In my stress workshops, I often use the example of a clenched fist to demonstrate the pressure we put on ourselves to maintain control over our life and an extended hand, palm side up to indicate the ability to be in charge.
It takes more and more energy to keep that hand tightly clenched. Just as our fist will become exhausted, so do our bodies when we are constantly trying to be in control. (See my book, “Make Stress Work for You“, available on my website).
Taking charge on the other hand allows us to receive, examine and judge new information based on predetermined values and principles.
When we are controlling we are closed to new information. Old rigid rules dictate what we can and cannot do.
Old rigid rules determine how other people should and must act and when they don’t, we get upset and become more controlling through manipulation and passive aggressive behaviors. We try to control every aspect of our lives and the lives of others around us: our careers, families, children, relationships and environment.
Taking charge allows us to evaluate information based on beliefs, values and principles we have examined and made our own.
Principles are the ethical and moral standards we have established to live by. We are not locked into old rigid patterns. We know what we believe and why.
It is often in the midst of uncomfortable, unwanted life changes where we are challenged with that uncomfortable feeling that we really don’t know what we believe. It is where we can finally hear that quiet, persistent and compelling voice of God who asks us to examine our attitudes, perceptions and assumptions and put them in the framework of His word and His truths.
It is where we are challenged to release the closed fist, open our hand and let go. It is where we begin to take charge of our lives instead of trying to control our lives.