Control, Mothering, Trusting God

Trust: Managing or Living Each Day

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I’ve said it a lot over the past few months . . . this summer was a hard one for our family. Between poor choices made, Hubs traveling, and life happening, I’m weary.

When Hubs travels, I find myself slipping into manage-mode. Getting the boys where they need to be when they need to be there. Tamping down my own emotions to help them deal with theirs . . . and to keep the home environment at least somewhat calm. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful my hubs has a good job that he enjoys. But, my mindset shifts when he’s gone.

I’m always thinking ahead. If this happens, what would be the best outcome, and how do we get there? See? Planning. Managing. 

Sometimes, it’s easier to exist in manage-mode than live-mode. Because in manage-mode, I have this crazy sense that I’m in control. 

Ummm, have you stopped laughing yet?

But seriously, when I’m in manage-mode, I rarely make time to feel the hurt, the disappointment, the pain . . . or the joy, the satisfaction, the freedom that daily life offers.

Last month, when Edmund sustained his third concussion, my thoughts time-warped into manage-mode. 

God’s sense of timing is perfect. In the midst of this, I was reading, It’s All Under Control, by Jennifer Dukes Lee. I had just read a section that talked about managing life or living it.

When Hubs and I talked about Edmund not playing football anymore, my guy was in tears at the thought of our boy’s dream dying. 

But me? 

My thoughts rolodexed through ideas for the best way to tell him and how to “deal with” the fallout that would likely culminate in a teenage solar flare. 

I wasn’t feeling the grief. The pain of my son’s dream dying a painful, heart-wrenching death.

Yeah, I’m at a place where I need to re-learn how to live my life. Not just manage it. 

Not move into the next thing.

Not wrack my brain trying to figure out how to deal with the boys’ decisions. 

Their mistakes. 

Their attitudes.

I don’t always have to be the manager. The one getting things done for the sake of our family. 

I’ve invested so much time into helping the boys—or getting them help—that I haven’t fed myself. My quiet times, my writing time,the things that fill me, have been the sacrifice.

After living in manage-mode for a number of months now, I’ve grown scattered. I’ve become so intent on managing our family that I’ve forgotten how to feel. 

I haven’t had a hard, ugly cry over some of this summer’s heartbreaks. I haven’t fully dealt with the pain some of our boys’ choices have caused. I haven’t let myself stop to feel the disappointment, the breaking in my own soul. 

When I exist in manage-mode, I’m always thinking ahead, not processing each event. I’m planning how to mitigate the next disaster. Not living in each moment with my people. 

I have been praying and asking God to bring me back to a place where I’m able to feel with my family—the joys and the heartbreaks. I’ve prayed He will re-teach me how to trust Him with the outcomes, and even with my boys’ reactions to the hard things they face.

Ultimately, it comes down to trust. Do I trust God to manage my family, or am I trusting myself? 

Do I trust God to guide our boys, even when it seems like they are going far afield? Or do I try to control the circumstances and “guide” them in the paths I think they need to walk in?

Trusting God is the only way to walk out my days in living-mode. When I trust God with our sons, our circumstances, our relationships, He frees me to truly live in, to savor, each moment. 

That’s the mode I want to live in.

What about you? How do you choose trust rather than control in your life? How do you determine if you’re in manage-mode or live-mode?

Click to Tweet: I don’t always have to be the manager. The one getting things done for the sake of our family

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

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30 thoughts on “Trust: Managing or Living Each Day”

  1. jeanne, I think managerial in’t a terrible place to be, because I’m there, all the time.

    Living with cancer means arranging life and thought around it, looking ahead to ‘what can I do’ an sometimes more importantly, ‘what SHOULD I try to do.’ There’s not much room for processing then, and no real use for it, because living, making the most out of life and staying positive, i still a choice that has to be renewed constantly.

    And that renewal requires…wait for it…management.

    And there is control; I sure can’t control outcomes, but I CAN control my own demeanour, both internal and external.

    The situation sucks, sure, but it’s my choice to pity myself or to metaphorically shrug and say, “First, it doesn’t matter whether it sucks or not; it exists and I have to deal with it. Positive or negative, it’s my choice, my control. And second, there are so many people who have it so much worse.”

    In a sense this is, or course, unfair to Barb; my lack of interest in having a good cry and wanting to rail at God and sob, “WHY???” makes it hard for her to do so. “I’m good, bro, no worries” makes it hard to want to spend emotion on me, for I am either terminally (!), cynically flippant or quite mad.

    Nonetheless, tonight I shall raise a glass to the managers. Ducemus! (We lead)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, Andrew. I love how you do this. How you can see the other side of a thing. You’re right, friend. Managing things isn’t all bad. I think, for me, it became kind of about managing to control, rather than to do so in a way that allowed me to be yielded to God.

      As you described, there is a place for managing things. Especially when dealing with terminal illness, as you are. The way you describe how you manage and use control is goooood. Your perspective, your choosing the “others’-centered” outlook, the mindset that you can’t change the cancer, but you can control how you respond each day inspires. You’re right. We don’t have to be controlled by our circumstances.

