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

Disconnected

So…I was trying to leave work Monday night…already an hour later than I had anticipated…coat and bag in hand…personal and work cell phones in my hand…and just like that, my personal cell phone slipped out of my hand. And landed on the floor. Against my desk. With a cracked screen and a blurred image staring back at me.

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You know it’s not a good sign when twenty minutes later, the Verizon man shakes his head and says, “It’s not good.” Cracked internal LED screen. Nope, not good. I used it as much as I could Monday night, moving my apps to the bottom half of my phone. By morning, the phone screen had faded to mostly black.

Besides being able to call my best friend and husband only because I have their face location on my speed dial memorized, my phone is useless.

Disconnected        

I am feeling a little disconnected.

And, I have to admit, I realize how dependent I have become on my phone. Instant connection right at my fingertips. I remember thinking just this weekend…wow, I’ve been on this phone a lot…doing mindless stuff. It’s like when I have any free space…waiting for an appointment, right before I fall asleep…it’s there in my hands.

I find that a little disconcerting.

I believe God can use anything to speak truth to us. I believe there is a message in everything if we will but listen.

This disconnect I feel may just be a blessing. It’s an opportunity to trust God with providing the means to fix my phone. It’s an opportunity to step back and reflect on my dependency on my phone…it’s not a good thing.

Yes, I am going to get my phone fixed. We have the part ordered, and by this time tomorrow night, I should have my phone back good as new. I promise you, though, I will be more mindful how often I pick it up and use it.

I need to be more disconnected from the world and more connected to His Word.

The last thing I should do before bed is read the Word, pray, thank God for the day….

The moments of waiting for an appointment….an opportunity to pray…

As a society we are so dependent on our technology…right at our fingertips. We are always connected. This sabbatical from the connectedness, is well, not such a bad thing.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2 The Message

A Little Goes a Long Way….

A little goes a long way…especially in the form of caffeine and chocolate and especially when you are living with food intolerance. Sometimes, you just need a treat, though. For me, it would be chocolate….something that won’t completely kill my stomach yet probably could will if I eat too much of it!

chocolate bliss

Pure gluten-free chocolate bliss.  Thankfully, my husband shared with me. It was the perfect end to a Valentine’s dinner at P.F. Chang’s. It was rich. It was wonderful. And, I could have eaten three of them, but a little goes a long way. Six dollars for a small dome of chocolate bliss kept my portion control in check!

I believe God has given us all things to enjoy, but it is our responsibility to exercise self-control and portion control…especially with food intolerances. I know if I buy a bag of Dove dark chocolate, I am in trouble because I can’t eat just one. Should I be able to stop myself at one? Yes, but I don’t always. We all have our weaknesses. For me, it’s chocolate, baked (gluten-free) goods, and nut butter. I think I could eat an entire jar of almond butter in one sitting, but of course, I don’t!

This verse is a reminder for me that all things are fine in moderation. And with my food intolerances, some things are better for me than others. A little goes a long way!

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