It starts when we’re babies – it is a very small world. We have needs and our cry can upset the whole house and have everyone running to find the thing that will silence our cries – fill the need – change the diaper – ANYTHING! We learn at a young age that we are indeed the center of the universe – and everyone will cater to my every whim. We find our ‘control freak’.
Unfortunately as we grow – we find out that we are not the center of the universe – but we still try to ‘have our own way’ by exerting our will – exercising our ‘control freak’ – and often times dealing with the consequences from Mom and Dad.
After we’re grown we carefully cultivate our ‘control freak’ – that selfish part of us that feels the need to manipulate our circumstances and the people in it – especially if we feel threatened – or not safe – we feel the need to exercise our right to be heard – all in the name of Christian love. All in the name of ‘self protection’.
The ‘control freak’ in me may not look the same as yours. I’ve never been classified as a ‘typical’ controlling personality – quite the opposite in fact. But it’s still in there. It’s in all of us. It’s called self. And I have a great deal of it – and so do you.
As life goes on and things happen to ‘rock my world’ – the ‘self’ part of me goes into protective mode. Each time I am ‘jabbed’ or ‘hurt’ I want to lash out uncontrollably. I want to redirect my control – order my own steps – manipulate my circumstances to move around the hurt and pain. But I have learned to control that beast that is inside me – I’ve learned to hold him down. I have learned self-control over my ‘control freak’.
And with eyes tightly shut and my grasp on my iron will firmly situated – I proceed through life – quietly controlling what lies beneath.
I am so carefully controlled that I won’t realize the ‘control freak’ inside of me is really there – until something happens to rock my world – or someone comes along to challenge me. And then I realize I have my fingers tightly grasped around the ‘safe place’ deep down inside. With each incident in life – I push down hard against my ‘carefully guarded’ heart – so that no one sees what is really there – and what I’m really capable of thinking, doing or saying.
I want my way. I want to control my life. I want to feel accepted. I want to be safe, happy and loved. I want – I need – me, me, ME!!!!
This is such a learned and ‘safe’ approach to life – that soon I feel justified and even self-righteous for feeling this way. Aren’t I supposed to be safe and happy? Loved and accepted? Of course. But what if God is asking me to step away from my ‘controlled’ environment and tight grasp on the ‘freak’ inside – and do something where I will feel I have no control? What if something happens to me and I have absolutely no way of resolving the situation? What if I have to do something really scary – and let go of my firm grasp of my ‘world’ and everything in it? What if He asks me to open my eyes – and release my ‘control freak’ to Him?
I’ve been asked to do this – not once but several times. There are no easy answers for life’s big mysteries involving friends and family. I do not have control over my circumstances. Oh – I can close my eyes again and try to hang on for dear life – while things swirl around me and hope and pray that I will not be affected – but in reality my trying to grasp whatever control I may think I have – will be stripped from me in the end and I will be left in a big heap on the floor trying to figure out, what happened?
When I release the ‘control freak’ inside of me – to God – He has a way of handling my stress – way better than I can. He does not want us to carry any of the control. He gently whispers to me, “let it go“. And though it is a scary prospect – I know I must do as He asks me. But does God really know how to handle my situation? I mean can God really do it the right way? The way I want Him to? What if He doesn’t? What then? Can I trust Him? Can I completely let it go? I mean – completely take my fingers off and just – let go?
Sometimes I think I understand. Sometimes I think I even come close to really ‘getting it’ – and then it will happen again. Another hurt, another jab – and – Whammo – I’m back in that hole of self-protection – trying to figure out a way to have a great ‘come back’ – to lash out and explain myself – to try to figure it out on my own. My default setting. My much learned – and carefully protected human response to pain and confusion.
And then the gentle words of Jesus come to me:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
Is your load heavy today? Are you carrying around the ‘control’ in your life? Do you self protect – even to the point where you are unafraid to give the control over to God – ever? Afraid He won’t do something the way you want Him to? Afraid He will ask you to ‘release’ something in your life you don’t want to?
I want to encourage you to release the ‘control freak’ inside – take Him at His word – He can handle it – He will do it right. His way is the best way. It will be all right. Trust Him.
Go ahead. Let go. Release your ‘control freak’ today.