When You're Grasping for Control

July 18, 2017

I was wishing her ill-will. And I hated it. Someone had wronged us (at least that’s how I felt) and I wanted nothing more than to retaliate. I was frustrated and angry.

I knew it wasn’t right to have these thoughts—certainly wasn’t a common occurrence for me to feel this way— and yet I did. I couldn’t shake it. I walked around unable to think well of this person and their slight of us, coming up with all the things I’d like to say to her, ashamedly, all very unkind.

“I’m angry,” I whispered to my husband later that evening, “and I hate it. Hate what she’s done. Hate that I want to wish her ill-will. Hate that I have such awful thoughts about another human being. But I especially hate that I feel so helpless and out of control to do anything about the situation.”

And there was the heart of my anger, truly, I hate when things are beyond my ability to control and that, most often, expresses itself as anger.

It’s a familiar struggle in my life.

It rears it’s ugly head when my kids don’t obey me or my husband Kyle doesn’t take the advice I’ve offered.

Kyle, who is often much more even- keeled and level-headed than I, looked at me with love and sympathy in his eyes, “Honey,” he stated, “what good will it do to hold onto your anger? You can’t control it, you need to let it go.”

I knew that he was right. I’d already been remembering all the cliché statements about forgiveness and letting go we’ve all heard and know—how resentment and unforgiveness hurts us more than anyone else. Yea, yea. I know. I’m a therapist and have probably told others the same thing many times over.

And yet. It’s still hard to actually do. To stop the spin cycle of negative thoughts that swirl in my head and replace them with something else, but here goes:

I don’t need to be in control of everything because God already is. And he is a good God. Who loves me. Cares for me. Protects me. Defends me. Who believes the best about me and offers me grace every time I respond in anger instead of forgiveness. Who understands my own propensity for error and still welcomes me to walk with him. Who remains sovereign.

And as I allow myself to marinate on these things, I realize these are the same things that God offers to the woman who I am angry with, and I feel a slight shift in my feelings as my thoughts change.

Maybe not a complete letting go just yet, but I am moving away from anger, towards letting go.

Which is probably where I should have always been in the first place.

I don’t know what you’re facing today friends, but maybe you needed this reminder too. To trust. To forgive. To remember God’s deep, abiding love and care of you. His grace and mercy. To us and to those around us, even those we struggle to find ways to think good thoughts towards or love. Even those we would consider enemies.

To remember, daily (sometimes hourly), that God is in control and therefore, we do not need to be. We can let go.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 2:22-23


  1. I just love you and how you make me feel so normal! Thanks for your vulnerability and the reminder that I'm not in control. It seems I need that reminder on a regular basis!

    1. We all need this reminder from time to time friend! I'm glad it encouraged you :)