Do you struggle with control?
Jasmine’s dad lost his job when she was in fifth grade. She felt scared and was worried about what would happen to her family. As a child, that situation left her feeling powerless and still haunts her even as an adult. As a result, she became a workaholic, and although well off financially, she worries constantly about never having enough money.
What is control?
Control- being attached to a specific outcome that you believe in and doing everything to make it happen.
We gain a false sense of security and become self-reliant by holding tight to control. Ultimately we bypass our need for God.
How does control play out in our lives?
The only way Jasmine felt secure was if she was in control of situations, people, and events around her. But she was unhappy. She had really high expectations of herself that were unrealistic. Jasmine was always frazzled and stressed from taking responsibility that was not hers, to begin with. She didn’t trust anyone to do a good job.
Control can lead to self-loathing and not valuing ourselves and others. Controlling behaviors can show up in the form of perfectionism, workaholism, inability to trust, constant worry, striving, and manipulation. In addition, control includes rigidity and having an all or none attitude which often creates tension in relationships.
Can you relate? Which of these controlling traits do you identify with?
While you and I may have an illusion of control, we need to relinquish control to God to be free and happy.
What is at the Root of Controlling Attitudes?
Control is rooted in fear.
And fear is rooted in what-ifs, what then, and circumstances beyond our control. For example, fear of abandonment in marriage, not having enough, or feeling unsafe can cause us to take matters into our own hands like Jasmine. Rather than depend on God, we try to feel safe by controlling our circumstances.
For instance, Sarai was barren for many years. God promised to bless Sarai and Abram with a son. But it seemed God wasn’t moving fast enough, so she asked Abram to have a child through her maid (Genesis 16:1-8).
Fear led Sarai to control the situation. What if God fails to come through? Can I trust him? She tried to help God but, in the process, made a mess. Sarai’s controlling behavior not only led to conflict between her, Abram, and her maid, Hagar, but today it’s at the root of the Arab-Israel conflict (Genesis 16:12).
How to Let Go of Control and Be Free
- Meditate on God’s Character to reshape your thinking.
God is Sovereign. He is the Master Designer in control of people, events, creation, and all things (Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 46:10). Meditating on God’s character will help you release your grip on control and trust him.
Every time you read scripture, make a note of God’s character in your journal or notebook. As you meditate on your list, remind yourself who God is and recall how you’ve experienced him by each character. For example, your list may look like this, God is:
Faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)
Loving (Psalm 136:2)
Holy (Isaiah 6:3)
Gracious and compassionate (Psalm 103:8)
Forgiving (Psalm 103:3)
Almighty (Isaiah 10:33)
God is worthy of our trust. When we decide to receive God’s love in our hearts, we can let go of control. Consider praying and asking God to help you relinquish control and move the knowledge of his love from your head to your heart.
- Recognize the fears underlying your need for control and release them
Notice your feelings when fear creeps in. Fear sends your mind into a tailspin of what-ifs, which leads to mental chaos and confusion. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), and you can trust him.
Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Imagine releasing each fear into God’s hands. As you do this, replace your fear with God’s truth.
Let’s say you are worried about your finances; you can release your fears and replace them with a prayer such as Lord, I acknowledge my financial struggles and trust you as my provider. You do not withhold good things from those who trust in you. I trust you, Lord.
Repeat this process as many times as needed throughout your day.
Whenever you and I are tempted to take control, we can release the circumstances and remind ourselves that God is big enough to handle any situation. He is Sovereign, and His ways are always the best.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
- Don’t quit — Recognize that letting go of control is a process.
Letting go of control is a process and not a one-off event. It requires adopting a new mindset.
With God’s help, you will be successful in your transformation journey and be free from controlling attitudes and fear. Using these three ways, you can stay on track and keep from falling back into old control patterns. Be patient with yourself. Change takes time. Let go of control and yield to God.
God’s love for you is unshakable, and nothing can ever separate you from his love.
Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10.
Do you want to let go of control and live free?
Wherever you are on this control spectrum, you can be free.
In Christ, you and I are free to enjoy the rich and abundant life Christ’s sacrifice purchased for us on the cross, but we must be willing to yield to him.
Christ has freed us so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. Therefore, be firm in this freedom, and don’t become slaves again. Galatians 5:1 (GV)
With coaching, Jasmine received help to uncover the root of her controlling behavior. She practices meditating on God’s character, regularly identifying her underlying fears, and replacing them with God’s truth. She has adopted a new mindset of grace and compassion toward herself. Practicing these tips keeps the monster of control in check. In her testimonial, she writes, “I am still a work in progress but thank God I am not where I used to be.”
Friend, let God’s character guide you towards loosening your grip on control so you can embrace your freedom in Christ and be happy.
How does control affect your marriage and relationships with your children and others?
Lord, I confess and give up my need for control. I surrender my life, spouse, children, grandchildren, career, plans, and dreams. Thank you for aligning my heart with your purpose for my life. Thank you for setting me free from controlling attitudes and helping me trust you completely. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Want to let go of controlling attitudes so you can live a rich and satisfying life? Book a FREE Discovery Call today to discuss how I can help you.