Control What You Can Control

Somehow, it’s Father’s Day this coming Sunday. Yep – much like this entire year-to-date, time is absolutely flying by at mach 10.

And it’s yet another reminder that…I’m away from home.

I haven’t written much about this topic, because frankly, when you’ve got no other options, the best thing you can do is buckle your chin strap, put your head down, and just get through it.

From the pandemic, to the riots, and now back to the pandemic – it’s been impossible to escape Manhattan — with flying posing a real health risk, driving ten hours alone having not driven significantly in 7 years seeming unwise, and not to mention the threat of carrying something home to my parents.

In a word, I’ve been stuck.

Sure, my mom was ready at the drop of a hat to get in the car and drive out and get me — but that also posed the threat of exposure to COVID19.

And sure, I had a gentleman who was willing to not only give me his car, but personally drive me to Ohio just to “spend time together.”

But somehow, here we are in June, and I haven’t seen my family in nearly six months. And I miss them terribly.

And Father’s Day is yet another reminder that…we’re not together.

My dad is the best man I know. Period. A pillar of strength and character — not only in our family, but the community, too.

And his insights and advice is second to none. Even my friends go to him when they need life advice, relationship advice, career advice. He should seriously consider charging a fee.

But there’s been one piece of advice that he’s repeated over and over these last months during the pandemic.

I’d often call him stressed about this or that — from health anxieties, to worries about the economy, to matters of faith, to advice about relationships — and his mantra of quarantine has been: control what you can control.

As a former perfectionist, you could say that I’m pretty particular. Maybe you can relate. But I like things a certain way. From my schedule, to the cleanliness of my apartment, to my style, heck – even to my groceries.

So to say that the shutdown really threw me for a loop, would be quite the understatement.

Control what you can control.

And I’ve come to realize, that….at the end of the day…there’s truthfully not much that I can actually control.

I can’t control the coronavirus, or how the country/NYC reopens and the precautions it takes. I can’t control the state of the economy, or the jobs I’ve lost due to the pandemic. I can’t control the unrest in our streets, or the injustice being fought against. And I certainly can’t control other people and their feelings.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

Control what you can control …

But the more I think about it, there’s a phrase missing from that sentence, that perhaps my dad purposely omitted, so that I could discover it for myself.

Control what you can control…and let God do the rest.

Because that’s the thing. The truth of the matter is that we’re not actually the ones in control: God is.

And He is going to bring to fruition exactly the plan He has prepared for you and me.

He’s going to guide us precisely where we’re meant to go.

Sure we may not understand it. Sure we may be confused why we’ve had to face struggles, why we’ve lost loved ones, why we’ve lost jobs and financial stability, thanks to a stupid virus that brought the world to its knees.

But God is in control, and the lessons and perspective we are gaining through all of this will contribute to our personal formation, in becoming the person God created us to be.

The person with depth. Perspective. Compassion. Understanding. Gratitude and appreciation. Humility. Drive.

Those are things you cannot teach, nor can they be learned from a cushy, sheltered life.

Control what you can control…and let God do the rest.

So today, right now, what I can control is: doing my work. Nourishing my body and staying healthy. Communicating with the people I care about. Pursuing a relationship with Christ. And surrendering everything else to the One who has a plan of goodness and abundance for me.

So dad, Happy Father’s Day to the man who has shown me, every day, what men are capable of. Thank you for loving me in a way that mirrors God’s love for me. For showing me every. single. day. what it means to be protected – what it means to be cherished – what it means to be cared for – what it means to be loved.

Dad, you’re my hero. And I love you so much.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5


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137 responses to “Control What You Can Control”

  1. Love it 😁 there are only a few things that we can really control – the biggest of which is our attitude, and where we draw our strength and faith. Have a good one & God bless

    • Thank you friend – you’re so right!! Those are the things we have control over! I love that: our attitude. Yes! You too – God bless! Hugs and love xox

  2. Routine has been my best friend during these difficult times. A daily agenda gives one at least a measure of control. I hope you are able to visit your family in person as soon as it’s safe to do so. Faith, hope and love.💕💜

    • There’s something interestingly comforting about routine, isn’t there? Thanks David. Hugs and love xox

  3. Give the rest to God 🙂
    I only control my attitude, my reactions, and my responses and of course what I do. Everything else is best left to God 🙂

  4. As far as the world is concerned we are about as far apart as possible. I am an old lady in Texas and you are a young woman in NYC. But God … we are one in Christ. And I also long for family I can’t travel to. My refugee too is in the God who controls all for His glory and my good. Love you blog!

