Friday, December 11, 2009

Loosing Control

I knew I had to get back into an exercise routine when I decided to leave the workforce. I wish I could say it was because I value the discipline of it or something notable and noble. But, sadly, it’s because my middle age spread is quickly gaining ground! If I plan to live another 50 years, I better get this body back in shape for the ride, or at least keep it up and running.

I muddle through deciding what to wear, what to do and how long I should do it. I finally arrive at the gym ready to go. One of the decisions I make for this new beginning is to get back into my Tony Robbins “Get the Edge” and “Personal Power” CDs. Tony will help me overcome any fears I have concerning leaving my regular paycheck and dealing with the uncertainties that lie ahead.

I fumble through the buttons and answer all the questions on the treadmill.

Speed? Dunno, 3.5, I guess.
Incline? Sure. 6 sounds like a good round number. Not too little, not too much.
Age? Now, hold on a minute. When did these machines start needing that? Okay. I’ll play. 48. (Yes, that’s my real age!)
Weight? No way! This has gone too far. I’m not opposed to entering my real age, but my real weight is something all together, well, um . . . sacred. I look around to see if anyone is watching (I truly doubt anyone is really interested, but I look anyway just to make sure). I’m not brave enough to post it here either. Just suffice it to say that I entered the correct amount! Really.
I begin warming up the conveyor belt and I listen to Tony’s voice encouraging me to get going, telling me that “All I need is within me now!” All the faith, certainty, love, joy, passion and happiness are within me NOW! But there is one phrase that suddenly strikes me as profound. “What’s wrong is always available . . . and so is what’s right.”

Tony has told me this over an over before, but today I stop in my tracks right then and there on the treadmill and let it sink in. “What’s wrong is always available . . . and so is what’s right.”

Hmmmmmmm. I have focused on what’s wrong for so long, would I recognize what is right if I saw it? Am I doing the right thing by going home? Am I really going home to write? Am I really going home to take care of my family? Am I really going to be okay with that?

I struggle with the concept of everything being within me and wonder if I have made the right decision to quit work. Why do I re-visit this decision so often? I know the answer. I am where I am supposed to be. Yet, my mind questions this decision without hesitation and thoughts quickly try to undermine and undo everything I've accomplished so far.

Accomplishments. I’ve come to realize that there are no accomplishments I have achieved on my own. I didn’t do any of it by myself (no matter how much of the 60s and 70s women’s lib brainwashing I succumbed to in my youth – Let the old Enjoli commercial play in the background here – “I can bring home the bacon, . . .  fry it up in a pan, . . . and never, never, never let you forget you're a man! 'Cause I'm a woman! . . . ).

God has been right there all along -- lifting me up, holding my hand and many times literally holding me up and holding me together, in spite of myself and in spite of decisions I have made along the way.

So many times, though, I see God as this external, unreachable force and He’s there only to help me out when I’m in a jam. Kinda like the “God is my co-pilot” story. I read a bumper sticker somewhere or heard it in Sunday School as a kid, that went something like: “God is my co-pilot.” I thought it was a pretty clever concept, but later I learned that putting God in the co-pilot's seat is dangerous business.

If I consider God as my co-pilot, that means I am in control and God is there to “fill in” or to take the wheel when I’m not available. I have considered God my co-pilot most of my life. I’ve put Him in a position to approve my decisions, and of course, to rescue me when I take the wrong turn, or when I land in the ditch or run out of gas.

I am all-too-familiar with sitting in the passenger seat right now while my 15-year-old son is learning to drive. I know first hand now, that the co-pilot seat doesn’t allow me much control or ability to affect much on the driver! My son is in control of that vehicle – for better or worse – and many times I am terrified as he comes close to the edge of the road or doesn’t slow down for the curve coming up. My life flashes before me 3 times before we even get a mile down the road!

But why is so hard for me to allow God to drive? I’ve only been practicing being the co-pilot for about 10 years. (I know, you’ve done the math: I’m 48, I grew up knowing who God is from the time I was practically born and I’ve only been trying to let God drive for 10 years!) I’m a hard-headed East Texas girl and I’ve always thought that God could do amazing things with me if I’d just get out of the way. Somehow I keep mucking up His plans, yet He keeps trying! I still don’t always get out of the way these days, but I recognize my need for control and try to give it up sooner, at least!

Nonetheless, I am working on turning loose of control and l have been letting God drive since 1999, a time when my faith brought me to a place where I would serve Him out of joy, rather than duty. So that brings me to my dilemma. If God is driving, how do I reconcile “All that I need is within me?” I’m working on letting go of the control and let God drive. “All that I need is within me” sounds like taking control back and sitting in the driver’s seat again.

I have to search, but find where John tells us in 1 John 3:34b that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. “And by this we know that He [Christ] abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (NKJV).

Oh yeah. God dwells within me, not somewhere up in heaven trillions of miles away as I mentally imagine Him. Not some place far away that takes time to transcend time and space, but within. Within reach. Within me.

As a believer, God is within me, and provides all the love I need now! All the faith, certainty, joy, passion and happiness, is right there, waiting. Not because of me, but because of Him and who He is. And not just for someone else. Not for someone who might be better. Not for me when I get it together. Not when I make enough money. Not when I get my house all together. Now. Right here as I stand here in sweats, struggling to put that middle age spread farther behind me. Right here as I try to remain calm in the passenger seat of life and with a 15-year-old learning to drive. Right here as I approach 50 at the speed of light. Right here as I begin making my home my dwelling for my family. Now.

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