I feel like I'm on a roller coaster that's moving faster than I can handle.
With just a few weeks left of my sophomore year, I'm very aware of how quickly time is flying by. Between the end-of-year commitments and summer plans and questions about the future, my life feels like it's speeding up more than ever before.
And so just as I would do on an actual roller coaster - I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and hold on as tight as I possibly can. It's not that I'm literally holding on to a safety bar in front of me, but rather, I hold on to situations and people and the way I think things are supposed to turn out.
When life moves fast, I make desperate attempts to feel in control.
The end of the school year brings forth a heightened sense of stress about my future in particular. As my college experience is nearly halfway over, I'm faced with questions about who I want to be and what kind of impact I want to leave. I'm coming to terms with a lot of "I don't knows" and the process isn't as simple as I'd like it to be.
And so, instead of enjoying the ride of life these past few months, I've been grasping for a sense of stability to combat the whiplash.
I close my eyes and I miss out on the ways God is working in my life today. I hold my breath and I lose my ability to relax. I cling to things too tightly, trying to plan every detail and manipulate every outcome...and suddenly, I'm so far from the life God wants me to experience.
I don't think this is how we were made to live, even when life accelerates to uncomfortable speeds. It's funny how, when we feel like we're losing control, our inclination is to hold on even tighter. If I were on a roller coaster, I'd clench the safety bar till my knuckles turned white. In my life, I notice this craving for control when I stress about friendships, and internships, and everything in between. Every single time I've tried this tactic, my situations haven't worked out how I planned.
I fought this battle, I spun in this cycle, for too long. And so one day, feeling defeated and drained from my human efforts to govern my increasingly complex life, I decided to try letting go a little. I'd convinced myself that control was the only way to feel safe amidst the chaos.
But deep down, I know that this life isn't meant to be managed by me. I believe God calls me to enjoy this wild and precious ride, to laugh and feel the breeze in my hair and open my eyes to where He has placed me.
I realized that my grip on this metaphorical safety bar wouldn't change how fast I moved, or where I ended up. The way I see it, God already has a plan for my time here, and so it's up to me to decide if I actually want to enjoy this gift of life or not.
My efforts to control my life won't stop God's will from being done. And, I think that's a beautiful thing. And so instead of trying to be the director of my life, I want to really, truly trust that He is in control.
Because after stressing and striving for far too long, I know: the roller coaster is a lot more fun when we let go.
The truth is, I've spent the last few months trying to control a ride that isn't mine to orchestrate. Even as I hold on to my situations too tightly, I'm learning that, as a human, any power I think I have over my destiny is an illusion. It's God who causes all things to work together for His glory, not me. Proverbs 16:1 says it like this - "Go ahead and make all the plans you want, but it’s the Lord who will ultimately direct your steps."
When hear it put that way, I trust God's direction a lot more than I trust my own. And, the more I think about it, the more thankful I am that I'm not the one in control. That's a lot of pressure for an inherently imperfect human being.
So, I could view my lack of control as dangerous, or delightful. Right here, right now, I'm making a commitment to believe in the latter. That doesn't mean I won't worry about my future ever again. But when the anxiety arises, I'll remind myself of the blessing it is that I'm not in charge. I tried acting like I was, holding on too tight, and it just left me exhausted. The ride that was supposed to be fun wasn't anywhere near the joy I thought it would be. But now I know that this ride of life can indeed bring surprise and adventure and gladness and glee...we just have to let go a little.