    • Amen to that Bobbie! We are on in Him! Thanks for such kind words. Hang in there! Hope you can see them soon! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks Ab, yeah he always gives the absolute best advice! I hope so too! Thanks! Hugs and love xox

  5. You have a great attitude my friend! Life is 90% preparation and 10% inspiration I believe the saying goes. Attitude and perspective will get you far. I feel for ya being separated from family. I too have been separated from some family, like my youngest don for going on 4 yrs now. In time we will be reunited with our loved ones🥰 many blessings to you my dear🙏

    • Hi 💛 thank you for sharing your heart and for the encouragement. Gosh, 4 years – I hope you can see him soon! Praying for you my dear friend 🙂 sending hugs and love xox

  6. I was reading about POWs in Vietnam. Whether you are stuck in a 10×10 cell in Hanoi or walking around aimlessly in a camp in Son Tay, you learn to focus on important, and strip away the dross. The POWs often talk about controlling their breathing – one of the few things they could control in a numbing experience. Obviously we are not POWs, but we can feel like that in quarantine or life seems out of control. Sometimes, taking 3 deep breaths in a row seems to relax us more than hyperventilating.

    Unless, you’re trying to get more oxygen before a deep dive to the bottom of the pool, then hyperventilating is just fine. 😀

    • Wow that is so powerful. Thank you for sharing that. You’re right – breath is powerful! Haha a deep dive – you’re funny!

  7. What a lovely tribute. His words are great advice. God has shown me this over and over again. We can only do so much. Sometimes I have struggled to change something for years, only to have God step in when I have finally given up and walked away. “Let go and let God.”

    • Thank you friend – you’re so right – we have to let Him lead and do what He does best! Hugs and love xox

  8. My husband died not quite three months ago — and your words — control what you can control and let God do the rest — were words that I think most people in these days need to hear. They helped remind me. Thank you. Prayers for you & your family. Ann

    • Aw good! I’m so glad this hit home with you! I’m sorry you had a disappointment today 🙁 I hope tomorrow is a better day! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks Ian 🙂 you’re kind to say that!! I’m grateful for him! Hugs and love xox

  9. Thanks for this. Been feeling overwhelmed myself this week. So much going on and none of it I can affect. At all. I’m very glad for you to have such a great father. I’m sure it makes life much easier. Hugs…

    • Hey Jeff, gosh I’m sorry to hear that. I’m saying a prayer for you right now. If you need to vent, I’m available! Hang in there my dear friend. Growth is often painful but I trust that God’s got you right where you’re supposed to be. Big hugs to you and your girls. Xoxo

    • Thank you so much Dennis! Oh my gosh I am so touched by such generous words! Hugs and love xox

  10. Lovely post. Your Dad sounds like quite the guy. Kinda like mine. You can only control so much right now. Just be you and that’s always gonna be good enough. Loved your recipe for the cauliflower cod asparagus.

  11. An excellent reminder Caralyn. It helps us always remember that He is in control and we need not fret unnecessarily. Even though you are away from family and you feel it more so on certain days, it is good to remember that God has kept you all safe and healthy and you will get to see them hopefully soon.

    • Thank you so much! amen to that, we need not worry because He’s got it under control. thanks for your encouraging words! Hugs and love xox

  12. “In the world, but not of the world” was the historic phrase commonly used by many Christians, whereas today most of us tend to be in the system, of the system, and for the system—without even realizing it!
    So, let’s use the word emancipation to describe a deeper, bigger, and scarier level of freedom: inner, outer, personal, economic, structural, and spiritual. Surely this is the task of our entire lifetime. Richard Rohr

    • you’re so right – in it, but not of it. thanks for sharing that! Hugs and love xox

  13. I hope some day my children can say something nice about me when I’m gone. Not sure if they will. I tried hard, but I A.) was an awfully screwed up human being B.) didn’t understand love like I do now C.) made a lot of mistakes. I hope my children will be able to put aside the mistakes and remember the good times we managed to have together.

    I love your pictures. Especially the one at the bottom with your dad.

