“Can I come for a play date?” I asked. My friend teaches craft classes and is overflowing with talent and creativity.
I told her a couple of things I’d like to try and said she could choose which one we’d work on. We set a date for the following week and agreed I’d wait until I arrived to find out what I’d be creating.
Since I have complete trust in my friend, I had no concerns about her giving me a project I wouldn’t enjoy.
When I arrived, my work space contained a large white tile, several small bottles of coloured liquid, two bottles of clear liquid, and a few other assorted items.
I was told I’d be working with alcohol ink. After a lesson on how to use it, I was set free to experiment before choosing what my final project would be.
The first thing I discovered was a lack of control over the designs made by the ink. I couldn’t set out to paint a specific item or scene. Once I made peace with that, I was free to explore the possibilities. The different tools for blowing the ink made varying patterns. The effects created were fascinating.
Somehow, knowing I could change the design by what Iiquid I next placed on the tile gave me the confidence to embrace spontaneous creativity. The happy little accidents gave me more pleasure than if I’d had complete control over the outcome.
I had always thought my life ran better when I had control. Giving it up was very uncomfortable for me. Maybe I had to look at control from another perspective.
My experience in playing with alcohol ink showed me that too much control stifles creativity. The ability to be flexible and go with the flow, can serve me well. This is true not only in artistic endeavors, but also in life.
I got more than I bargained for in this play date. I wonder what I’ll learn in the next one!
Have you ever given up total control of something important to you? Just handed it over to someone else and let them make all the decision on your behalf?
My husband and I had just purchased a two-bedroom apartment. We wanted to replace the flooring and refresh the paint before moving in and invited our son and daughter-in-law to give us their input. They have built, renovated, designed and decorated several spaces and we value their opinions.
Although we didn’t get possession for another two weeks, the unit was vacant and arrangements were made for us to go in and take some measurements. Based on previous conversations, our daughter-in-law brought a few flooring samples and paint colours for us to see.
Then we were asked an interesting question. Our son, Chris, said, “I have a proposal for you. Would you be willing to turn the keys over to us on possession day and let us take care of getting the work done? Jackie and I have some ideas on how to make this space work well for you and you could have some rest time while we do it.”
“This sounds like one of those home makeover shows we watch on TV,” I replied.
The decisions we’d had to make for downsizing had been stressful and I was ready to give up the need for making more. But, how could we have no involvement in what our new home would look like?
Chris and Jackie asked us lots of questions, took room measurements and lots of “before” pictures. We made one final decision and gave total control to our kids. Stay tuned for an update!!
In the living room of my childhood home sat a burgundy coloured Lazy Boy chair. The chair was upholstered in Naugahyde, a vinyl coated fabric that looked like leather. It was unlike any other piece of furniture in the room.
This special chair belonged to my father. As a child, I enjoyed the smooth texture and imposing size of this chair. I felt very grown up sitting in it. I knew, however, that it was not my chair and would vacate it in a hurry if I heard my father drawing near.
As I was reminiscing about this an even more important chair came to mind. It was the chair or throne of my heavenly father. I know this is not my place to sit but sometimes I can’t resist the urge to picture myself there. From this lofty perch, I attempt to rule my life. After all, don’t I know what’s best for me?
The simple answer to that question is, “No.” God is the one who knows the beginning from the end. He knows the plans that have been laid out for my life and the best way to achieve them. I tend to make a mess of things when I think I can handle life on my own. Fortunately, God can turn my mistakes into good – but only if I hand control back to him. These times serve as a good reminder that I am not God and shouldn’t be climbing up into his chair.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
“My hair is the bane of my existence,” my friend said. “I can never get it to look like I want it to.”
She has straight hair and wants to add some curl to it. I, on the other hand, have spent a lifetime attempting to straighten my natural curls.
We discussed that this is about more than wanting what we don’t have. For both of us, this is a sign of our need for control. Controlling my hair is a small step in controlling my life. If my hair falls into place I have more confidence other parts of my life will do the same.
What I fail to remember is that my plan is not always the best one. God has a much better plan for my life than anything I can imagine.
Giving up control and stepping out in faith has been a challenge. Uncertain circumstances are difficult for me. I want to know the next steps to take and what the outcome will be. Anxious thoughts can hold me back.
My trust in God is what can calm my fears. When I let go of my futile attempts to controlling my life I am more peaceful. I know that he is able to handle every aspect of my life. When my confidence is in God, even a bad hair day can’t stop me!
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
In the early morning hours, we drove to an airport shuttle service. We entered the lot and followed another vehicle to the appointed row. After parking and unloading our luggage we walked stand by the couple from the other car.
The husband was removing the luggage and the wife paced anxiously behind him. We said, “Good Morning,” to them and the only response came from her. She said, “We’re running late. I hope we don’t miss our flight.”
The shuttle bus slowly worked its way down our row, picking up groups of people along the way. The woman became more agitated, constantly muttering about missing the flight.
A few more such comments were made as she took her seat on the bus. Just before we exited the lot, she realized that her purse wasn’t with her. Calling out to the driver, she said she had left her purse in the car and we needed to go back. The driver obliged but of course this delayed all of us in getting to the airport.
We were flying on different airlines so don’t know if she ended up missing her flight. What I do know is that she reminded me of a very important lesson.
It serves no purpose to worry about things I have no control over. What I need to do is to take care of the small details that are within my control. In this way I will cause less stress not only in my own life but also in those around me. When I do my part and then leave the rest up to God, life runs much smoother.
A wise man once told me, “It’s no use laying awake at night worrying about your problems. God’s up anyway so give them to him.” This advice has served me well. It is amazing how much better I feel when I pray and leave the things out of my control in the hands of my heavenly father.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Luke 12:25 NIV