Control, that is. I like being in control. I want to be in control all the time. I am a perfectionist partially because it gives me the illusion of control. If I can cultivate the image that I’m a good employee, good friend, good Christian, good whatever, then maybe I am in control of my life. If I can keep myself under control, manage my emotions, always stay calm and rational, then maybe I am actually in control.
My cringe-worthy moments are pretty few and far between. I’m not a risk-taker, except in controlled environments (like skydiving, for example). I keep my mouth shut too often mostly because I’m afraid of saying something stupid or saying something that other people will disagree with or get mad at. I don’t like to make waves or create conflict. Most people think of me as even-keeled, except those few people who get freak out emails or phone calls from me at random times when I’m in the middle of an emotional crisis or I’ve done something entirely too cringe-worthy for my liking.
Because this control I’ve tried so hard to maintain? It’s nothing but an illusion, a lie. I’m not a calm or rational person, at least not when it comes to my own life (I do, however, give very calm and rational advice to others). I may not let other people in on my secret, but I sometimes act impulsively, I take things too personally, I make decisions out of emotion. I feel things deeply, and I’m intensely loyal (unless you totally screw me over, and then I give you evil nicknames—this only applies to those with a y chromosome). And sometimes in my irrationality, I do stupid, cringe-worthy things. I let myself get caught up in a feeling, a longing, a hurt, and I make a rash decision that I immediately regret but can’t take back.
But I have to ask myself, what’s the alternative? Do I really want to be a person who’s in control all the time? Do I really want to be someone who never makes mistakes because she never takes risks? A person who’s never hurt because she never lets herself truly love anyone? As C.S. Lewis writes, the only place outside of heaven where a heart can be safe from the dangers of love…is hell. I don’t want to live in a hell on earth because I’m scared of being hurt. My desire for control leads me to put up walls, to shut people out, to keep people from getting too close and finding out the truth about me. I’ve lived like that for far too long.
In truth, I would rather dance inside the flames and really live this one life I’ve been given than never risk the pain that might come from letting go (thank you, Garth).
I want to learn to laugh at myself, to do something stupid, regret it, learn from it, and move on, realizing that MY WORLD DID NOT END just because I’m an idiot sometimes. I live in freedom under the sovereign hand of God who made me and all of my quirks and my complicated heart, and NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.
So to all of my cringe-worthy moments, I now say, so what? You haven’t destroyed me yet, and you never will J Bring it on.
P.S.: This month I'm wearing one dress to raise awareness about sex trafficking--many girls who are trapped in the sex trade have only one dress to wear. I'm blogging about it at one-dress.blogspot.com. Check it out!