A few weeks ago, my 20-year old daughter boomeranged back into my empty nest.
My beautiful girl attends nursing school at the local university. Due to the virus, much of her education is online via Zoom at home. What’s challenged me lately is NOT sticking my nose into her class schedule to issue well-meaning reminders like, “Do you need to get up and log onto class?” or “I noticed that you’ve been on TikTok for six hours, shouldn’t you be studying?”
None of that is my business. Why? She’s 20 years old. She is an adult. She pays for her own schooling (academic scholarship!) and she was smart enough to get into nursing school. So, it’s none of my business if she sleeps through her classes, studies or if she blows it all off.
Some of you are thinking, Barb, but what if she fails? or Com’on Barb, good moms give reminders!
I discovered that fear and pride were behind my control-loving behaviors like nagging and helicoptering (micro-managing). I’ve had to wrestle with fear-thoughts like “If she sleeps through that class, she might fail her test” or pride-thoughts like, “I will give her a this quick reminder and make her do what she should be doing.”
I could give reminders to calm my fears or satisfy my pride. However, God desires for us to live by faith, not fear (1 John 4:18). Also, people don’t like to be controlled. People really don’t like for us to try to fix them. Our fear and our pride is ours to manage. Thankfully, God’s already secured victory for us!
So rather than give up and get frustrated or give into fear, there’s one more choice:
Surrender. Let go and give it to God.
I have to let all of that go. Sure, I’d hate for her to fail out of nursing school (she’s not – she’s doing just fine!) and I definitely think that she needs to be on TikTok less. But that’s not my business either.
I have to let go because I am not in control of her life.
But, then what?
When we let go, then what do we hold onto so that we don’t try to take control again?
Years ago, I learned a series of slogans while attending a family recovery support group because of my family member’s alcoholism. For years, I tried to control out of extreme fear and destructive pride. Those recovery slogans equipped me with the tools that I needed to step back and let go of control. Even though they weren’t based on scripture, God used those slogans to bring incredible peace and calm into my heart and mind – even though our family situation spiraled out of control. I was often heart-broken, but I stayed calm.
Over the years, I developed my own slogans, essentially six statements based on God’s promises, provision and peace that I can hold onto when I let go of control.
Now, I want to give you the six powerful Surrender Principles from my Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus Bible study based on God’s Word that you can hold onto when you let go of control.
Six Surrender Principles
Surrender Principle #1: I am not in control of others or outcomes.
Surrender Principle #2: I choose to live by faith, not rush to follow my feelings.
Surrender Principle #3: I can always let go and give my problems to God.
Surrender Principle #4: Trusting God’s promises will bless me, but pushing my plans will stress me.
Surrender Principle #5: When fear tempts me to flee, fix or force my way, I will choose to stop and pray.
Surrender Principle #6: Surrender is my only path to God’s peace, power and provision.
These principles work because they point you toward God rather than your struggling person or problem. Use them early. Use them often! But, it takes time, so be patient with yourself. (IDEA: You can do the Surrendered Bible study to give God an opportunity to transform your control-loving struggles into more focus on Him!)
BONUS: Click here for a printable of these six Surrender Principles!
For my situation with my daughter, I’m using tools #1 and #4. She’s doing just fine in managing her life, I’m the one who has to let go of of my fears or the pride in thinking that she can’t keep her life together without my help.
I repeat these Surrender Tools early and often so that I can wrap myself in God’s peace and trust that He is in charge of her life and not me.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! COMMENT BELOW:
1. What person or problem do you need to let go of and surrender to God right now?
2. Which one of these Surrender tools do you too need to hold onto, memorize and repeat to yourself when you’re tempted to control?
Let Go and Live Like Jesus!
Are you a control-lover? There are five control-loving behaviors that trick us into thinking that we can fix the people and problems in our lives. However, when we try to control what we can’t control, it often leads to chaos in our lives.
Are you tired of feeling stressed out and afraid of what you can’t fix or control? There’s hope!
Check out the Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus Bible study or book, Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus. Learn from Jesus’ example AND six powerful tools that equip you to let go and experience God’s power and peace!
