Surrendering Control

A View from the Pit

caregiver frustated over lack of controlSurrendering control may be one of the hardest things any of us will ever do. I learned about this many years ago when I attended a women’s Christian retreat in the Rocky Mountains. The theme of the event, “A View from the Pit”, was inspired by the Bible story about Joseph, whose brothers chose to throw him in a deep pit with no hope of escape rather than murder him. You can imagine that Joseph felt confused, scared, and betrayed. His view looking up from the bottom of that pit must have been one of despair and hopelessness.

It was a perfect metaphor for my life at the time. I’d gone through a contentious divorce after a horrible 19-year marriage. I’d lost my job, and my three teenaged children were all upset, distraught and in full rebellion. As I looked at my life, I couldn’t imagine how anything positive or good was ever going to come out of my situation.

The last assignment of the weekend was to write a letter to God. Mine started with, “Dear God: Was all of this really necessary?” I cried as I ranted and raved on page after page. Finally, emotionally drained and feeling utterly defeated, I ended my letter with this: “Okay, fine. You win! Whatever you want me to do – wherever you want me to go – I’m willing. But for crying out loud, give me a little guidance. Show me what you want me to do!”

I realized later that my plea to God was actually a surrender. I finally accepted the fact that there were people, situations and events over which I had absolutely no control. I let go. God didn’t hand me a ladder, and I didn’t get out of the pit overnight. It was a gradual process.

When I reflect back on it now, I realize that although my pit looked like a hole from which there was no escape, it was actually a lot more like a pit in the center of a peach – a hard, rough stone. Once that hard outer shell was broken, the seed at the center was set free. Growth began and a new life emerged.

If you feel like your viewing the world from a bottom of a pit today, I hope you will think about surrendering control. If you can accept that you can’t fix everything and that you don’t have to climb out of it all by yourself, you might start to feel a little relief. It’s okay to ask for help – from God, from friends, from family, from professionals. If you can release the need to control things that are beyond your control, you might be surprised at how your view will start to change and and how many people will show up to help lift you up.