Over the past few days, I’ve felt out of sorts. Things just feel off. In Texas, we call that being just a little caddywhompus or being just a little left of center. The best way to explain it to someone not familiar with the term is that it’s what happens when you get that grocery cart that has one bad wheel and pulls to the left. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get it to go in a straight line. Now imagine pushing that cart for 24 hours a day wherever you go–to work, to clean house, to church. There is nothing you can do to escape the wonky cart. I know of a couple of recent things that have made me feel a little bit off, but those pale in comparison to what I experienced this last week.
You see, I’m writing this article from my mom’s ICU room. She was rushed to the hospital early last Sunday morning because she was largely unresponsive and running a fever. Mom has been in declining health for a couple of years, which means we’ve had multiple conversations with multiple doctors because of her various ailments. This time the conversation was markedly different. The doctor came in and, in a somewhat direct way, said that with someone in her condition, he would recommend stopping all medications and, when the time comes, place mom in hospice care. That was the first time anyone had dared to mention the “H” word. And it came as a bit of a shock to us.
After being in the hospital for a few days, mom really wasn’t getting any better. In fact, she had been in a steady decline. On Wednesday, the doc recommended immediate hospice and gave her only 2-4 weeks to live. And just like that, we were faced with mom’s mortality and the fact that she’s not going to be with us much longer. I suppose we’ve all been expecting this day at some point in the next year, but I don’t think any of us expected it this soon. And now that we have a timeline, it has suddenly become very real.
So, I’m sitting in ICU with all kinds of alarms dinging and feeling out of sorts. I have zero control over the road ahead of me but am trying to take control of something, ANYTHING, that will give me a sense of peace over the situation. And then God started speaking to me about it.
As humans, it’s natural for us to try and grab hold tightly when we feel like we’re losing control. I can remember when I was learning to ride a motorcycle and had my first experience in windy weather. This was before I had taken any motorcycle lessons and knew just enough to be (very) dangerous. The wind was so strong, it kept pushing me into the shoulder and I was terrified. I just knew I was going to end up in the ditch. My natural instinct was to grip the handlebars as tightly as I could and hold on for dear life. I was white knuckling it for sure. What I learned after I took my lessons is that you want a firm, but loose grip while riding. This allows the bike to do most of the work and actually gives you more control in the turns. When you have a death grip, you can end up fighting with the bike and in many cases, the bike wins and you end up on the pavement.
Wait a minute. You mean that if I, as they say, “Let Go and Let God” I’ll have more control? And in the words of .38 Special, “if you cling too tightly, you’re going to lose control”? But. But. I HAVE to be in control! If I’m not in control, bad things are going to happen! If I don’t go to the right school, I’m never going to be able to get a good job! If I don’t control every aspect of my career, I’m never going to be successful! If I don’t have children now, I’m never going to be able to have them!! Control, control, control! Sound familiar?
I know after my husband died, I simply didn’t have the ability to take control over everything anymore. On most days, I didn’t have what it took to take control over anything for that matter. The only control I had was whether to get out of bed and take care of myself and on some days, I failed at that. I was completely and utterly dependent on God to get me through every minute of every hour of every day. And you know what? I felt free for the first time in my life. I didn’t have to worry what was going to happen in the future because God was in control. In looking at Bible verses on worry, I came across one of the very first Scripture passages I ever memorized, Proverbs 3:5-6. I’ve taken the following from The Message:
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
Are you white knuckling life, grabbing hold so tightly of the handlebars that you are in danger of crashing? Or are you staying loose and allowing God to do what He needs to do? Imagine the freedom of giving your will and control over to God and allowing Him to work mightily in your life today!
In what situation do you need to “let go and let God”?