that I love watching called Teen Titans. It’s a DC comic turned into a kid’s Saturday morning cartoon show. It’s not on television anymore, but I have the series on DVD. For being a kid’s show, it’s really quite witty. The Teen Titans are five teenage superheroes that basically run around saving a city from random bad guys and eating pizza on their off days. It’s a riot. One of their minor nemeses is a dude called “Control Freak” and he’s basically a geek in a trench coat with a magic remote control that can turn inanimate objects (TVs, candy bars, vending machines, etc.) into monsters. He’s one of the fun bad guys because he’s always quoting Star Wars lines and things like that.
But to beat him, the Teen Titans have to take away his remote control because that’s where he gets his power. If he doesn’t have his remote control, he’s just an ordinary geek.
This is honestly what I thought of when I read Philippians 4:6-7 this morning.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
We’re not supposed to worry. We all know that, but it’s hard to remember when worrying is so easy to do. We all feel like we have te have some kind of control over a situation, and we can’t rest until we get everything sorted out. But any control we think we have is an illusion.
There’s only one thing we can control and that is our reaction to the stresses of life.
We can choose to worry. Or we can choose to trust God about it and let Him lead the way. We can choose to hold on to the things that stress us out. Or we can give up the remote.
I’m working on my control freak tendencies. It’s funny because my inner control freak can be very helpful when I need her to be, but when I lose control of it that control freak inside me takes over me too. And when that happens, I’m not a very nice person anymore. And I’m so obsessed with getting something done the way I think it needs to be done, I tend to run over people. And that’s not the way we’re supposed to live.
So I’m going to do my best to turn over control of my remote, the tendencies that make me want to stress about the unsolveable problems of life. Because if I don’t turn it over, God might someday take it away to remind me that I really don’t control anything.