It’s celebration time in my home! In the near future, my youngest daughter will be moving out and into her own place (again). When her off-campus housing lease ended last August, she moved back home – and into my living room. This weekend, my mom and aunties drove across the state to give her a sweet “moving-BACK-out” shower! Not pictured: A lot more stuff that I couldn’t fit into this photo!

I live in a two-bedroom apartment and when I moved in three years ago after living in a five-bedroom home for over twenty years, we nicknamed the smaller bedroom, “The Postage Stamp.” One of the lessons that I learned during my long wilderness season was how to live simply and be content with less, so that tiny bedroom is just fine with me. The second larger bedroom is my office and since my daughter has been in nursing school and works overnight at the hospital, I didn’t think that she’d sleep well during the day while I’m doing my zoom calls.

So, the past year has been a surrender journey for the both of us. We couldn’t change the size of my apartment. We couldn’t control the that created the problem nor force the timing of when she could move out again.

I had to let go of what I couldn’t control. Since she was living in my living room and most of her stuff was in storage, I had to let go of any expectations of a well-organized area.

Some of you are muttering under your breathe, “But Barb, this is your house. She should have to follow your rules.” You aren’t wrong. But, there’s another question that I had to ask myself: “How important is it?”

If I nagged my sweet girt to meet my standards for cleanliness and organization in a space that wasn’t set up for success, then what would the likely result be? Maybe the space looked better, but my relationship with my daughter would be have worse. Nagging never leads to better relationships! Frankly, it would have been foolish for me to die on the hill of unfolded laundry.

Now, it’s your turn. Can I ask you three questions on this Monday morning what might be bugging you these days?

Are you trying to control a person or a situation?

How important is it?

Are you willing to let go for your own mental or emotional health?

When something important wiggles the wrong way that’s when we’re tempted to press the power button on relationship-damaging control-loving behaviors. Here are the SHINE control-loving behaviors that I discuss in my Surrendered Bible Study and Surrendered Devotional. If you’ve been using any of the following lately, then that is a sign that may need to let go and surrender that situation to God:

S – Stonewalling

H – Helicoptering

I – Interrupting

N – Nagging

E – Excessive Planning/Excessive Stockpiling

Now, there are some matters that rate a 9/10 or 10/10 in importance, but if you don’t have control over the situation or the person, then you need to let go for your own spiritual and mental health. As we talk about in the Surrendered Study, letting go isn’t giving up, nor is it giving in. Letting go is giving that situation, big or small, over to God and trusting that He can handle it and that you won’t try to control it.

TELL ME: Are there any control-loving behaviors that you’ve been struggling with lately? (You aren’t alone!) What situation do you need to give over to God today?

I’ve included a guided prayer exercise below for you, especially if you need to let go. As an added practical step, here’s how I’ve been coaching myself with Surrender Principle #1: “I am not in control of others or outcomes.” You can use this principle to coach yourself as well!


Dear God, thank you for the start of this new week. There’s a lot going on and there is a lot on my heart and mind. God, I’ve been struggling with ___________________ (control-loving behavior) because ______________________ (problem) situation seems out of my control and I’m afraid that _______________________(outcome) will happen. But, I have to give ________________________ (situation/person) over to You and trust in Your power to handle it. Help me to remember to keep surrendering today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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