I have a guru…and his name is Marc. To be fair, Marc didn’t asked to be my guru. I simply took the liberty of labeling him that after he wrapped up one of the most amazing 90-minute massages I’ve had to date.
Somewhere between the foot reflexology and working out the knots in my right calf, Marc hit me with an eerily on-point truth about myself.
“Your right side of your body is pretty tight,” he observed. “And I just feel like I need to tell you that…control is an illusion.”
Control is an illusion. The words sank in deep, pushing their way into my psyche almost as intensely as Marc’s fingers pushed their way into the muscles of my back.
“Oh my gosh,” I thought. “How does he know this? Who told this dude I was a control freak?”
At that point, I decided one of two things had happened. Either my muscles had ratted me out to my newly found therapist or Marc simply had a very intuitive, gut instinct about me.
Whatever the case, the reality of that statement rang true. The more I try to control things the more out of control and frustrated I feel. My ceaseless striving for things like a clean house, germ-free living, financial freedom…the list goes on…doesn’t bring me any closer to nirvana. Sure, those are all noble goals and certainly worthy of our effort. I believe strongly that we are to be good stewards of our health, our finances, our God-given gifts and talents, and our possessions—doing everything possible to nurture them and live responsibly. But the last time I checked, we live in a pretty imperfect world, where circumstances—often beyond our control—can creep in at any minute to disrupt our well-crafted plans.
A clean house upended by an unexpected blowout (aka poonami) from my two-year-old son. A fun day at school turns into a viral stomach nightmare at 2 a.m. An end-of-the-year deficit in our escrow and clogged mainline pipe of our house takes down our savings account in mere minutes.
The illusion of control is that we kid ourselves into believing it will bring us peace. The reality is it only brings us more pressure. Pressure to be perfect, to maintain a constant state of order, to be free of all chaos.
That is never going to happen this side of heaven.
Peace happens when we let go. When we learn to ride the waves of life instead of futilely trying to beat them back. When we simply accept the reality around us, respond with grace, and reset the checkerboard of our life when all the pieces have been knocked off.
Because the pieces will get knocked off. And when they do…I’ll take some deep breaths, get down on my knees to pray, and if finances, time, and the babysitting stars align…I’ll call my trusted guru again for another round of deep tissue therapy and impromptu advice.