      Your words here made me smile, my friend. Thank you for that.

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  2. Visiting from RaRa link up. I am with you in praying your prayer for trusting God for His control so I can live life with presence. This post spoke to my heart. Learning to abandon outcomes to the Lord is something I am learning, but I seem to be a slow learner. Thanks for sharing your journey. Sweet Blessings to you!

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    1. Cheryl, thank you for visiting my little place here. I agree. Yielding our desires for outcomes we want and trusting God is something learned, not assumed. If it makes you feel better, I’m a slow learner too. 🙂 I so appreciate your words!

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  3. Oh Jeanne, this is such a powerful post, especially for those of us who so easily lapse into manager mode, while all kinds of emotions and thoughts and stuff stack up inside, leaving us completely depleted.

    ‘I’ve become so intent on managing our family that I’ve forgotten how to feel.’

    I’m praying for you as I tap away here, as you walk into and through the disappointments, the fears, the grief, the exhaustion. God goes with you every step of the way. And we’re along side …

    Bless you, friend …

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    1. Linda, thank you for your prayers. They are so appreciated! God is very faithful to walk alongside each of His children as we navigate this life. There’s great comfort in knowing He walks with us, and that we are never alone. Now to dance in the balance between knowing what is mine to manage and being vulnerable enough to God to open up and feel as our family walks out each day.

      Thanks for walking alongside!

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  4. This is meaningful to me as I’m at a point in life as a mother and grandmother where major painful decisions affect me even though they are out of my control. I feel hurt and pain for the situations our adult son finds himself in with our granddaughter in the middle of a messy custody battle. God I pray we as mothers can let it go and totally trust God that the outcome will work out best.

    Hang in there.

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    1. Awww, Pirkko, I’m so sorry to hear about your family’s heart ache. It’s so painful when a family splits apart, especially when children are involved. Your prayer is a brave one, and a necessary one. We mamas do need to trust God to work things out, even when it doesn’t appear to be the best thing in the short run. Hugs, friend.

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  5. I absolutely hear you, Jeanne. I also have a tendency to slip into that “management” mode where life becomes all about solutions and emotion goes underground. Trusting for grace for you to move toward LOVE and to hear the voice of God singing with joy over you this very day.

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  6. Jeanne I applaud your management skills. It is how we keep sane with the constant bombardment of life with satan trying to steal our joy any way he can. I am a mom of a very dis functional home with 3 children that I had to use management skills to keep everyone safe. Cant tell you how many time I laid it at Jesus feet only to go by and try to fix it myself. Trust is hard but now years later I see that even though I thought I was in control it was my trust in Christ that got us through. Just remember He has got you even though you feel close to management break down. I hope my words are helpful and try to get 5 rejuvenation minutes just for you each day. It helps your sanity.

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    1. Anita, your words blessed me. It seems like we need to live some aspects of life in manage-mode, don’t we? Because, you’re right, Satan wants to steal our joy and leave us discouraged. We do need to manage some aspects, especially with children in the home. My boys do much better, when I’ve got my emotions managed, even tamped down. But, there has to be a time where I can feel too, you know? I love your solution for when life feels like too much…to lay it at Jesus’ feet. And leave it there. Sometimes that’s the hardest!

      Your words are hopeful. Though living life being present in some moments/seasons is HARD, we can look back and see that Jesus did bring us through. Needed that reminder. And . . . 5 minutes. Working on that. It’s been one of those non-stop manage-mode days . . . 🙂

      Thank you!

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  7. HEBREWS 13:5-6 (AMP)
    5. . .“I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” 6 So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say,
    “The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
    Love you!

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  8. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable here, Jeanne. This is really powerful. My heart aches for you. I pray God will carry you through this difficult time of raising teens. I have too often been in manage-mode, too. Thank you for encouraging us to trust God in the living mode, savoring each moment, allowing ourselves to feel and trusting Him for the outcome. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy, thank you for your sweet words. God is definitely bringing us through this season. Some things are settling down. And, in some areas, my boys’ hearts are open. That’s progress. God’s been speaking to me a lot through the things we’ve walked (and are walking) through.

      Whether the seasons are tough or calm, we always need to live trusting God, don’t we? And when we can feel in the midst? that sometimes frees us up on the inside, doesn’t it?

      Love and hugs back to you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll never forget a moment when a neighbour came to my door during a very difficult time with my three (and particularly with my oldest who was 15 yrs old at the time), and she said, “you’ll get through it.” Seasons as a mom can be so crazy at times! I used the word ‘survivor-mode’ to describe many of the days. Now I have an empty nest and as I think about those days I wonder how I did it! My best counsel for those that ask is to make sure you always have something to look forward to that’s just for you. That could be a one-night a week trip to the gym, a scrapbooking weekend with friends, a movie night out coming up…or even just the car radio to yourself when your commuting alone! Yes, God brings us through, and seen over and over how He brings us all we need, even a neighbour at a door saying exactly what we need to hear. Your post is so important as it lets all mom’s know they are not alone! Thank you for you for your willingness to share! And you will get through it, especially as you do life WITH God.