I read this and felt like you have been in my mind and in my house! Same situation with 20 plus year old back in the house taking online classes and same dynamic of butting in. I’m torn because my daughter has some emotional and learning challenges. Yes she has managed to pull through in the past but COVID puts an extra level of anxiety on her and thus on me causing me to become frustrated when I try to help and it is not received well because as you say..no one wants someone else to tell them what to do! I feel like I need to apply 1, 4, and 6. And thank you for posting. Surrender is a study I plan to do.
Hi Lisa, thank you for reading today’s post and sharing your comment. It’s always good to know that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing which Surrender principles apply to your situation. Enjoy the surrender study!
I’m in the exact same boat with all my children who are all adults having their own children. I’ve had to learn to let go for a few years now and even more with a second year college student and a new granddaughter on her way in 2021. To not back up the control I let go of with my son living with mental illness. Your email reminded me not to pick it back up when I’ve given it all to God. Thank you for principles 1 & 2.
Congratulations on the new grandbaby coming your way next year! Thank you for sharing your comment. We’re all in this together when it comes to needing reminders to live in surrender. I’m glad that Surrender principles #1 and #2 were helpful for you.
Hi Barb, I was in a relationship of 4 1/2 years that ended in early July. We had met on Catholic Match and always knew God had a hand in bringing us together. I was completely blindsided by his choice to end things instead of work through things. Life was not that bad for us or so I thought. I think we just started to get lazy and take each other for granted. More importantly I was letting my prayer life slide as well. I was emotionally devastated as I had grown very close to his family as well. It was in a instant that all that was wiped out of my life.
His kids, grandkids, sisters, brothers, friend, even the dog. I lost them all. Two weeks later my father of 96 years ended up in the hospital. He is doing ok now, but will no longer be able to live alone. Now we are going through the process of selling the home I grew up. It was shortly after all this that I heard you on a podcast with my friend, Jill Savage. It was like the brightest light all of sudden turned on for me. It was as if you were speaking just for me. I had control issues that I was not even aware I had. I just liked things done and done in time. I thought my behavior was right and never really appreciated. Your book and messages have made me realize that I did need to let go and let God. Surrender to God. So as I am dealing with this loss, I have often tried to take control and then stop myself and repeatedly say to myself….let it done unto me according to thy will. It is not easy, but I know God has a plan. I struggle with the God timing verses my timing, but I am a work in progress. I still pray to have my relationship restored, but I am learning to let go and have faith. Most importantly, prayer is the start to every day for me. Especially during this time when we are separated physically from friends and I am at home most of the time alone, I found a true friendship with you and Jill. Thank you.
Hi Renee, thank you for sharing your story. I know that many women will be able to relate to the ending of an important relationship and the difficulty of letting go of all of the love and emotions.
I’m so glad that you were encouraged by the post. I love how God finds unique ways to connect us together. As we both know, Jill is a tremendous gift to so many!
Hi Barb, this ole seasoned senior brain of mine that is also a.d.d. is trying to live by that saying “let God & let God”. Our church outreach group has not been able to do our program at our local detention center for 6 months now. Logic is saying He’s in charge. Heart says we need to meet with our ladies. It has been a rather difficult 6 months. Faithing it till we make it.
Hi Jessie, thanks for stopping by the blog and reading today’s post. It sounds so frustrating that you want to volunteer and serve but right now that’s not in your control. God knows how much you care about those women and He cares about them, too. Stay encouraged!
A team member and definitely #4.
It is embarrassing how I try to negotiate with God and including “just a little bit of my plan.” 🙂
Pray for me.
Hi Jonelle, thank you for sharing your comment. I’m glad that surrender principle #4 is a tool that you can use so that you can experience God’s peace in the midst of your challenging situation.
I use these principles now every day…they are becoming a permanent part of my daily thinking/attitude. The Lord is using this powerful study to change many lives! I am leading it in my small group right now, and we are all so amazed at how these truths are exactly what we need at the exact time we need to hear them! I picked up the Surrendered devotional and am going to purchase as gifts for others! Perfect companion to the study! Thank you!
Nancy, I love how God uses the Surrender Principles to bring freedom and peace in your life. That’s exciting! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.