Who’s controlling your life? What’s controlling your life? When trouble comes do you try to control the situation to your advantage? Or will you place the problem in God’s hand? Or will you manipulate others to get your own way with your controlling behavior?
Are you a controller or someone who is easily controlled by another person? Unravelling the truth about control issues reveals different emotions behind this. Many of us may not even recognize controlling behaviour until we hit a wall and we’ve had enough.
Domestic violence, whether emotional or physical, result from underlying control issues where one partner tries to control the other partner or family member. Many prisons are overpopulated by men (some women too) who have fallen into bullying behavior due to emotional issues that have not been dealt with.
When we accepted Jesus as our Savior we submitted our lives to God’s control trusting Him with our life. Accordingly, as followers of Christ our eternal salvation is safe but trusting God in normal life situations takes faith.
Did we really mean it when we said “I surrender all”?
Why do many of us want to take back control when we should let God establish our lives according to His plan? Do we believe that He is able to take care of everything that pertains to our lives?
The opposite of faith is fear.
Often we exhibit fear when our circumstances change, even in some small way. Slowly fear becomes the elephant in the room. We may not recognize the feeling of fear that controls us, and we don’t understand our behaviors. We want to keep our hands on the situation because we don’t trust.
The mind can be full of scary thoughts. Fear wants to control others, especially those close to us. It’s not a healthy situation when one spouse wants to tell the other what to do or how to do it. This was my problem early on in our marriage. I wanted to control my husband’s choice of clothes, and how he conducted his business, and even what he should eat at a restaurant!
One fruit of the spirit is self-control, and not the control of others.
Why the fear?
Anxiety is linked to the fear. The controller’s self-worth needs boosting at the expense of the other person.
I think part of my own control issues stem from childhood. As the first-born of a large family I developed responsibility at a very young age. Controlling behaviors were rarely questioned which allowed me to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. These carried into adulthood and into my own family.
Micromanaging others and keeping order can become excessive and even develop into obsessive compulsive disorder (in extreme cases). Overprotective parenting is an example of controlling behavior. As a high school teacher I witnessed many parents overcompensating for their children at parent-teacher interviews. They had all kinds of excuses, and even tried to control the teacher. Other parents allowed their children to reap the consequences of failure.
How do we let go of the need to control others?
We can ask for God’s help. Let go of fear and anxiety. Trust God to lead us into the truth and allow him to fill us with his love. And renew our mind.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
Sometimes therapy helps to unravel the root cause. We often quote the Word that says the truth will set you free. Not true. The truth that is uncovered, acknowledged and applied to life is what sets us free.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32 GNV)
When control issues become chronic and threaten a marriage or family, then it’s time seek help and make changes. Seeking emotional healing is not a lack of faith for Christians, but shows discernment. When listening to preaching, praying and reading the Word has not brought the freedom then it’s okay to seek professional help. Sometimes we need wise counsel before we can apply the Word to our lives.
Letting go takes believing and putting our trust in God. It’s more than knowing that God is good and that He is with me. It’s action. Stretching out our hand and placing the burden in God’s hand while at the same time thanking Him that he will take care of the situation. It’s throwing yourself at God’s grace and walking away empty handed with a peaceful heart. It’s an exchange!
Trusting takes effort compared to exhibiting fear. The mind is lazy and easily accepts fear in stressful situations. A disciplined mind brings forth answers and a heart that trusts God.
Will you trust or will you fear? Who or what is controlling your life? When trouble comes, what’s your first reaction?