Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz where the weather in Kansas is getting wretched, and Dorothy is scrambling all over trying to find her dog and get into the cellar? The wind is picking up. Shrapnel is flying through the air.
There’s a tornado coming.
Can Dorothy stop the tornado from coming? Can she control where it goes? Can she control what it does to her, her house, and her little dog, Toto, too?
She hurries and scurries to get to safety, but alas and alack, she blacks out and succumbs to the storm.
Now think about how Dorothy was feeling in those moments before blacking out. She was anxious. Desperate. Terrified. And then when her body gave in and let go, the fight ended. She slipped away into…Oz.
Last night I was talking to my husband, Tom, about the Covid-19 storm that is taking over the world right now. I said, “It’s like you know a tsunami is coming, but it’s sunny and beautiful outside. So much cognitive dissonance going on right now. And at the same time, we are all desperately bracing ourselves for the tsunami. Hoping we can control the sickness with essential oils and elderberry syrup. Hoping we can control all the people who don’t seem to realize the tsunami is on the horizon. Hoping that if we have a closet full of toilet paper, we will survive.”
And our anxiety levels have gone off the charts.
Eventually we will realize we have very little control. Eventually we will realize we have completely lost control. And that is when we will discover the opportunity to experience real peace. Kind of like when Dorothy lost consciousness and went to Oz. Kind of. Okay – it’s really not the same at all because she got knocked out, and that is not the way to peace. But I think you get my drift.
Prior to losing control you are attempting to maintain control, and trying to control all the things leads only to one thing. ANXIETY!
I’m on anti-anxiety meds, so I get it. I have GERD. I get it. I’ve struggled with insomnia for years. I get it.
(So why in the world are you writing this, you anxious, GERD-bothered, exhausted woman?)
I’m writing this because I not only get it, but I’ve had a breakthrough in this area in the past few years. I know it’s possible. And here’s how:
Letting Go of What You Can’t Control Leads to Peace
We tend to let go of what we can’t control when we finally get to the end of ourselves.
That’s right. You need to get to the very end. When there is no more fight left in you, and you say “UNCLE!” – that’s when peace offers itself to you as an alternative to the war you’ve been internally raging for so long.
If you’re still fighting, you aren’t at the end yet. You may have a ways to go.
I can’t tell you how many women have asked me for help, but they aren’t really quite at the end of their rope yet. They still think there is stuff that can and should do to prevent all. the. things. from happening.
I could make a list that might burn your ears, but I won’t do that. Instead, I want you to come up with your own list of what you are doing or not doing in hopes of controlling outcomes.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t actively do our part. Not at all. In fact, I’m a huge proponent of taking personal responsibility of what you can control. But you guys – you can’t control the universe outside of the one between your two ears.
You can’t control your partner.
You can’t control your family of origin or your church family.
You can’t control illness.
You can’t control the weather.
You can’t prevent bad things from happening to you. Your purse may get stolen. Your child may get sick. Your car may die. Your house may burn. People may (and probably will) think and say bad things about you behind your back and sometimes to your face.
So hanging on with rabid intensity and demanding ferocity to a peaceful, problem-free life isn’t the path to peace.
It’s the path to pathology.
So let go. Surrender to the fact that life is sometimes amazing and sometimes hellish. It’s like that for everyone on planet earth. It’s the human experience. And you, my sister, are human. Embrace it.
Also, think about so many wise men and women in history. They didn’t fight what couldn’t be fought, but they absolutely fought what COULD be fought. For example, Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy hid Jews in their home when it was illegal to do so. However, when they were caught, they went to the concentration camps where they suffered, and Betsy died. While they were there, they learned to surrender to the fact that now there was nothing they could do but find peace within themselves in the midst of the suffering in the camp. And that peace spread to so many other women.
This is being the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.
Discovering What You CAN Control Leads to Peace
What we can do is look around us, assess our circumstances, and control our thoughts and responses to those circumstances. All of this takes place in the universe between our ears.
You get to control your universe. You get to manage your head space.
How are you doing with that? Do you know what’s going on inside your universe? Do you want to find out?
Your brain runs on automatic every single day. It thinks thoughts that it’s used to thinking. This is why brainwashing is so destructive. It keeps the person who owns that brain from taking responsibility for it and managing it properly.
Don’t let other human beings manage your brain for you. And don’t allow your brain to run on automatic. Take control!
Do you see how we’ve got this all wrong? We try to control our circumstances and other humans – things we cannot control. And we get apathetic about controlling one of the most important things we are responsible for controlling – our own thoughts and subsequent reactions to those thoughts.
We do a lot of work on turning this dynamic around in the Flying Free Sisterhood education and support group. (Learn more and get on the waiting list HERE.) Why? Because this is where your power lies. If you’ve ever felt powerless, you need to learn how to do this.
Taking Control Where You Can Enables You to Create Peace and Beauty
Think about all the energy we expend trying to control things that are outside of ourselves. Trying to control what other people are thinking or doing or saying. Trying to control our circumstances.
Trying to control God.
Yes, we do that. When we pray and expect Him to answer our way. When we believe if we go to church, He will bless us and keep us healthy. When we sacrifice in hope of “appeasing” Him. We are making a god in the image of the gods throughout history. We bring Him down to our level so we can understand Him and manage Him and feel safe.
Has that brought anybody real peace? Is that real faith? Is that god very awesome?
I don’t think so. And when we worship that god, we become like him. We become control freaks. And ironically, control freaks are the MOST out of control in their own emotional universe.
Let go, sister. Let go and surrender to a Bigger God. One you can’t control. One you can’t understand. One that holds your universe and all the gazillions of universes, big and small, in His Hands.
The wisest, most mature, most beautiful souls we’ve ever known or read about in history are the ones who rest in One Greater than them. They are at peace whether it’s sunny or stormy. They are present. They hold space for others to be who they are. They love.
Doesn’t that sound lovely?
And when you are at peace in your universe (that’s your brain space), you will be able to operate from your pre-frontal cortex, thinking and creating and living your very best life. And of course, this will bring beauty and love and creativity to everyone around you. Will they all choose the same? Of course not. That’s up to them. That’s up to what THEY want for THEIR universe.
But some will look at your life and what you’re creating for yourself, and they will be drawn to that light and life and be set free as well.
The universe outside of ourselves may be falling to pieces, but you have this golden opportunity to manage the one inside your head and find the peace you’re desperately looking for.
If you want to do this personal work within a community of women who are all doing the same work, consider getting on the waiting list for Flying Free. We’d love to connect and grow together with you!