Letting Go of Control

Anxiety… control… two very common threads that we as women deal with.  They wreck our hearts, our minds, and our health.  What does it take to break the vicious cycle and not allow them to wreak havoc in our lives?

In my case, it was pneumonia and a three day stay in the hospital.

God used pneumonia to force me to be still so He could reveal some things to me that I could not see.  He allowed me to be physically unable to breathe, but emotionally I had not truly been breathing for at least ten years.

letting go of control

Every day for the past ten years, my anxiety and my need for control had ruled my life.  There was hardly a minute in my day that I wasn’t consumed with anxiety. It colored how I made all decisions.  The anxiety ruled.

One of the areas where anxiety controlled the most was money.  I was in charge of the finances in our household; and though they provided hundreds of hours of stress, I could not let go and allow my husband to help me with, or even take over the finances because I had anxiety about what that might mean.

As a result, I did everything based on how it affected us financially. I always wondered why money was such a big deal to me, since I’m not a materialistic person, and I eventually learned that money wasn’t the problem: the problem was needing to control the money.  My anxious thoughts about our finances made me feel out of control; so in my mind, if I could control my money, I could control my life.

My anxious thoughts also controlled my marriage.  My husband has never given me any indication of wanting to leave or divorce me, yet that was my biggest fear.  My most frequently-occurring nightmare involved my husband leaving.

In my mind, I had determined that if I did not do a good job with the finances, he would divorce me.  So instead of letting him do the finances, I did them and kept things covered, because I knew that we didn’t always have enough money to pay all our bills.  That is what consumed my anxious thoughts – the constant struggle of figuring out which Peter I would rob to pay Paul.  It occupied my mind full-time.

I never wanted to have to say, “No, we don’t have the money,” to my husband when he would ask to go out to eat.  So, instead, I’d allow us to go out and then worry, fret and work my tail off to make up the difference. This made for an exhausting cycle of always working harder and harder to make more money; and there was never enough, so I never stopped.

On top of my anxieties over finances and my marriage, I also allowed the anxious thoughts to invade my parenting.  I wanted my children to be happy; in order to do so, I spoiled them.  I did everything for them, from fixing drinks to working even harder so I could buy them the latest desires of their little hearts.

This had me physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, unable to breathe -just like pneumonia that landed me in the hospital.  And what was it that had actually landed me there?  My anxious thoughts.  I was so worn out from worry that my body could no longer fight to stay healthy.

I had been so consumed with taking care of everything and everyone else, trying to keep it all from falling down around me, that I hadn’t taken care of myself.  This included not having health insurance. I hadn’t had health insurance since my son was born 9 years before, so I avoided the doctor (and the dreaded doctor bill!) like the plague.  Because of my constant anxiety over finances, I didn’t think I could afford health insurance; so I did without, choosing instead to work hard to pay for private school and other things for my children.

I wore myself out, literally.

Letting go of control . . ..

What does it take?

For me, it took God literally knocking the breath out of me.  The day I was released from the hospital I could breathe again, both physically and emotionally.  I handed my husband the finances, without exceptions, chains or questions.  He gets to make all those decisions. It is out of my control.

Surprisingly, though, I feel more in control of my life now – because now, I can actually live it.  I can live in the moment instead of always mentally making money calculations in my brain, or checking my bank account balance to see if we are in danger of overdraft, which was always my fear.

During that hospital stay, I had time to think; and in the quiet, God was able to deal with my anxious heart.  He revealed to me that my anxiety had been holding me captive in an emotional jail, and He broke chains that I had put on myself for years.

My problem wasn’t being money hungry; my problem was that I desperately wanted to keep my husband happy.  Why?  Because my biggest fear was his leaving me, although, again, he had never given me any reason to feel this way.

As I thought further, I realized that this stemmed back to my childhood fears of being left alone.  In the third grade, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks.  The trigger? The fear of my momma leaving me somewhere.  Every time she left, regardless of where it was, I feared that she would not come back and get me.

And yet, my momma, just like my husband, had never given me any reason to believe that she would ever leave me.  One thing is for sure, I know someone who will never leave us or forsake us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do you struggle with anxiety?  What would it take to make you let go?


16 thoughts on “Letting Go of Control”

  1. I love this. I also fear losing my hubby either through divorce death or affairs 🙈but have no reason for this fear. I love how God showed you that first memory of fearing your mom will leave but never did. I love how God shows us the root so he can bring healing. Trusting God with my treasure has helped me to overcome these fears and also let go of my need for control. Such a great post

    1. Thank you Allie, it literally took YEARS for me to come to the realization that the two things were connected. God broke the chains though and I am grateful.

  2. Alyssa, thank you for sharing from your heart with such gut-wrenching honesty. I have always battled with control as well, and God is always teaching me how to let go. I’m a poor learner, but He is a patient and faithful teacher. So thankful for HIm. Praying that we both experience the peace and calm He promises as we rest in Him.

  3. God has taught me some pretty amazing things in those moments of forced rest. While I don’t enjoy the process, I’m so grateful that God goes to great lengths to teach us. I’ve gained a lot of control with anxiety by first not feeling ashamed of it. Often, I get anxious because I care so much about something that I want it to be done well or turn out right. Trusting God with the results helps me to let go of the reigns. Thank you for your encouragement and wise reminders today.

  4. I didn’t realize anxiety was that big of an issue for me until I broke my elbow while on family bike-ride. I was being overly concerned and super worried that my daughter (who just learned to ride her bike) would fall and get hurt. She fell and got minor scrapes and I slammed on my breaks and flipped over my bike. Every since that day, God has been changing me and I’m learning how to release control and trust him with my fears.

  5. Alyssa- Great post! I suffer from anxiety and I was nodding my head in agreement with many of your thoughts. God put me on my back a few years ago also because I was grasping and striving.
    He is working in me!
    Visiting from #FreshMarketFriday

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart. I learned many years ago that God will bring me to my knees so the only place I can look is up, and focus on Him. My years spent controlling was due to a lack of control I had in my life as a child. I thought if I could control my surroundings, I would be safe. It took years to understand the impact my controlling behavior had on my family and friends. It’s not always easy to share our vulnerabilities but it is so healing. I am thankful for God’s grace and His unconditional love.

  7. I just know in my heart of hearts that God wanted me to read your post today. Sometimes the money and the lack thereof can consume my thoughts. I relate on so many levels with the words you say because I am in control of our family’s finances as well. See, I say that…but it’s not really that I’m in control, He is. They aren’t even our finances, they are His. He has given me stewardship over them and up to this point it hasn’t been an easy road. This past year God has had me re-evaluate where our money goes. I can see Him moving and how this has caused me to trust Him instead of gripping onto my false sense of securities. Thank you for sharing at Salt & Light!

  8. Alyssa, this is mighty powerful words. Thank you for being transparent and vulnerable.

    Yes, I struggle with anxiety and panic. I think similarly to what you mentioned about controlling finances, etc. God helped me overcome the finances part. However, I struggle with trust and feeling secure in my marriage, because, in 2009, my husband was very near to walking away from our marriage. God had other plans and whooped up on my husband and set him straight. However, my trust is still not strong.

    I pray for trust and to lost the controlling nature.

  9. Pingback: Friends with Jesus Bible Journaling Course - Alyssa Avant, Christian Author, Speaker and Bible Teacher

  10. Pingback: Best Resources for Anxiety - Alyssa Avant, Christian Author and Speaker

  11. Pingback: The Glorification of Busy Equals Stress - Alyssa Avant, Christian Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.