    • thank you for sharing your story. Children have a deep and inherent trust and knowledge of their parents’ love, no matter what. No one is perfect, and that’s the thing about love and about family: the love transcends. Hugs and love xox

    • you’re so right about that Al! I’m very blessed and grateful for mine! Hugs and love xox

  14. This is amazing Caralyn! Yes, control what we can control and leave the rest to God. He knows best! We choose to trust Him! Stay well and safe Caralyn!

    • THank you so much Lohluh! You’re so right about that – He knows best and is worthy of our trust!!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  15. My parents live far away from me too and so when people are doing doorstep meets with family, it does make it really hard that I can’t see their faces. 4 months here now. So thank you for this reminder x

    • Thank you for sharing that, friend. I’m sorry you can so personally relate to missing family. hopefull you can see them soon!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  16. My Dad lives sixty miles away and I last saw him on December 13, 2017. As I can’t go see him and he’s becoming deaf, I call to let him speak, just to hear his voice. And just a few hrs ago I wrote him another letter, on a specially made clan letterhead showing the clan moniker that translates to “barefoot.” It gets emailed, the old age home’s office prints it and delivers to his room. He doesn’t understand why there’s no envelope, no stamp. He is 89.

    • oh gosh, Pete, I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m sorry that you’re going through that with your dad. I’ll be keeping him and your family in my prayers. My heart goes out to you. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much Gail! Yes! that was from a precious face time earlier in quarantine! thank you for your prayers, my dear friend. know that you’re in mine as well! hope you have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

      • I love those smiles. And little you with your taller than life Dad 😍
        Thanks for the prayers ❤️
        Praying you have a blessed weekend as well! 🌹
        Hope you got your AC! 🌬️ Been praying!

  17. Caralyn, I absolutely love this post. Your dad is so proud of you. I’m sure of it. Quarantine has thrown us all in places we couldn’t have imagined. These past few months have surely brought the nations to the ground. Indeed, God is in Control. He knows exactly what He is doing and all we can do is fix our eyes on Him and trust that He is only making a way. As long as we are alive, there is still hope. I pray that your dad has a wonderful Father’s Day. Such a beautiful picture of your mom and dad ✨🤗

    • thank you so much Ali! I’m very grateful for my papa! 🙂 hope you’re having a great day! Hugs and love xox

    • hi Matt, gosh what a kind thing to say, thank you so much 🙂 i am definitely very blessed! Hugs and love xox

  18. Nice to know you have a “someone” who would drive you across states to spend time with you.

    • thank you so much 🙂 haha yeah I guess, although to be completely honest, i had to have a pretty frank conversation with him, because his feelings were in a completely different place. i was looking for friendship, he was looking for more. And it is never kind to lead another person on, or allow them to continue under false hope or ideas. a tough convo, but necessary. thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  19. Thank you so much for this. Too many worry themselves sick when God is available to take the load. If wwe can control, we should. But as you said, leave the rest to God.

    • tank you so much Hatrack! you’re so right – God is is ready, willing and wanting to take our burdens! Hugs and love xox

  20. What an amazing tribute to your father, and to God our Father. You have been blessed to have a earthly father with such integrity and love for you. Just a beautiful post, all around. To God be the Glory!

    • thank you so much!! I really appreiate that. yes – i really have been blessed by such a great dad. I’m very grateful. Hugs and love xox

    • it really is. i’m grateful for facetimes, but nothing can come close to the real thing!! thanks Jim for stopping by! hope you have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

  21. Awww…love your sweet regards to your dad!! 😍 Missed your posts Caralyn! I do agree that HE is in control not we, but through our surrending to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can control our attitudes and mindset; yay for that truth! Btw, as my son continues to research Christian history, he continues to be more attracted to the Catholic faith though he grew up Protestant. To bad you’re not local so you both could meet! 😉

    • thank you so much!! 🙂 Amen to that – even though we may not understand His workings, He is in control for sure. amen to surrender! oh wow! Hugs and love xox

  22. Amen! This has been my mantra for the entire quarantine period. We cannot control what’s happening, but we can control our reaction/s to them. And we shall not let anxiety or worry take over our lives, instead, surrender them all to God who is ABLE.❤ i feel sad for you not being able to spend father’s day with your dad, but i hope you get to come home soon with your family! Stay strong! God bless you 🙏🏼

