What a wooden dresser taught me about surrender

by Katie on January 28, 2015

A couple of weeks ago my husband Jeff and I assembled a new piece of furniture. A beautiful wooden dresser for our bedroom.

And we managed to put it together without any (major) arguments.

There was one minor snafu however. As we were putting the different pieces together, we realized we had forgotten to include two small wooden dowels. Jeff noticed our mistake. Thankfully you couldn’t even tell the dowels were missing. We were able to add some extra nails to the back to make sure everything was sturdy.

But it took all I had not to rip the dresser apart and fix the problem immediately.

I admit – I am a perfectionist mixed with a pinch of OCD. So to find out that the dresser wasn’t put together 150 percent correctly drove me crazy. Even though the dresser would be totally fine without the two dowels. They really weren’t even necessary. But the idea that the dresser wasn’t perfect totally bugged me. It got under my skin.

But I eventually moved on. It took (a lot) of reassurances from Jeff. But I finally accepted that the dowels were not going to be in their proper place. It wasn’t worth taking the whole dresser apart. By this point we had almost finished putting it together. I was going to have to let it go.

I was going to have to just surrender.

That seems so dramatic. Surrender? Because of a dresser?

But surrendering is exactly the thing I’m trying to do this year.

My New Year’s Intention

In recent years, instead of coming up with traditional New Year’s resolutions, I have chosen intentions for the upcoming year. Ways of being that I want to focus on, learn and embody.

This year one of my intentions is surrender.

I hesitated choosing this word because it is not easy. Especially for a self-described perfectionist with OCD tendencies.

But that is precisely why I chose surrender. Because that is exactly the thing I need to focus on.

So I’m choosing to surrender. To both the Big Life Things, and to the dressers missing their dowels.

So we forgot two wooden dowels? Surrender.

I misplaced a file at work. Surrender.

A small rock cracked our windshield. Ugh. Surrender.

What should my next career move be? Where should we be living in five years? Surrender. Surrender.

For me, surrender is letting go of the need for control and certainty. It is trusting that the universe is loving and is always taking care of us. And that everything will be okay.

So I let the dowels go. And our dresser did not fall apart. In fact, I am looking at it right now.

And it really is beautiful.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

rich archbold January 29, 2015 at 9:59 am


What a great story! And you are so right. It’s really hard to let go of things, especially if you think something wasn’t done exactly right, like your dresser. We want things to be “just so.” And most of the time that’s go. We don’t want to be sloppy, cut corners, cheat on doing our best. But sometimes we worry too much, especially about the future. I have this great book Larry Allison gave me, “Love is Letting Go of Fear.” Larry always used to tell me that 95 percent of things we worry about happening never happen.

Thank you for your insight and caring. Carpe diem!

Love you,



Katie January 29, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Thank you, Dad! Love you!


Diane January 29, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Hi Katie,

Love your dresser story. I think we all have a little OCD in us. I love your idea of intentions for this year. Surrender is also a big one for me. When dealing with food issues, I feel like a rat in a maze and the only thing that works is letting go and trusting not only in something greater than me but trusting my self as well. Sending you healing energy of love and light. Hugs. Diane


Katie January 29, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Thank you, Diane. Trusting in ourselves, as well as something greater than ourselves is so important. Sending you much love!


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: