Friday, January 2, 2015

She's Out of Control


I am a control freak.

The funny thing is, I wasn't really aware of it until I had a quiet little epiphany last week. Up till now, I would have said that I'm the girl who goes with the flow...and for the most part, that's still true. But as I spent some time on the last few days of December thinking about 2014, it suddenly occurred to me how many things I tried to manage this past year through sheer willpower: my grandmother's declining health and eventual passing, my book, sewing opportunities, my girls' education, the running of our home, the health and happiness of my family, and the prospect of big changes coming up in 2015. It's as if I thought I could make all these things turn out right if I just worried about them enough. Now I wonder why I wasted so much energy obsessing over things I couldn't really control...

It's the popular thing nowadays to choose a theme word for the coming year rather than make a list of resolutions. Alright, I thought last week, let's find a good word that means the opposite of "control." So I pulled up a thesaurus on my phone and found the following list of antonyms:

helplessness, powerlessness, relinquishment, renouncement, weakness

I have to admit, I was pretty stunned by these results. Every single one of those words, with the possible exception of "relinquishment" has a negative connotation. Is being "out of control" truly that unpopular in our society today? Do we really see the inability to manage everything in our lives as a sign of weakness?

The more I thought about this, the more the pillow in the picture above kept coming to mind. This scrappy pillow and I have had a bumpy relationship since I made it over a year and a half ago. On the one hand, I adore it -- those great scraps, all the colors, that dotty border. But at the same time, it drives me absolutely crazy. Nothing is in color order, some of my blocks don't match up perfectly, and a few prints are even upside down. How sad that my need for perfection sometimes robs me of the joy I could take in things like this which are still lovely, even with their little mistakes.

So this year, I've decided that I'm going to be out of control. I'm going to do the best I can to hold up my end when it comes to my responsibilities and then I'm going to let the rest go. Because honestly, any control I think I have is nothing more than an illusion anyway. I've even placed that scrappy little pillow in the entryway of my home so that I'll see it every morning when I come down the stairs. I need that daily reminder to accept my own weaknesses and imperfections so that I can be even more gracious with those that exist in the people and situations around me. And I'm really hoping that as I grow in this area, I'll be able to spend less time managing my life this year, and more time enjoying it.

Wishing you all an imperfectly wonderful 2015.

35 comments:

  1. Well I just typed a book of a comment and lost it. I wanted to say great post! I try to remember Matthew 6:34 when I get to worrying too much. Also surrender is a great word when you're feeling control freaky. My midwife gave me that word with my first baby and I think on it often. xx Erin

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  2. Ah yes, going with the flow...I've been trying to learn to do that for decades!

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  3. Brilliant post! The cushion is gorgeous and will serve as a great reminder of your intentions this year. I like surrender and think that's a good way to think about it. Happy 2015! Xx

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  4. Excellent post. Remember God uses our weaknesses for His great Strength! I just did a Bible study about this. So enjoy every moment of being out of control and have a fantastic 2015!

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  5. Love your post. As s perfectionist, I often suffer from this too. Hang on tight to your theme! I absolutely adore the pillow, by the way.

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  6. Love, love your post today! It really resonates me today and especially with the old me. Gratefully since retiring, I still like control in some areas of my life, but the new me can honestly say "It's not my problem" a whole lot more often and be done with it. You are a good person and you do good things. I have enjoyed your posts this past year. Happy New Year and be kind to yourself.

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  7. I love the word 'surrender' from Erin. I tend to worry way to much. I haven't come up with a word for the year as of yet. Erin, Can I steel surrender?

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  8. By the way, I love your pillow! But how do you know which prints are turned upside down? Can't you just turn your pillow and those prints will be turned right?! ;)

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  9. I was rather shocked by that list of antonyms too! Taken from a Christian point of view, what about humility? So often we look at it as a negative thing, but the simple act of admitting you can't do it all and need His help is a beautiful act of humility.

    Love your blog! Best wishes for a wonderful 2015.

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  10. If you're allowed three words, how about "Let it go".

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  11. Good thoughts here. Release would be a good word. It is an active thing, not a passive or submissive word and it seems to me you are releasing things you cannot control and releasing yourself from the burden of them too. Hope you find the balance in 2015.

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  12. Hi! I understand this post completely!! I love Sarah's word release. Good one. I love all your work, not least this lovely cushion. Surely to be practical in use (on a sofa, say) it's better not to have a 'right' way up? Therefore your prints are perfectly placed ; ) And as to matching up, as my Mum would have said, a blind man would be glad to see it! (In other words, any imperfection is almost impossible to see). Happy New Year! Jen

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  13. Força, querida. Muita força e fé!!! abraços cá de longe...

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  14. I love this post - you are very good at expressing your thoughts and feelings - and all the responses. This year I am going to try to 'not sweat the small stuff'. Though I think I like your phrase 'out of control' better!

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  15. Great post and I love your cushion too! I think we all get caught up in our perfectionist needs sometimes so letting some things go is a good mantra for the year ahead!

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  16. I smiled when I saw the title of your new book. Maybe you've just been on Control Overload for too long and need a break. It's so therapeutic to find the proper balance in your life for all things, and I think you're on the right track :)

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  17. Hi Heidi! Thank you for this post. It speaks to me so deeply and you express yourself so well. This year, I too, am going to stop, breathe, let go and enjoy more moments. Happy New Year!

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  18. There are other words that capture what you are considering, like lassiez faire, relax, calm, be, appreciate, participate, breathe, support, engage, - words about enjoying the world and life around you and participating in it without being responsible and trying to bend it to your will and thus being disappointed when you cannot. I hope you have a very good year.

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  19. Best wishes for a peaceful, laid back year. By the way, LOVE LOVE your pillow it is absolutely fantastic!!!
    I think you word for the year would actually be two: Hakuna Matada...no worries.

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  20. I guess that is Hakuna Matata...should have checked before I published but hey no worries!!!

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  21. Heidi, I think you should just be Free! Think of it that way!

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  22. Being "out of control" is always seen as weakness, but the way you have presented it I hope to be out of control in 2015. I am thank for the great reminder that only One has control and we shouldn't try, it will only frustrate us and those around us. Bless you and 2015!

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  23. For me, striving for perfection only causes me to freeze up and not get ANYTHING done. I think that's why my stash is so huge. I see a pattern or a tutorial, and think, "oh, that's gorgeous, I have to make that" and then the little voice says, "go ahead and try, but you know it won't be perfect, like you want it to be!" Of course, that darn little voice doesn't say a word until after I've purchased all of the fabric and notions for the project. I think Letting Go should be my phrase for the new year! Loved your refreshing post. 8-)

    xo Linda

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  24. nice post. It reminds me of a saying "Let go. Let GOD!" I wish you and all of us a wonderful year and that I learn how to "tidy", as in Marie Kondo's book.

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  25. I love it. Great post. I'm with you - I didn't realize what a control nut I was until I did some serious self-reflection. It's hard, letting go, but I like your theme for the year. Can't wait to see where it takes you!

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  26. Love your pillow! Don't be so hard on yourself, I always think each quilt I make teaches me valuable lessons. These lessons help me improve my skills and I enjoy every part. Once I learned to let go of my search for perfection I found my quilts started taking unexpected changes I started having fun. Always doing my best work and learning from and correcting mistakes helps me grow as a quilter.

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  27. I love your little pillow :-)

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  28. This is a fabulous post and I think it is wonderful that you are being honest with yourself. I took was quite a bit more of a perfect striving person that I have learned that I'm much happier when I'm able to create and finish instead of making sure it is 100% perfect. Best wishes for a happy 2015.

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  29. Great observations. The only control I have is my actions and what I say. It's certainly not much, but when I embraced that truth, my like became better. Acceptance is the key.

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  30. My goal is to keep this quote in mind: from the cartoon Adventure Time, "Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something." I am giving myself permission to suck. : )

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  32. What a wonderful post! I too worry about things and mostly it keeps me from daring to jump in and just do it. My word for 2015 is DARE.
    Esther

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