Mesorah (Jewish stuff) · Motherhood

Accepting That You Have No Control

I love feeling like I’m in control. I like to be organized. I like to have a plan, a plan in advance.

Sometimes, though, there is just no planning for things. We all know the adage “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” (Man plans, G-d laughs). I think most of us have also experienced that, on some level.

How many of us had ideas of what we wanted our life to look like (I, for instance, was going to live in Israel forever), and have been forced to acknowledge that circumstances do not always work out the way we had hoped (we own our house here in Cleveland and have no immediate plans for aliyah, though we do discuss how to continue to yearn for it, even if we do not plan on moving in the near future).

And that’s a relatively small thing. There are bigger, more acute struggles, with personal relationships, children, finances, and so on.

We can only plan for so much.

Currently I am facing a happy planning problem. That of my due date. Which is three days before Pesach.

This situation is really my fault, since I often remarked to my husband how relieved I was to never have had to deal with a Pesach baby. I would joke that Hashem would never test me like that because it would be just far too stressful.

Well, so much for that.

Now that I’m in the longest month of pregnancy, my energy level is spotty at best. I have made many plans of how I’m going to manage Purim and Pesach this year, but then I end up spending nearly a whole day resting because I have no energy. So I plan, but my plans are often irrelevant.

And I’m okay with that. I mean, it stresses me out sometimes when I let it, when the thoughts of “I can barely manage the most basic household tasks how do I expect to manage mishloach manos, a seuda, making ahead for Pesach!?!?!?!?”

But I have to let go, because that’s the only thing I can control. And sometimes I do get bursts of energy where I can be surprisingly productive. I just can’t predict when those bursts are going to come.

Pregnancy and birth in general are areas in which I am forced to relinquish control. I can pray, and I do, that this baby is developing well (he or she is certainly very active these days!), and that the delivery will go well and that all will be good.

But I have no control, ultimately, over that. I’m doing what I can to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a good delivery, but I know that there is a point past which I have no control, things will develop and unfold the way they are meant to, no matter how carefully I prepare.

And while it’s more obvious in this life event than others, it’s really true most of the time. It’s true with parenting. It’s true with marriage. It’s true with friendships. It’s true with getting blog posts out on time. We just have the illusion of control in some of these other situations, but it’s just an illusion.

This does not absolve us from making our best effort, or from planning. We can’t just sit back and say “oh, whatever is going to happen is going to happen anyways.” But it’s helpful to acknowledge that ultimately, it is not up to us. And that’s okay.

 


Photo by William Warby on Unsplash

5 thoughts on “Accepting That You Have No Control

  1. I feel like I have absolutely no control over any of my life, and that everything goes wrong sooner or later. It’s terrifying, and also leads to learned helplessness, because now I can’t be bothered to do stuff for my career, because I’m certain that it won’t help me. I’m stuck in the situation of feeling I’m going to be unemployed/underemployed and single and lonely forever and not feeling that I can change things because God wants me to be this miserable. It’s really difficult. I’m struggling a lot.

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