Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Giving Up Control

Okay, I admit it...I am a control freak with a little bit of OCD sprinkled on top. I am a list maker. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can check something off my list as done! I think that I need a plan for everything in my life, and if things don't go as planned it makes me a little crazy! (My husband would say a lot crazy!)

This is one of those times in my life where things are not necessarily going as planned. I will be 35 this year, and in the map of my life there are certain places I thought I would be by this time. Up until 2 years ago I was well on my way in my career goals, and things seemed to be going pretty well. Then everything fell apart.

To give you a little history, I started working in telecommunications as a repair operator making $6.21 an hour in 1994. My daughter turned 1 year old, 2 weeks after I started. I married very young, and to make ends meet we've always been a 2 income family. When I started working I really didn't have a goal in mind. I just knew that I had to work so we could pay the bills. A little hard work goes a long way though! I've always been ambitious. I always wanted to be the best at anything that I tried to do. I dedicated a lot of time to my career and therefore I worked my way up the corporate ladder until I left the industry in 2003 making over $100,000 a year.

As I look back I realize I let my career goals overshadow the goals God had for me. In some ways I had allowed my career to become an idol. I rationalized being a workaholic by telling myself, the more money I bring to the family then the less time Charlie has to work, which will result in him having more time to devote to his youth ministry. I didn't realize at that time that by me taking control of our lives that I was trying to take over Charlie's role as head of our home. Of course, the more money I made the more influence I thought I should have over the financial decisions being made in our home. After a while my identity became entwined with my career. When I left the career that I had built for over 12 years I floundered like a fish out of water trying to find my identity.

Sometimes I feel like in the past 2 years I've went back through Kindergarten with God. He is teaching me (again) that he is in control of my life. When I lost my job, I thought I was being punished by God for something. I guess in a way I was. For several years, I had grown weary of my job, and God had been trying to tell me that I should leave the company I was with, but I just wasn't listening. I thought I knew best! God ruthlessly cut out the thing that had become idolatrous in my life. I remember learning as a child the commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me!" God, in His great love and mercy, is realigning my values with His.

For the last 2 years, God has been trying to teach me to "Let go, and let God". I still have to work outside the home. I have been blessed to be able to work in a business that my father owns, but from time to time I feel like I need more. I bring home about 1/4 of what I did when I worked in telecommunications, and sometimes I feel that is not good enough. I feel like I am not able to give my family the things that I'd like to give them. Which brings me back to the goals I thought I would have attained by now! Not just career goals, but financial goals. I guess in my mind those go hand in hand. Without making more money I am unable to payoff some of the things I would like to payoff. As the price of everything increases, I feel like I need to contribute more.

I have recently thought of trying to find another job. Something where I could make a little more money. We've barely been making ends meet over the last 2 years, and I also thought I would have more of a feeling of worth. I again rationalize this by telling myself "I'll be helping Charlie more!" I have discussed my feelings of ineptitude with Charlie, and he encouraged me to seek out other opportunities. Of course, being the control freak that I am I probably took this a little to far. Charlie was thinking I could sell things on Ebay or Craigslist or maybe do a little catering. I am thinking I need to have a "CAREER" again. To make a long story short, yesterday I went on an interview. As I sat there, answering all the questions, I began to think. "Who is in control? God or Me?"

I walked out of that interview thinking, "What am I doing? Why can't I just trust in God to take care of us?" I didn't get much sleep last night. I laid in bed thinking and praying. Today I remember, God has a purpose and a plan for my life. He knows who I truly am. Following him is about living out his plan for my life, instead of me trying to determine the direction I should take.

Have you ever wanted something so badly in your life, yet when you received it, you realized that it didn't make you happy? That house you wanted to move into so badly, that person you wanted to date, that achievement you thought would bring success, that child you longed to have—they all brought you momentary happiness, but they didn’t fulfill you as you had hoped, or bring you the significance you longed for. I was that way with my career.

I am learning slowly that whenever I find myself begging God for something, with some whining thrown in for good measure, I have to step back and ask myself the question: But will it make me happy? I know that whatever “it” is, it doesn’t have the power to bring me lasting happiness—that deep peace & joy that only God can bring. I may have a flash of happiness, only to lose it mere moments later. I am learning slowly to push aside these momentary longings and seek God instead. To tell Him, “Here’s what I think I want, but I trust You to do what’s best for me.”

As I grow in Grace, I am still learning about God's truth, love and mercy. I am so thankful that He doesn't get impatient with me.

My verse for the day is:

Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God...

My song for the day is:

Give up and let Jesus take over and he'll make a way for you!


The Happy Housewife said...

Wow- what a post. I can't relate too much because I have always been a stay at home mom, but I see your point. I struggle with contentment in other areas of my life. I pray that you will listen to God's word, I'm reminding of the verse,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

btw- I hope your purse making goes well, let me know how it turns out!

Valerie said...

This is an awesome post. As you know I sell on ebay for extra money, but recently the Lord is telling me that I need to focus more at home. Home is where my heart is. This week I have been doing that. Randy came home and said this was his dream. The house immaculate, the yard done, food on the table. He said this means more than money to him. What a compliment. I will still do ebay but not on the scale that I have been doing it. Thank you for reminding me to listen to that still small voice. I am so blessed.

Alice Grace said...

You have strength to be able to overcome your desire to do more for your family financially, yet put it aside to please God, which is our ultimate goal, those of us who serve Him. I admire your willpower. God will make a way so that you can be in His will and all the rest will follow.

Stephanie said...

What an awesome post. I struggle every day because I want to be a SAHM. My husband stays home so I know the children are in good hands but I still pray every night for God to let me be the one at home. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.