This past weekend I was reminded that self-control and controlling other people can not co-exist in my life. I was getting anxious about situations in our family and fell back into my old pattern of controlling people and circumstances.
Of course I’m pretty good at “whipping” everything and everybody into shape, but things started unraveling fast inside of me. I was restless. I wanted to eat all sorts of things and I was avoiding God.
Fortunately I’ve learned, through much tears and many heartaches, to recognize these patterns in myself.
So I was back at the drawing board with God:
The Bible clearly says that self-control is part of the Fruit of the Spirit and “should” thus be part of every spirit filled Christian’s life. According to John 15 we will bear much fruit (including self-control) if we are plugged into the vine (Jesus). So having self-control means staying close to God, OBEYING GOD, and daily asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us control of ourselves.
However, no where in the Bible will you find any kind of command or even an indication that we are suppose to control other people and circumstances.
Now if you are immediately thinking “I’m not a control-freak” you might want to first read the following to make sure:
Controlling can be blatant or subtle. Trying to please people and keep everybody happy doesn’t seem like control, but by always pleasing others we actually try to control the way they see us, or even what they think of us.
Controlling others has a nasty side affect: It robs us of our self-control. If we learn to give the people and things that we can not really control over to God, we have enough peace to build and work on our relationship with God and as a result we see the fruit of the Spirit show up in our lives..
You girls know me by now: I want to know how it works in real life!
I’m seeing how every time I choose to give control over to God, I have more peace, more time (by not obsessing about others) and more self control.
Try it…next time you feel like controlling or pleasing someone else, ask God what you’re suppose to do. Something like this “Am I suppose to control/please this person Lord? Which part of this is my job and which is Your job?”
Okay, so I know it’s not that easy: What do you do with the anxiety, the pain and the stress surrounding the relationships you are currently trying to control?
Women have so much more stress that’s related to relationships than men. We want to fix everyone’s problems and keep everybody happy. But at what price? We loose control of our own lives!
One of the things I found that works wonders for this kind of stress: Girl friend time!
Get into a group or ask God to help you find friends with whom you can be real. I found that it’s easier to join a woman’s Bible study or a support group. The kind of”realness” that we all desperately need usually starts in these kind of groups, and lots of times it flows over into lifetime friendships.
God gave us each other, and nobody understands the needs, stress and worries of a woman like another woman. Please find a place where you can talk about the stress in your relationships.
Most women I know constantly put their own needs and wants on the back burner. So I guess it’s almost “normal”, but it doesn’t mean that we can keep doing it without damage to our lives. Our anxiety sometimes reach such high levels that we start looking around for a crutch such as food, alcohol, pornography or drugs.
Do you feel that you have little or no self-control left?
Please have a look at your relationships and circumstances. You might have the best of intentions in controlling people and circumstances, but it still robs you from the ability to control your own self.
Find a quiet place today where you can think and talk to God about control. If you give the control back to God you will feel peace come back to your life. In the light of that peace, you will be able to talk to Him more openly, and He will tell you why He created you in the first place
Don’t think for one minute that this is selfish. The most wonderful gift you can give your family and friends is to start taking care of your own wants and needs (spiritual, emotional and physical). If you do that, you will regain your self-control and will be able to sow love into their lives without controlling them.
I don’t say this lightly. I have to remind myself daily that by controlling others I am robbing myself of self-control. I need all nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit desperately in my life, so I keep giving the control that belongs to God back to Him…
From a ex control-freak