So if you have read very many of my Instagram posts, you know I am a self-proclaimed control freak. Well, I think I want to take that back. In preparation for this blog post, I did a little research (that sounds better than I googled it). Let me tell you, out there in the Internet, control freaks do not have a good reputation. One article basically said all control freaks were into porn and another described us like an abusive spouse. While I totally understand there are extreme people out there, I don’t think I fit into that group, nor do most of the “control freaks” I know. Maybe a better way to put it is that I like control. I don’t always have to be IN control, but I need for there TO BE control. I am totally fine if someone I trust is in control (humph! That’s loaded), I just need for there to be order and procedure and… well, control.
Regardless, a friend sent me a quote that really got me thinking about all this control. Mark Batterson, lead pastor at National Community Church said, “You can have faith or you can have control, but you cannot have both.” Well I must say when I read that, I was a little offended, only to hear Jesus clearing his throat in the background. Yep, it took me about two seconds to realize I was offended because I liked control, but also liked to claim I had faith. Yes, Jesus, I hear you. I got it!
Jesus got my wheels spinning and He began to show me how my need for control interrupted my desire and need for abiding. So I thought, why do I like control? Where does that come from? Through my “research” and personal experience, I came up with four reasons why I like control. But, I think it is also important to explain why it is okay to let that go…why it is okay to lose control.
1) Control gives a sense of certainty.
I can remember when my husband and I were dating, he would just drive the dirt roads with no destination in mind. He would turn this way or that. It didn’t matter. He was confident he would eventually get somewhere he recognized and then he’d head home. Ummm….Yeah…. No. That does not work for me. I do not like to just drive. I need to always know where I am – and an escape route if need be (Google Maps has really helped save our relationship in this area). I need that sense of certainty. I need to be able to predict what will happen next. I like for everything to fit into nice boxes. I need for everything to have a place. I need for life to be easy to understand. And I mean, I don’t think that is too much to ask, do you?!?
Well, actually, according to the Bible, it is. Me having everything planned out and figured out does not allow for God to do his work. He needs me to trust in Him. He needs me to trust in His surprises. He needs me to know that I may not understand everything about life. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” That is what God needs me to know. Nothing else. I need to trust in that. I don’t need to trust in my sense of certainty because I know where I am going and where I am at and that everything is in the right place. No. God just needs me to trust that he is going to work my life out for good.
2) Control tames insecurities.
Insecurity is like an addiction I have dealt with all my life. As a child, I was extremely shy because I was insecure. In high school, I avoided doing many activities because I just knew I would embarrass myself in the process. Public speaking used to bring me to tears. Through the strength of Christ and a true “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality, I have overcome most of that. In certain situations or around certain people, I feel myself fall back into those old insecurities, and I have to fight my way back.
Control, however, was another way I could handle those insecurities. It links back to needing that sense of certainty. If I could control or predict what may happen in the situation, then I could avoid doing anything embarrassing. Also, having things neat and organized gave me a sense of pride and therefore artificially and temporarily boosted my confidence.
But how can we be insecure and say we trust God at the same time, I mean, really? I am not good enough, yet I am one of His creations? We are all sinners, and that makes us all equal. And as believers we all have the same strength of Christ living in us, so again, we are all equal. And let’s be honest, I am not writing this because I am just that good. No, I am writing what God is leading me to write. This is all Him.
And with that being said, Matthew 6:24 reminds us that we cannot serve two masters because “he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” I cannot listen to the devil fill me with doubt, while serving God. If I do, I am devoting myself to the devil, as opposed to the work of God. On the other hand, if I choose to listen to God – which means I have to let go of the control – and ignore the devil, then I am showing my true hate for the devil and my love and devotion to God. Yes, losing control demonstrates our love for God.
3) Control helps manage worry.
If you remember, a huge part of my adult testimony is overcoming worry. Like my insecurities, it is something I continue to battle. I used to worry about EVERYTHING! Did I say everything, because I mean EVERYTHING! One of the ways I would deal with that worry is to plan and prepare, which is really just a nice way to say control. I mean as a teacher, in my early years, I would all but have the lesson written out word for word and have the handouts and supplies all laid out neatly. I would know every step I would take during the lesson because I thought that would prevent little Johnny from shooting spitballs at little Susie, and therefore prevent all other problems. And at home, with our finances, I would plan and figure and budget, all to make me feel like I was prepared for any impending financial disaster that may be around the corner.
But really, all that control didn’t help me manage my worry. If anything, it gave me something else to worry about, especially if I encountered a situation that I couldn’t plan and prepare for. I would just worry and toss and turn and pine over it until it probably never even happened. So managing my worry with control is like giving up bacon cheese burgers for pizza because at least pizza has vegetables. Yes, that rationale will still make me fat, just like control still causes me to worry.
So, where can I find an answer for this crazy rationale? In a just as bizarre way…I need to just lose control. Control was a band-aid to my lost and confused heart and I needed a cure. Thankfully, I know where to find it. Colossians 3:15 tells me “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” I let worry rule in my heart, and when I realized that was destructive, I let preparation rule in my heart. But I really needed God to rule my life – dare I say, control my life – and then my heart will be healed in many areas by His peace – a peace that comes with losing control.
4) Control is a response to fear.
Have you ever seen this before?
I have seen it many times and it does provide some comfort, but I have questioned it too. Does the Bible really say “Do not fear” 365 times? Several years ago, I set out on my own little myth busters. I wanted to count every “Do not fear” in the Bible. I didn’t make it very far, but as I look back on that time in my life I see that it was one more way I tried to control my fear, amongst other things.
At that time in my life, I was definitely afraid. My dad was diagnosed with cancer, and while it was not terminal, it was going to be life changing – and we will not even go into how much people, myself included, fear change. My daddy is a rock to many people, especially me, so this was hard to swallow…as if it is ever easy. Daddy claimed Joshua 1:9 over the situation. It says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Looking at this verse today and even while I was counting the “Do not fears” I find something else stands out. Nearly each time God says “Do not fear” He also says I am with you. Now that is something worth counting. How many times does God remind us that he is with us? All the time, and He was definitely with my daddy as Daddy handed God control of the situation.
But don’t you see? God is with us all the time. When we lose control, intentionally or unintentionally, He is there to take over. He wants us to allow Him control of the situation and when we fight with Him we only make it worse. He wants to be our sense of certainty. He wants us to find our security and confidence in Him. He wants to give us peace that surpasses understanding and overshadows every worry. And He wants us to realize fear is from the devil and faith is from Him. He wants us to just lose control…