A Sense of Control

Control. Positive or negative? It all depends.

Webster dictionary defines control as the power to influence or direct people’s behaviors or the course of events.

Perfectionism and control freak closely mirror one another. When I want everything to be perfect, then I am trying to control the situation. Perfectionism, control, performance…Huge creators of anxiety for me.

Here’s what I am learning…So little is truly within my control. This realization has been freeing.

I cannot control the weather. I cannot control the actions and reactions of other people. I cannot control decisions made by the higher ups in my organization or my husband’s company. I cannot control car issues. You get the picture.

What is within my control? I can choose the way I react to challenges and difficult people. I can make choices that impact my health. I can learn to say “no” sometimes. I can choose to put God first every single day.

During my first counseling session, my counselor told me that anxiety and depression are often closely connected. I went to him for help with anxiety. I certainly was not depressed. 

Well, in the weeks that followed that session as I dealt with the busyness of the Christmas season at work and home, I began to consider that maybe I was feeling depressed. 

Depression to me feels like a sense of loss of control of everything around me. During the holidays, I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. 

With the dawning of a new year, I find that I am reflective in what I hope for this new year. In these reflections, I am acknowledging areas I have control over and those I do not. This certainly helps me with the pressures and expectations I place on myself.

A few examples…

Discovering that coffee makes me jittery and adds to my feelings of anxiety, means that I can choose to drink green tea instead.

Desiring more time with my family means I can set boundaries at work to help with time management.

Situations of conflict and tension… I can pray before I react in anger or another unhealthy emotion.

I am learning to discern between letting go of what I cannot control and feeling empowered to make choices in what I can control.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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