Breathe Writer’s Conference in Grand Rapids, and then helped on my book’s Launch Team.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
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.
Beautiful post. I love this message. Pearl has taught me so much about control after reading your book, and I so relate to these fears. Thanks for writing such entertaining wisdom, Pearl! And thanks for sharing this, Shannon!
Rebekah, I wish I could introduce you to Shannon in person! I love how writing influences writers and works in win-win situations!
Hi Rebekah! I love that Pearl is always sharing what she learns with such humility and grace. Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings to you.
God bless you too! And I have to tell you, from just the little I’ve read of your book, it has totally transformed my own writing. Pearl can tell you. She critiqued some of my first draft and tactfully sent me excepts of your book because mine was so far off the mark. God used it and mine has been shaped by the little I read. I’m craving the rest of it. Mine is on The Power of a Woman. And your Control Girl mindset shaped the foundation. So thank you!
Rebekah, sorry I missed this comment earlier. That is amazing! Sounds like you have a very teachable heart.
And wow! I have dreamed big about how God might use my writing, but I have never considered that my words might help bring shape to others’! How cool is that?
Thanks so much for this encouragement. Love, Shannon
Great post, Pearl! Sounds like a fantastic book!
Thanks for commenting, Emily!
Thank you, Emily! I’m looking forward to reading your debut novel, Justice, too. 🙂
“Take it all off my shoulders God – my fretting, my choking worries, my anxiety – and help me move within Your freedom.” What fabulous words of wisdom.
Janyre, I have to agree. And it’s not arrogant. That was Shannon’s magical editing at work right there.
Wonderful post. I am a recovering “control girl” in many ways that alcoholics are referred to as being recovering. It’s a constant struggle to not just give it to the Lord but leave it with Him and not take it back. I was Controller of a law firm some time ago and I remember my husband musing – “controller, perfect job title for you”. He who created me is far more able than I.
HisDaughter, thanks for reading/commenting. I have a friend who’s a controller, and we joke about her title, too. 🙂
Yes, like and addict, (and like you) I don’t think I’ll ever be completely “over” my control issues, either. Thankfully the Lord doesn’t ever throw up his hands. Yes, our Creator is ABLE!
I love it! Some things need our control. People? Not so much. I love your vulnerability. I’m with you.
Pearl, it was a joy to meet you that night and meet a few times since. Truth definitely gives me courage to overcome my anxieties. So grateful you bravely faced the obstacles to join us. I came alone that night, too.
Debbie Jo, you’re brave and beautiful. It takes guts to go somewhere alone. So glad we both left not alone! Hugs!
It was delightful to sit around the table that night and get acquainted. Shannon has certainly brought people together. I’ve gone through her book 3x. . . because I needed it!
I loved this! Of course, I always tell Pearl that her posts are so timely because…well they are. And maybe that’s because they’re so true to the heart of what we face in our everyday lives. Pearl’s transparency and vulnerability as a writer, wife, mom, and daughter of God, always shine forth. I’m blessed to call her my friend and sister in Christ. Thanks, Pearl, for the message, and thank you, Shannon, for having her share here on your lovely site!
Dear Jesus, please help me live up to that! Melissa, thank you for your continual encouragement. You are a precious sister in Christ. I am SO excited for your future endeavors in writing and dear Jesus, please give Melissa success as You’ve defined that for her. Hugs, sister!!