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    1. Lynn, what a God-ordained moment for you. I love how our Father knows what we need when we need it. Sometimes it’s that kind word, that encouragement, that brings us through the hard moments. I appreciate your advice to have something to look forward to that’s just for me. I need to be more intentional about planning that out. Thank you for the encouragement in your words!

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  10. Oh, Jeanne. I know that “manage mode” all to well.

    Father, please help Jeanne to exhale in Your presence tonight. Lay Your hand upon her. Unwind the knots in her soul. Remind her that she is never alone and that You love her, and all her boys, forever and ever.

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    1. Awww, Marie. Thank you for your prayer. In a season that feels (at times) overwhelmingly busy, I need NEED to inhale the Lord’s presence throughout each day. You bless me, friend.

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  11. Jeanne, this is one of the most practical and personally applicable posts that I have read in a while. Although I know I live…well, stay cemented…in manage-mode, I don’t think I had ever put a name to it. But you describe it perfectly. And, while there are some benefits…there is so much lost when I stay there. Sometimes, I actually chose the manage-mode (or live-mode) simply because the emotions don’t get in the way. But, really, how sad is that? I appreciate your sharing and giving me not only “food for thought” but encouragement to shift gears.

    Such a blessing of blogging – and blogs!!

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    1. Jennifer, thank you for your kind words! It seems easier to stay cemented in manage-mode, doesn’t it? In a lot of ways, it’s less risky. I’m so glad this post spoke to you and challenged you. 🙂 I love how God does that as we visit others’ blogs! Have a great day, friend!

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  12. Dang, Jeanne. Going for my jugular with this one. I’m a manager. I’m the king of getting into GSD mode and driving my family crazy. Hard times bring this out. It’s amazing how I default to self reliance when I can’t do a thing to change most of my crises. I can only survive them. What gets me through is the Father’s Love for me. Sorry your summer was rough. Hopefully it’s just temporary and you’ll rebound some. If not, God’s still faithful. great post!

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    1. Chip, I’ll take your words as a compliment. 🙂 I like it when God uses someone’s words to challenge me and draw me closer to Himself. Self-reliance is definitely a default mode I’ve switched to. I’m trying to remember to rely on God first. It’s so important to remember God’s love for us, isn’t it? Thank you for your kind words.

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  13. I think pretty much all of us moms spend life in manage mode! But you are so right, if we are always on to the next thing, how can we process our life in the here and now!

    Isn’t it awesome that each day, He gives us another opportunity to get it right?

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    1. Jerralea, the mom-life is such a delicate balance between managing and living. Our kids need our management skills, especially as they’re learning to do life on their own. But they also need us living in each moment with them. and yes, I’m so, so grateful He gives us another opportunity to get it right each day. He’s an amazing Father! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  14. Jeanne, this is an insightful post that resonated deeply with me. I have three sons, now grown and married, and two grandsons. As we raised the boys they were active and involved in sports, leadership, youth group etc. And my husband and I both had very busy, very challenging careers. So we were always extremely busy. So like you – I seldom found time for myself to feel and to process trials, losses, hurts. Things just pressed in and then the next things had to be done. There is such a tension between managing life just enough that we can accomplish what needs to be done – from getting the groceries to completing tasks/planning for work the next day to dealing with an issue at home – and releasing control and trusting God for the outcomes and the provision of what is needed. But you are so right – we need to ensure that we take the time we need to live the moments too. To breathe, to feel, to process, to heal. And most of all, to sit with God for at least some time every day so that we can rest in Him and be reminded that He’s got it, and He will provide and protect. Thanks for the great article.

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    1. Anne, first off, please forgive me for not responding sooner. We’ve had lots going on and I missed the “Spam” comment until just now. I’m not sure why your comment went there, but I’m sure glad I found it. 🙂 I so appreciate your take on all of this. Hearing from a mom who’s walked in the trenches is greatly encouraging. There is such a delicate balance between doing the next thing and taking time to feel and process and heal. I tend to teeter on one edge or the other most of the time. You’re right. Daily time with the Lord is what gets us through the heartbreaks, and the mundane. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!!

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  15. Phew, Jeanne … I’m hearing you loud and clear on all of this. I well know the stress that comes with trying to anticipate and prepare for the reactions of an intense teenager (instead of taking each moment as it comes and trusting that God will show us both what we need to gain from any given hard thing). I hope that you will have some time to rest and process when your husband gets home … in the meantime, I’ll be praying that God will give you the strength to manage what you need to manage and trust Him with the rest. Hugs, friend.

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    1. Lois, I know we’re in the thick of the teenage years together. I appreciate your words. And, I have had some time with my hubs being home. It’s easier doing this mom-of-teen-life with someone walking through it with us, isn’t it? Thank you for your prayers, my friend. Sending some your way as well.

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