The Illusion of Control
I had an awesome conversation with a good friend recently that I'll keep anonymous. He was struggling with anxiety around his lack of control. This is only a problem for him because he has the type of personality that thrives on being in control or at least the perception of it. This is what I mean when I use the word illusion. The conversation was deep and very therapeutic for both of us. We dove into so many topics including health, family, finances, and faith. As I took a giant step back from this conversation, I made 3 observations that I'd like to share.
First, let me take you somewhere. I want you to think of a time in your life (and it may be right now) where you were up against it and literally could not get out on your own. Maybe it's a sick child or parent. Maybe you struggled severely with your health. Maybe it was such a lack of money that you saw no way out. Maybe it was a natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. In each of these scenarios, all illusion of control is tossed out the window and every man, woman, and child resorts to getting on their knees and praying to the Almighty or whoever might be up there. They may believe that God is punishing them and they need to be forgiven. They may believe God is absent and doesn't care. They may just not know. But they are so helpless, that they're willing to pray, willing to try anything. Have you ever been there? I have three examples that involve the closest people in my life. Last year, I was wrapped up in 3 long-term hospital stays where I felt no control. My mom was suffering from Covid as a Type 1 diabetic. She wouldn't give her children access to the medical records and no one could visit during the pandemic. We were so helpless to get updates on her as endured over 2 weeks of life & death. She survived. Praise God! My mom lived! Both my grandparents passed away in 2020. I've given full eulogies on this podcast. They were my second parents who had a considerable part in raising me, especially my Pop-Pop. He was the father in my life to affirm me. He was the man that I wanted to perform for. My Nana was in the hospital for 7 days and my Pop was there for 26 days. In both cases, it was a roller coaster of good and bad news. Just when you think they're improving, another setback happens to push them further away from coming out. I felt helpless both times and both times they went to be with Jesus. My dad is bipolar and had a severe onset of depression and mania after his parents passed away. 2021 has been a nightmare with him, never knowing where he'd end up and when I'd get a call from a hospital or a coroner. At one point, he went missing for over 48 hours with no phone or car. No control. The last scenario happened a few nights ago. There was a severe flash flood in our area as a result of Tropical Storm Ida. We live in a flood plane with a large creek 100 yards from our back door. The street is the highest point and our yard has a downgrade toward the creek. The water was pouring into our yard and driveway from the street and raised the water level to over 5 feet in our backyard. This is the storm I mentioned in the funny papers with the mouse. Yes, it was fun swimming with boogie boards in our backyard river. But I will tell you this. The water level crept from the creek to our back fence. Then it covered our fence and reached within 20 feet of our back door. This is a storm that tore roofs off homes and had catastrophic loss of life. Cars were swept away in some cases on road by the high speed currents. 55,000 lost power. It was scary. We had no control whether the water would continue to rise and flood our home and trap us in our house.
Can you relate with any of these stories? In each case, I was calm and at peace in the midst of the storm. Another in my shoes could be freaked out and fully of worry, doubt, anger, and anxiety. What is the separator? I believe it comes down to these 3 observations.
Would you like to discuss any control issues you may have? Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available at the Smart Cleaning School website. Also, do you have questions for me? Book a free coaching call on my website!
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