How I Went From Control Freak to Finding Freedom in Going with the Flow!
I can still remember sitting in my cozy movie theater seat with my salty, buttery popcorn making me very happy as I watched Elsa scale the snowy mountain on her way to her self-imposed ice prison.
Then it happened … she sang the song that pierced my soul. Yes … it really did.
In that moment, as silly as it may sound, I felt empowered to. Can you guess it?
Yep! Let it go. Let what go? All the control I was holding on to.
The truth is, sitting there I saw myself in the ice queen … too much if you ask me. I found myself wanting to be more like Anna – the happy sister.
But I couldn’t be like Anna until I stopped living like Elsa. In case you’re the only person left on the planet who hasn’t seen the movie Frozen I’ll elaborate briefly.
Elsa is the older sister who has magical powers to create snow and ice with the wave of her hand. And one night when they were little, her and her younger sister were playing happily in Elsa’s snow hills inside the castle.
Things quickly got out of control and Elsa accidentally struck Anna’s head with her ice blast and she fell ill. In short, Anna recovered and Elsa was outed and told to control and conceal her powers so no one else got hurt.
As the girls grew up, Elsa’s heart grew heavy and cold from the guilt and isolation.
Meanwhile Anna, though heartbroken by the isolation from her sister, maintained her fun and quirky nature. She always saw the upside and potential in every situation.
She never got rattled when things got tough, and instead rode the wave of challenges with spunk and bravery. Which she later used to make it all better! But I won’t spoil the ending, so moving right along. 😉
When Reality Sets in You Have a Choice to Make
I realized that being the ice queen wasn’t cute. My tendency to lean toward rigid control over everything wasn’t really the personality I was going for. So, thank you Disney for helping me see I needed to Let It Go! 😉
It wasn’t long after the movie that I felt God speak to me in my quiet time. He told me to declare the next 12 months my year to GO WITH THE FLOW.
Basically, He was leading me through the process of giving up my control freak ways once and for all. It wasn’t an easy process and I think I had to say, or better yet sing, “go with the flow” a million times throughout that entire year, but I got better.
I still have a desire to control things in my house, but I know when to step aside and allow others to lead, even my awesome kiddos. The point is, this go-with-the-flow mentality had a major impact on my joy level.
Lose Control, Gain Joy
I actually found peace in not having to be the one to figure it all out and execute it perfectly. I’ve learned how to not need all the details in order to move forward. When I throw up my hands and say, “I’m going with the flow,” I instantly feel more calm.
I didn’t at first. In the beginning, I’d feel like as soon as I stepped aside – we were headed for disaster. As if I was the only one smart enough to figure things out. But now, I see that even though I’m not controlling every moment, we're fine.
I’m now carrying less stressful baggage because when I believe I’m the only one who can handle or fix it – I am. When we take the control mindset, we single-handedly limit others' ability to fix things.
And in doing so, have to carry the responsibility and the stressful weight that comes with doing it all on our own.
Now, I stop and pray. I no longer play tug-o-war with my husband to show who’s stronger. I give feedback when it’s needed and I let him lead. The good thing is, he really values my feedback so I never had to fight for it anyway. Silly me.
There's Freedom in Losing Control
I'm now able to freely surrender to God’s plans for the day as well. I’m ready for what I’ve planned for, but when things change – I’m able to see that often times there’s a bigger plan in play. So, I can sit back and lose control in a really good way.
The first step to learning the art of going with the flow is to recognize we can't control everything. As a matter of fact, we shouldn’t want to. That's because we aren't very good at it! I know I’m not.
But I know someone who is - the God of this Universe who loves you so much. We must learn to surrender our desire to control everything and trust that if we let go, it'll be OK. God's got it!
Our desire to control is almost always rooted in fear. Fear that something bad will happen, it won’t work out like you thought it would, or your plans will simply fail. Fear always shows up on the scene to make us question our every move, robbing us of the freedom to be like carefree and brave like Anna.
Instead we end up like Elsa. Filled with regret, shame, and the need to control every function in our lives.
Learning to Trust Casts Out Fear
I got a real practical lesson in letting go when I went rock climbing with my family one day at an indoor facility. Let's just say it wasn't my thing.
I was super excited to try it, and did fairly well on the way up. But once it was time to come down, I locked up in fear! I was supposed to lean back and bounce myself down the wall. But what did I do? I climbed ALL the way down - the HARD way.
Why? Because I couldn't let go. I was afraid of crashing to the ground. I didn’t trust that the rope would hold me. I pictured myself plummeting to the ground in front of all those people and my children.
So, I did what I knew. I controlled the situation, but in the process I looked awkward and used 10 times more strength and effort. I never got to feel the freedom of lightly bouncing to my beautiful finish.
Meanwhile, my 6-year-old daughter was flying up and down the wall with ease! No problems for her!
What are you afraid of?
What are you holding back on?
What freedom are you missing out on?
Are you afraid of failing, trusting the wrong person, or having everything go wrong because you didn't control it?
I want you to take a moment and do something. No, not for me. For you.
Get out a piece of paper and write out your greatest fear and your strategy for facing it head on!
Seriously! That's your assignment. If you want to make progress, that is. We must put in the work to make positive changes in our lives.
There's something else I want you to do. Put a comment below and make a public declaration if you've decided to also go with the flow this year. There's power in numbers, so be brave and show all the other brave woman reading this post that they're not alone.
Now, I just have one final thought. With all this talk about "losing" control and going with the flow, that doesn't mean just let your life float by and see where it ends up. Not at all!
You can take control. Control of the right things. Like your decisions, plans, and choices in life.
Floating through life isn't a great strategy. You can let go of all the foolishness and take control of the life and year you really want to experience.
Hi! I'm Brandi Michel and, not too long ago, I was that frazzled, tired, and overwhelmed mom. Having a family has ALWAYS been my dream, but when it happened - I didn't know how to actually enjoy my blessing of having a family.
That is, until I learned how to tap into a grace that allows me to live in the beautiful, mundane, and even sometimes crazy moments of life. To not just love and take care of my family but to be truly present and enjoy them, too. The goal of Family Felicity is to help you do the same!
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