Do you remember when you were a kid and would try to negotiate with your parents about things that you wanted to do...and would hear the phrase, "It's my way or the highway!"  Oh, how I hated hearing that.  Then, when I became a teacher, I found myself saying it to kids who would challenge my authority.  Is that what it is....a challenge to one's authority.  The person with authority feels threatened and tries to maintain their control of an issue by saying the "highway" phrase? 

As we grew up to become adults, the ante became higher.  In the workplace, we all want our space to control.  You will hear things like, "You really need to.... or... I think that you should do it this way"  At home, you might hear things like, "I wish that you would.... or...when I do it, I do it this way....why don't you give it a try?" 

Within the family dynamics, the poker game has even higher stakes.  Everyone in the family has their own individual way of keeping control of situations.  However, if you look at some of the controls....who would want them?  I have a friend who goes to visit her parents everyday.  I admire this virtue in her.  Her brother was never as involved, but recently, he decided to pay a few more visits than he had in the past.  Maybe he had an epiphany that his parents are getting up in age and wants to do something about it.  Anyway, it put my friend in a tither.  It upset her balance. It made her suspicious.  What is he up to?  He never did this before.  Why is he doing this now, out of the blue?  It turns out that he wanted to help her relieve her.  Well, that was her dynamic in the family and she now feels threatened by his sudden interest...he is infringing on her turf.  There is now a strain between these two.  Oh,they still get along as adult siblings....but there is a strain as she learns to shift her authority.

I know of another couple who are going through this as well.  The husband has always been involved in an organization that helps youth.  He has done this for years.  My friend has always stayed home and kept the home front.  She was never happy about this arrangement, but did it diligently.  Recently, hubby has backed off from the organization and has begun attempting to spend more time with her.  That was her wish all along.  But, now she has become suspicious.  Again...out of the blue....why is this happening?  "Why after all of these years is he suddenly paying attention to me?"  That is the question that keeps playing through her mind.  Instead of counting her blessings that he has finally opened his eyes to her needs, she is now suspicious as to his antics.

For me, it is my mother and her needs.  My brother always sent the checks to the nursing home and took care of the financial needs while I talked to the nursing home and negotiated her day to day needs.  Well, suddenly, my sister-in-law has expressed an interest in doing this.  She had done it occasionally in the past, but anytime that she saw a need for Mom, she would call me and I would call the nursing home to take care of things.  Suddenly, she now wants to get involved and I find myself questioning her motives.  It would save me the anguish of having to do it.  But, that was my role in the family dynamics and I find myself stymied.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We pray and pray to God...please send relief....please make other family members help out in whatever capacity within your family...and when they do..we don't see is as an answer to our prayers...we see it as a threat or become suspicious.  Is it human nature?  Or maybe there is something deeper going on under the surface.  Perhaps we put all of our self image into these causes....we martyr ourselves to whatever it is that is going on.  Maybe we don't have enough faith in ourselves as individuals, so we instead place our self identity on what we do for our loved ones.  Maybe it is time for us to look into our own eyes in the mirror and accept ourselves with love.  Maybe it is time to let go and let God do whatever needs to be done...let go of the reigns.

Well, last night, that was the conclusion that I had come to regarding my sister-in-law.  I am going to hand over the reigns.  I will be there if needed...but will no longer intrude on all of the necessary decisions.  Mom will let me know if I have to pick up the reigns again.  I had a long talk with Mom last night.  Her biggest wish is for all of us to get along.  So, instead of going barefooted, I will have to put of shoes as I walk on eggshells for a while until things blow over.  I don't want to be a proud person who thinks that I am the only one who can do things the right way or the highway.  I am not an "all or nothing" sort of person.  I know a lot of people who are...that is their way to control a situation and that is what I am up against right now.  But, I also know that that is the way that the world operates.  God doesn't operate that way.  He can accomplish whatever needs to be accomplished.  So, Lord, today....I am not really handing over the reigns to my siblings...I am handing them over to YOU.  You will do whatever needs to be done for my mother.  All that I have to do is ask You and You will have it taken care of.  So, thank you Lord.  I am so happy to have you on our side!