In today’s culture, we’re all about it.
We can control when we watch TV with DVR, we control how we come across on social media, we try to control our college or job trajectory by taking just the right classes or getting a particular degree. We try to control our diet and exercise — sometimes detrimentally so (guilty!) –we control our makeup; we can even try to control other people and their behaviors, whether a loved one, spouse, boyfriend, child or friend.
Control is everywhere.
And it’s contradictory. Because, the more we try to control the situation, the more bogged down – tied up – restricted – we become.
And for me personally, I find that my “controlling mechanism” flares up whenever there’s fear or anxiety involved.
This was especially evident during my weight restoration period at inpatient. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
In recovery, everyone gets to that moment where, they’re weight restoring, everything is going along well, and then BAM you throw on the breaks because you get scared. You realize that, Oh shit, my body is changing. I’m gaining weight. I don’t want to do this any more.
Those are very real and very gripping fears during recovery. I had them. There was a period where I was just paralyzed in fear.
I journaled about it a lot at inpatient, just pouring my fears out to God.
“Dear Lord, I come before you tonight and Lord, I just want to crawl in your lap because I feel like a vulnerable little child. Lord, please comfort me. I am so scared to gain this weight. And I feel like such a disappointment and that I let everyone down because I’m scared. I feel like a failure. Lord, I want to be healed of this so badly, I am just so insecure with myself and I feel like I have to be perfect. Please give me strength and perseverance. Please comfort me.”
There was a story in the bible that we heard on Sunday about Jesus’ first miracle: Turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana.
Quick recap: Wedding party runs out of wine. Jesus’ mother, Mary, learns of this problem and tells Jesus, “They have no wine.” She then tells the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus proceeds to turn six stone water jugs – about 180 gallons – into exceptional-quality wine.
AKA: He saves a major party-foul.
But the thing about this story that really hit me was Mary.
“They have no wine.”
There was a very real, very time sensitive issue at hand: the wedding reception ran out of wine.
I mean, isn’t that the biggest party foul ever? No more wine?! NOOOOO!
But instead of telling Jesus a laundry list of how to solve the problem, Mary simply tells Jesus the problem. “They have no wine.”
She stated the problem and then left it up to Him.
And look what Jesus did: He not only solved the problem, but solved it abundantly. Beyond anyone’s dreams. They were overflowing with outstanding wine.
Looking back at my prayer at inpatient, I realized that I wasn’t being like Mary. I was trying to solve the problem myself: grant me this, send me that virture. Heal me this way.
I needed to just surrender the problem, the situation — the control — to Him.
Here’s the last thing. Mary said one more thing: “Do whatever He tells you.”
That’s the part that can be the hardest: Doing what He tells you.
Whether that’s following your recovery meal plan. Breathing through the urges to not partake in ED bahaviors. Doing the next right thing, in whatever vein this looks like for you: Saying yes to an invitation from a friend, putting your computer away after 10pm, not buying the ump-teenth pair of designer shoes, changing the topic when gossip is starting. Whatever it is. Do whatever He tells you.
Control is such a hard thing to surrender. Especially when life throws us curve balls. Like the loss of a job or a loved one. A rocky relationship. A rejection letter from college. Being bullied.
“They have no wine.”
Just tell Him the problem, fear, anxiety, situation.
Tell Him, and then give Him the space and the time to work. Because when He does, the solution will be beyond your wildest dreams.