    • thank you so much for sharing your heart! amen – God is ABLE and longing to take our burdens! we just need to surrender them! Hugs and love xox

  23. What a beautiful share of your feelings and thoughts. I like your brain!! God Bless you every day and your parents in Ohio!! God Bless your Dad for a Happy Father’s Day this weekend!! We can’t overdo ourselves in all this. There is so much that we have to relinquish control of. The thing is, we never really did have so much control. Before COVID it just seemed that way since we could decide more about our comings and goings. We have to relinquish the worries that have vegetated into us over not having every day the way we did before. We need to let God guide us and take joy in what we do have. The rest will work itself out, just as COVID will. Much love and all kinds of hugs!!🤗🤗🤗♥️♥️♥️God Bless!!

    • Hi Migueltio! oh gosh thank you so much – I will certainly pass that along to him! You’re so right – th rest will work itself out. what a comforting reminder! Hugs and love xox

  24. What a beautiful Father’s Day tribute to your dad, Caralyn! The photos are lovely too. I hope it’s not too long before you and your family are able to get together again. xx

    • Thank you so much Lesley! 🙂 I know, me too! i hope in July I’ll be able to fly back. We’ll see about this second wave…..thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  25. You are very blessed to have such a Father, Caralyn. I can relate to your story, in that I moved away for some time from the hometown where I grew up. The feelings you describe came up to the surface again for me. That time away, though, showed me how much, and how important, it was for me to find a way to make a living in my hometown. My parents have been gone for a decade, and I’m so glad I came back to share the last years of their life .. now I still can’t leave. The thing I had to discern was, what part of God’s agenda is my agenda, and what part of it am I telling God what my agenda is. God bless you deeply in your important work here. – Frank

    • Hi Frank, thank you for this heart felt response. That is really great advice, yeah i hope to one day end up back in ohio near my family. who knows, maybe this pandemic is offering a way back home? i appreciate this. Hugs and love xox

  26. Beautiful Caralyn. Hope you are doing okay. You are lucky to have a close relationship with your family. Continue to cherish it. So glad you are having a positive attitude about everything. You are right, God is in control. I have to stay off of the news or I’ll get so wrapped up in all the chaos. God has a plan and He is working in all of this. Sending love to you always. Xoxo Laura

    • Hi Laura, oh gosh thank you for this beautiful response. yes – i am incredibly blessed to have such a loving family. i really appreciate your encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  27. Now this is a post you can say is written from the heart. Also, looking at the number of your followers, I actually skipped to inhale. Wooh. Great work you have under your belt 🙂 Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s and mom’s who are no less than fathers.

    • aw, thank you so much Salonie, I really appreciate your kind words! amen! moms can be fathers too!!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  28. I frequently remind my grandchildren that there are only three things that they have total control over: their thoughts, their perceptions, and their actions. Everything else is external and beyond their control.

    • thank you so much JC! oh wow what a powerful powerful truth! i love those three things! amen! Hugs and love xox

    • thank you so much, I really appreciate that. glad it hit home with you! Hugs and love xox

    • hhahahahahah oh my gosh that’s amazing. i’ll have to tell him that! i’m sure it’ll give hime a smile! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  29. Thanks for sharing that advice from your dad and adding that additional bit of wisdom that God is in control. I did not have a father as loving and full wisdom as your dad. But I can say that God our Father is everything to me that my earthly father could not be. His love and grace is unlimited. Blessings to you and all you do to share he love of Christ!

    • thank you so much CG, for sharing your heart and your story. Isn’t it just incredibly how God our Father really is everything? We are so blessed. Sending big hugs and love xox

  30. I was thinking how I can’t believe it will be July soon and then the holiday season before you know it. All this uncertainty has also tested my routines, habits, my mental health, and how really committed I am to schedules and routines even in the midst of the craziest year ive ever experienced. In the end it comes down to what yoir dad has said and taught you. We can control what we can control. And it still is something I have to intentionally work on daily. Great post I enjoyed reading it.

    • I know! this year is FLYING BY!! thanks so much, glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you for this question – yes i definitely have – and I cannot wait until I feel safe to fly again. The issue is that my only other option is driving, and it’s 10 hours, and i haven’t driven a car significantly in about 8 years. so, i don’t feel safe! but i can’t wait to go home. i miss my family so stinkin much

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