Our lives are filled with uncertainties. That’s part of what makes them both interesting and challenging. Right now, our family is living proof of that. Currently, we are searching for a new home. It has been quite a process, and there have been several unexpected developments along the way, but we are trusting that all will work out in the end exactly as it is supposed to. But trusting is not always easy, especially when it involves the important things in our lives. That’s why it’s helpful to remember that we cannot prevent uncertainties and changes from happening to us. So, the ways we choose to respond to these uncertainties becomes very important. If we can trust in the process and learn to “go with the flow,” our lives become much less stressful.
So, why is “going with the flow” such a difficult concept for most of us? In a word, control. We all want to think that we have control over our lives. We want to have a say in the things that are happening to us and the things that are happening in the world. We want to bring more order to the perceived chaos around us. Control serves as a way for us to keep our fears in check. When we believe we have control over situations or circumstances, they appear much less scary. We can live in our own little “bubble” and stay perfectly safe.
But, as many of us know, control is an illusion. A diagnosis, a broken relationship, a business failure, or a death can quickly show us that we actually don’t have control over much of anything in our lives. But we do have control over our beliefs and our reactions to the things that happen around us. Once we realize our lives aren’t meant to be controlled, we become free from our fears. But relinquishing our need for control is not easy. It may be one of the hardest things we ever do, but it is worth the effort. When we learn to let go, we see the world differently. We “go with the flow” and try to live in the moment, rather than worrying about what might happen in the future or what has happened in the past. We learn to trust more, knowing that our struggles will pass as they continue to teach us important life lessons. Eventually, we will be okay once again.
But learning to let go is a lifelong process. Some days it’s easier; other days it’s a bit more challenging. But this process has taught me that life doesn’t have to be such a struggle. When I release my need for control, things flow much more naturally, and I’m able to enjoy life more fully. Now, if I get an unexpected phone call and a friend wants to meet me for lunch, I leave my computer (even if my writing is unfinished) and meet her at the restaurant. Or, if it’s a beautiful evening and I want to take a walk on the beach, I jump in my car and drive to the sandy shore instead of staying home to clean my house. I let the day unfold as it will, releasing my need for control. I’ve learned that when I “go with the flow” and take the world as it comes, things work out even better than I could have imagined. Less resistance creates more freedom, and more freedom creates more joy. When we truly live in the moment, we experience the beauty of life in a whole new way.
This week, see if changing your perspective can make a difference in your life. Can you let go of your need for control? Can you learn to live in the moment and release the worry, knowing that all will eventually be okay? Can you practice “going with the flow?” Be open to the unexpected and try to experience life a little more fully. Watch the sun rise early in the morning or feel the moist dirt in your garden. Do the things you love and live in the moment. Your life isn't meant to be controlled - it’s meant to be lived. Everything doesn’t have to be such a struggle. Things come and then they go. Flow with this natural rhythm of life and enjoy your new-found freedom.