college & career, lifestyle

Waving my White Flag.

Hi, my name is Kaylyn and I’m a control freak.

No, really.

Adding appointments to Google Calendar is exciting to me. My desk at work is covered in sticky notes. Email inboxes? — the less emails the better (read: zero).

I have an app for tracking how much I eat and exercise. A spreadsheet for what I spend. At times I even catch myself planning out relaxation time.

Want to be my friend yet?

Answer: No girl, you’re crazy.

In the transition from full-time student to full-time adult, I thought these control freak tendencies of mine would get better, but lately I feel like they’ve become more present in my life, not less so.

In the place of homework is actual, 9 to 5 work. Newspaper and yearbook meetings are replaced with appointments and staff retreats. Breaks from school become paid time off. Dinner in the dining hall turns into dinner at our apartment.

Don’t get me wrong, none of these changes are bad. They’re just that: changes. But I’m finding that I’m no less busy, no less prone to being a control freak, than when I felt like I was constantly running from one thing to the next in college.

I’m always going to be busy. I’m constantly going to be trying and failing to control the life happening around me. But one thing I’ve been learning in this season is the simple, yet beautiful fact that I don’t have to; I don’t have to be a slave to my schedule, to my emotions, to the ever-changing circumstances of the world. In fact, I don’t want to. Instead I’m choosing to take action. I’m choosing to surrender.

The act of surrender in and of itself doesn’t sound like much of an action. It’s passive, right? That’s what I thought, too, but more and more I’m coming to find that surrender—the choice to give up that pesky need to control—is as much an act of will as attempting to regulate each aspect of my life.

Because circumstances? — they can’t be controlled.
People? — definitely not.
Emotions? — you can try.
Your dog dying? — sadly, no.

Surrender—letting go and lifting up my plans, my hopes, my circumstances, my emotions—is as much a choice as holding those things close to my chest in an effort to enact my will. Waving that ubiquitous white flag is a harder choice, for sure, but I’m starting to find that surrender is a whole lot more refreshing than control, even when it’s scary.

Control is stifling. It’s unbreathable. And it’s oh so tightly wound that all those things I’m trying to hold on to are bound to break eventually, the plates I’m juggling prone to fall (especially since I’m a terrible juggler, in metaphor and in life).

So after my season of being a control freak (let’s be real, life of being a control freak), I’m learning to wave my white flag, not in defeat, but in acknowledgement that He who keeps the Earth spinning on its axis can keep my little 22 year-old world of coffee shops, friends, and cute brown and white dogs spinning, too.

Hi, my name is Kaylyn and I’m choosing surrender, not control. Life’s a whole lot more fun that way.

There’s no shame in looking like a fool when I give you what I can’t keep to take a hold of you.
—“Head to the Heart,” United Pursuit

Everything and nothing less, my best, my all. You deserve my every breath, my life, my song. I surrender, I surrender all.
—“Everything and Nothing Less,” Jason Ingram

words and photo by Kaylyn Deiter


Augustana University journalism and English graduate embarking upon post-grad life in Sioux Falls, SD. Full-time assistant to lead pastor at Embrace Church, part-time storyteller, all-times dog lover, decaf coffee drinker and Jesus fan.


  1. Gabrielle says

    Kaylyn, this is sooo beautiful and spot on. Spoke right to My heart and I couldn’t relate more. What’s helping me is trying to actively live in the moment. I love what you said about surrendering actually being an action too. So often we think that means that we aren’t doing anything. Or we’re lazy. But really it could be the most courageous and hardest thing we’ve done. Keep up the faith ❤️Praying for you

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