A couple of weeks ago I shared the Welcoming prayer by Thomas Keating. One of the lines in that prayer is I let go of my desire for power and control. These are hard words for all of us to adhere to as we love to be in control, even in the small things.
We want to control what the day holds, stick to our schedules and not allow anything to disrupt our well thought out plans. We want to control relationships, often attempting to manipulate friends and family so that we get what we want from them. When people don’t respond in the expected way we often get angry because we have lost control.
We want to control ourselves too. We exercise, eat, pray and work so that life can be good and follow certain patterns. Losing control is scary for us because it pushes us into the unknown, but it here that we come to know the unknowable God.
What if we allowed ourselves to let go and trusted in God instead? What if we admitted that we don’t know the answers and that we don’t always know what is best? What if we let go and let God? That is the path to freedom.
1. It frees us of unnecessary worries. The desire for control adds so many worries to our lives – worries about how we look, how people perceive us, what we should accomplish in a day. Many of us are driven to accomplish far more than we should because we are afraid of the consequences of losing control.
2. It frees us to be seen as we really are. We sometimes try to control a situation by telling people what we think they want to hear rather than what we really believe. We want them to like us, or think us important, or knowledgeable. To be ourselves we must be willing to lose control of what people think of us. Yet to honest people are more likely to like us when we are honest even when they don’t agree with what we say.
3. It frees you to live in the present moment rather than in the past or the future. Being in control blinds us to the beauty around us because we think we know what is going to happen. It proscribes our choices and limits our options. Letting go relaxes us, gives more space to the moment and allows us to see the world around us clearly.
4. It frees us to listen to the spirit of God. The moment we let go of our desire for control, we can allow the spirit to guide us but that is indeed a journey into the unknown.
5. It frees us to enjoy the unexpected surprises and spontaneity of life. When we let go, we are liberated from the rigidity of life as we think it should be and freed to experience life as it can be. It is like taking off a constricting corset and allowing ourselves to breathe deeply.