This Is Too Heavy, You Take It
Sometimes I like to imagine that I can control what other people do. I've seen enough movies about superbeings with psychic powers to fuel those imaginations, so it's a pretty easy daydream to muster.
Can you imagine what that would be like? Just to get everyone around you to do exactly what you wanted them to do. I'd never be stuck in traffic ever again. I'd always be first in line at the DMV.
And all of the technicians that give me three-hour windows to fix stuff at my house would narrow their arrival time down to the minute.
But as we all know, that kind of thing is impossible. We can get the challenging people in our lives to do some things the way we want them to, but in the end, they are beyond our control.
Sadly, far too many of us spend our lives trying to exert some control over others and even the situations we find ourselves in because of them.
Even though the moments when things go exactly as we hoped are few and far between, we keep at them.
We have just enough success in this to keep us returning to the well, but eventually, the well dries up, and we find ourselves standing there wondering what happened.
Here's the hard truth: None of us have that kind of control. No amount of reasoning, bullying, raging, manipulation, or outright begging will get us there.
The only tool in our toolbelt for this is to finally admit that we have no control over difficult people and trying situations, and no amount of effort will give it to us.
At that point, we can finally do what we should have done in the first place: Surrender those people and situations to God.
Author Catherine Chapman puts it like this:
As we realize we aren’t in control, but God is in control, we are more able to detach from people and situations that are unhealthy for us, and accept these the way they are. This doesn’t mean we quit caring. We care, but we don’t allow the situation to determine our thoughts, actions and feelings.
One of the prayers that I pray when I finally decide to follow my own advice on surrendering my desire to control difficult people and situations is a simple one that goes like this:
This is too heavy. You take it.
I've prayed that prayer more than a few times in my life, and still, I have to be reminded to pray it because I often feel like I can solve everything and everyone on my own.
Praying that prayer (and meaning it) is the first step toward freedom from unhealthy attachments that keep us from being the people we are meant to be. It also enables us to find reservoirs of grace and compassion for those we're struggling to be in a relationship with.
So before we fire off that frustrated email...
Or say things that we regret...
Before we bottle up our anger and resentment...
Or become paralyzed by feelings of betrayal...
Before we rail against our situation until we're spent...
Maybe we should find a way to pray that prayer and turn the person or persons we're struggling with and the situations we find ourselves in that leave us raw over to God.
Maybe we should admit that we might be at the end of our rope, which someone once said is actually God's address. At the end of our rope, God finds us and always offers to take the burden we're carrying.
May we pray that prayer and let go of it all. May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever. Amen.