The Downside of Trying to Control Your Life

We wanted a big, picturesque party when we got married. Of course we did—you know the feeling if you got married, or if you want to.

Our expectations were sky high about the flow of the ceremony, the lively reception, endless streams of food and cake and wine, elegantly decorated yet welcoming to anyone who wanted to join in the festivities.

Then our rehearsal and dinner almost got rained on. On the day of the wedding, children acted out. Unavoidably, we didn’t start on time. We had two first dances because the DJ misread the notes and played the wrong song. And when the correct one finally did play, our niece found it more suitable to join us on the dance floor instead of watch us like the rest of the crowd.

When we remember that time now, we laugh. We appreciate the decorations and the details we and our families worked so hard on, yet what we remember most are the mishaps and the people who were with us.

You Never Know What You’ll Actually Remember

I’m reading a book called, “Bread and Wine: A Love Letter To Life Around The Table” by Shauna Niequist. Shauna has a beautiful way of saying things, and she wrote about the pitfalls of capturing or forcing moments.

“You never know while it’s happening what will burn in your memory, sacred and profound. It seems like most of the things we try to make profound never are, lost in our insistence and fretting and posing. When we want something to be momentous, it rarely is. Life is disobedient in that way, insisting on surprising us with its magic, stubbornly unwilling to be glittery on command.” – Shauna Niequist

A memorable life isn’t about crafting perfect moments, but embracing the great ones that just happen. (tweet that)

When we try too hard to capture a moment, we lose the beauty of something untamed and free. It has less to do with our effort and more to do with enjoying our experiences.

Find the Heart of Your Story

In writing, it’s like this:

“Let it marinate. Don’t try to use it or publish it or finish it for at least six months. In this, as in many things, writing is like life, and lots of times we don’t know what a particular experience is about in the moment. We think we do. But time shows us so much along the way. Just get the story out, and then give it time. When you look at it again in six months, most likely you’ll know what parts to tell, what parts to omit, and really where the heart of the story is.” – Niequist

We can do that to find the heart of our lives, too.

When we free ourselves to sit in the moment, allowing it to be what it is, we’ll see something much more powerful grow there eventually. It’s like a seed that has the space and sunlight it needs, rather than being crowded by other trees leaning over to see if it’s a sapling yet.

The way we live today determines how we’ll remember our lives tomorrow. (share that)

Don’t rush past the present. Let the moment breathe. Let it inform your next move.

It just might be the start of the insight  you’ll need down the road.


What’s one moment you remember as profound even though you didn’t think so in the moment?


Have you heard about my book? It explores ways to live a meaningful life, making the most of the variables, choices, and relationships we all have. Read one free chapter.

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