My guest today is Pearl Allard. I met Pearl, first when I spoke at her church, and then we’ve become fast friends when she attended the Breathe Writer’s Conference in Grand Rapids, and then helped on my book’s Launch Team.
If you followed my launch at all last year, you might have seen Pearl modeling “Control Girl”–LOL! When she shared the photo to the left, she wrote, “If anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be reading Control Girl.” Isn’t she fun?
Here is Pearl’s story about attending an event, where I was speaking and introducing my Control Girl book, here in Grand Rapids–which is about an hour away from where Pearl lives. I hope you’ll enjoy this post, and check out Pearl’s blog, “Look Up Sometimes“.
I fretted the whole one-hour drive to Hudsonville, Michigan to hear Shannon Popkin speak about her new book, Control Girl. The weather was decent for a mid-November evening, but it was a Thursday night and my husband was working out of town. I’d left the kids at home in capable grandfather hands. But still, I worried.
What if the kids were too tired to get up for school the next morning? What if someone was seriously injured and I was an hour’s drive away? What if my son had an allergic reaction? (Even though we keep nothing in the house he could react to.) What kind of a mom was I anyway— leaving my kids to go to an event on a school night? Should I turn around and call the whole thing off?
I know about turning worry to prayer. So you better believe I prayed!
I reminded God that my son had allergies.
I made sure He remembered that He loved my kids more than I did.
And I let Him know I wasn’t opposed to breaking the speed limit if I heard about any serious injuries.
When I pulled into a parking space at the host church, new worries took over. In all my fretting, I hadn’t considered the fact I’d come to this event alone. Would I know anyone? Where would I sit? What if no one talked to me? What if the whole evening was awkward? I took a deep breath.
My first fear was confirmed when I stepped foot into the sanctuary and scanned the crowd. Out of probably a hundred women, I knew no one – except the speaker, and I had only met her twice. Great. My stomach performed maneuvers the Blue Angels would envy.
The negative thought loop lunged into action. No one is going to talk with you. Why would they want to? You have nothing to offer. No one wants to be your friend. See how everyone else came with someone? Except you. A little crazy, aren’t you?
Exchanging Lies for Truth
It was finally obvious these were the enemy’s lies. Of course I had something to offer! I was a loyal friend, and maybe I came alone, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t or wouldn’t make new friends. In fact, looking around at all those women, I figured most of them were my sisters in Christ. How wonderful is that? I’m sitting in a room full of friends I just haven’t met yet!
With that determined new mindset, I ventured another step to introduce myself to a few women before Shannon started speaking. After Shannon finished, I encouraged myself to do it again. Those two girls over there? They look friendly.
“Hey, don’t mean to crash your party, just wanted to see if either of you are on Shannon’s launch team?” I asked. It was the start of a conversation that turned into connection and laughter. Bree and Becca were just two of the sweet women I met.
(Here’s a photo of a group of us that went out to eat after that event. From the left: Brie, Shannon, Pearl, Brittney, Debbie Jo, Lindsay, and Katie.)
Take it All
After a fulfilling night of connection and spiritual reflection, I sat in my car and reflected over the experience. I dictated a voice memo into my phone so I would remember.
I was trying to title the thoughts “Take It All,” (like an act of surrender to God – the opposite of being a Control Girl), but somehow Siri thought I said “Take It Off”! I laughed at the misinterpretation. But then I wondered if maybe joining both titles was the most appropriate of them all: Take it all off my shoulders God – my fretting, my choking worries, my anxiety – and help me move within Your freedom.
I chuckled at the irony of that night. I’d been given two “small arrow” opportunities—as Shannon calls them in the last chapter of her book. I could have turned my car around when the panic rose. Or I could have let the awkwardness of arriving alone keep me tied up with anxiety. But I didn’t! Instead of grasping for control (which is anxiety’s back-firing weapon) I invited God’s comfort, direction, and security. I left my kids in capable hands—ultimately His. And I stepped outside my comfort zone, or rather expanded it, and met some wonderful people as a result.
The Opposite of Control
My experience that night underscored the truth of the message in Control Girl: “The only way any Control Girl of the Bible ever found the security, peace, and joy she was longing for was when she did the opposite of taking control – when she surrendered to God and made her story all about him. It’s the same for us today. Jesus invites us to follow him on a path of surrender to a place where God is in control and we are free.” (Control Girl, p. 15)The only way any Control Girl of the Bible ever found the security, peace, and joy she was longing for was when she did the opposite of taking control – when she surrendered to God and made her story all about him. --Control Girl, p. 15 Click To Tweet
Friend, which path will you choose today? Control or Surrender?
Pearl Allard loves the amazing way, during growth, sunflowers track the sun’s movement with their buds. Her goal is to be a growing Son-follower who tracks the Son of God’s movements with her life.
Pearl blogs weekly at Look Up Sometimes with the purpose to nourish Son-followers to grow in grace. Pearl is happily-mostly-aftered to her hero of fourteen years and is stay-at-home mama to two crazy-wonderful kids in Southwest Michigan.