Friday, September 30, 2011
To take my hands off the steering wheel!
Life has been fairly face-paced with lots of unusual activity happening recently. And I've been battling the recurrence of a physical problem they tell me is a chronic, long-term thing which will always recur when I'm under pressure with depleted adrenal glands. I'm going to choose not to believe that. With God's help, I'll completely recover. I'm a lot better now than I have been for a few weeks, but during those weeks of suffering, I stumbled across a source which supposedly has spiritual, underlying meanings for different physical conditions. Mine was said to be partly due to fear of letting go.
My first thought was that this couldn't possibly be right in my case. But when I asked my husband, he said, "You're one of the biggest control freaks I know!"
No way! He has to be wrong. Control freaks are the people we all recognise on sit-coms, who like to organize other people's lives and boss them around; or super perfectionists. Anyone who knows me or has visited my home will surely know that I have more of a gentle, haphazard approach. What's this control freak thing?
I couldn't dismiss it without more thought. One night last week, I found myself rolling into bed with the usual array of thoughts chasing each other through my mind. Will Logan receive the student card I posted him in time to have ID to get him home from Cairns? (That's another story. All worked out well). How will my book fare in the CALEB prize it's been shortlisted for? (I'm happy to say it's now a finalist). It's only Monday, we're out of money and there won't be any more until Friday (not the first time that's happened, and we always manage). How will I go with the workshops I'll be presenting at the coming Writer's Fairs?
Hey, hold on! I caught myself. Indeed there is more than one type of control freak. I'm the sort who has always worried everything like a dog gnawing a bone. I've done it so often that it's become normal, without any consciousness involved. Way back when I was a little girl, my dad always went for a few drinks with friends after work on Friday nights. It was his regular tradition, but I used to lie awake in bed waiting for him to come home, desperately certain that he shouldn't be so late, while images of car wrecks and squealing ambulance sirens filled my imagination. Whenever I heard the sound of our car arriving in the carport, relief would flood my veins and I'd decide I could go to sleep at last.
One another occasion, a sweet little white kitten of mine was run over by a car and killed while I was away on a school camp. From then on, I found it hard to trust my family to care for any other pet and hovered anxiously over them. I think my subconscious must have latched onto the idea that all my anxiety was partly responsible for keeping my dad and my pets safe from harm. It did seem to be a cause and effect relationship. I'd worry, they'd come through fine, therefore worry was working. I think that, without knowing, I carried this warped way of thinking right into adulthood.
In fact, a few years ago, I experienced a nightmare in which I was speeding around the curves of the Adelaide Hills' South Eastern Freeway in the dark while my three children sat in the back. I had no visibility and the brakes had stopped working. All I could do was try to remember where all the sudden curves and sheer cliffs were. To my credit, I woke up with my heart pumping hard, feeling more concerned for the kids than I was for myself in the dream. It doesn't take a genius to figure out my state of mind.
But I was a Christian. For years I sincerely believed I'd committed everything to God in prayer. But had I really? I'd gone through the motions, but perhaps I'd been more like the little girl who prayed for her seedlings to grow, then kept uprooting them to check. To use another analogy, I asked God to drive and then wouldn't move over and release my grip from the steering wheel. Now it began to make more sense that I should succomb to a condition related to not letting go.
How good it was to realise that and make a solid decision not to. I rolled over, really did trust God to work it all out OK, and enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep. And of course everything is turning out exactly as it should. I could honestly feel stress seeping out of my cells, and the more I consciously remind myself to take my hands off the steering wheel, the more I expect the peace and well-being to continue.
All future symptoms of my condition will surely leave when the underlying angst which set them up has been dismantled. They'll have no choice.