A control freak’s guide to going with the flow.

“Just go with it.”

This simple yet overtly complicated direction and piece of advice that I often get from well-meaning friends baffles my control-freak mind. I never quite understood how someone could just be okay with just seeing what happens. That, of course, wasn’t until I realized that life is way more fun when you just let it go.

The first thing I realized was that “going with the flow” does not mean you’re disengaging completely from your life, putting it in someone else’s hands and letting Jesus take the wheel. It’s more that you are fully engaged in the here and now. Realizing how great that is rather than waiting to see what’s next.

It’s really difficult to hold the belief that everything happens for a reason. But once you start to see that it’s the truth, you’re able to go through life rolling with the punches rather than resisting what comes your way—whether it’s the unexpected or what you really wanted coming speeding towards you.

I like to think I have a lot of patience when it comes to the people I care about. But when it comes to myself, to things “happening,” to wondering what’s next for me—all hell breaks lose. I lose all sense of patience. I start wanting to control my next steps.

This quote is exactly what I needed to hear. I am not the kind of person who knows how to rest. I’m uncomfortable when I’m not busy or stressed. I am always moving on to the next project, the next relationship, the next story, the next challenge or adventure. I always want to know how it’s all going to play out. But by being so focused on that, I’m robbing myself of the right now.  

We all want to be happy. We all wait for the perfect moments when everything seems to fall into place. We’re all hung up on the timing of the big events in our lives, waiting for the heavens to open up and signal us where we’re supposed to go, who we’re supposed to become and who we’re supposed to be with when our story ends. We get so worried about being happy that we miss out on happiness all together. Instead of waiting for those perfect moments, wishing for your next big thing, or waiting for the thing you want to happen to just happen already–start appreciating where you are.

Happiness to me is waking up on a chilly fall day with the sun shining through my windows. It’s drunkenly laughing with my friends in the back of an Uber who I befriended and told of my relationship woes. It’s making fun of my siblings at the dinner table until our parents get annoyed with us. It’s the joy that fills me when my favorite song comes on at the bar and the gasp I let out makes my friends take out their phones and film me. It’s finding a quiet spot to read, it’s the feeling after a good workout, it’s having nothing to do on a Tuesday night. You probably all have small moments like these, too. When you’re in the depths of these moments, what are you thinking?

For me, I’m thinking that I’m lucky. And I’m certainly not thinking about what comes next.

If you’re like me, you’re a dreamer. And you’re used to getting what you want not because it comes easy to you but because you bust your ass until it all falls into place. Instead, try something different. Surrender.

We often want things so badly that we ruin them before they even begin. We overthink, we imagine, we worry and we doubt. Instead, just go with the flow. No forcing. Just trusting. Because honestly, in the end, things always end up better than we even hoped.

When you let go, you stop feeling so weighed down. You feel free. And that’s because you’re giving yourself the space to let into your life exactly what you need.

“Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.” – Carrie Bradshaw

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