If you were to look up the word “control” in a dictionary, you would find a number of different ways to describe this one word.
Here are a few:
As a noun…..
“the power to influence or direct people's behavior or the course of events.”
“the restriction of an activity, tendency, or phenomenon.”
“the power to restrain something, especially one's own emotions or actions.”
“a means of limiting or regulating something.”
“a group or individual used as a standard of comparison for checking the results of a survey or experiment.”
As a verb...
“Maintain influence or authority over.”
“remain calm and reasonable despite provocation.”
Wow. Notice the words that are used to help describe this word…”restriction”...“limiting”....“maintain”....
When I think of control, I have a mixture of emotions. I certainly feel this need to maintain something...I feel this tension and desperation to restrict things around me. To make things that seem big, small so that I can keep them in my pocket where they’ll be safe...and under control.
It’s too much sometimes, ya know? It’s this constant power struggle between myself and...what? Who do I think I’m fighting exactly?
I think deep down those of us who struggle with having control, actually suffer from a desire for safety. Complete, 100%, beautiful, safety.
It actually makes me tear up to think about it. Sometimes I think i am so close to this safety, and all I need to do in order to achieve it is reach a little further. I run around frantically, completing all of my tasks as if I’m not even breaking a sweat, so that I can control the way people perceive. I drink just one more cup of coffee so that no one will notice my lack of energy. Just a tiny bit more makeup so that nobody will notice the bags under my eyes.
Yet the safety I feel after I make it through a day, only lasts so long, because there is always tomorrow...and tomorrow….and tomorrow….
And wow. Control has control over me. It beats me down, and makes me worry. It tells me lies of, “just push a little more, Christy and you’ll be fine.” It feeds me instructions that only lead to more lies.
When I read these definitions of this word, I gain perspective. I realize that by seeking control, I’m missing out on something. If I stopped “limiting” or “regulating” something, what would be on the other side of that?
I honestly don’t know if I know...I don’t think I have given up control long enough.
I’ve been thinking lately, about how much I need to breathe. I just need to stop and take a breath. See, I know very well the feeling of losing control.
My heart starts racing, my mind goes to deeply irrational places, my palms start sweating, and I can’t get things to stop spinning round and round.
I felt this very thing this past week. I felt like I was watching something fall apart and I didn’t have enough arms to reach out and grab the falling pieces.
Right as I was trying to get a grip of myself, I decided that I just wanted to listen to music. Realizing that I just bought a brand new pair of headphones, I grabbed some scissors and tried to free the unopened pack.
Side note: Who the heck decided to make headphone packages a jail sell!?
I started going at this poor package hard as I tried to open it up. My suite mates were watching me with this look like I was a crazy person and I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I felt myself growing angry and frustrated and heated. My eyes began to burn as I fought back stupid, frustrating tears.
Silly, isn’t it?
As I finally released the trapped pair of headphones, I thought to myself, “well at least I have this under control.”
That’s when it hit me. I know this feeling too well. I am much too friendly with this feeling of constantly fighting and striving and pushing. And it leads me to what...feeling relieved that at least I can open a pack of brand new ear buds?
I realized that I know this feeling much too well, and I am missing something much more valuable…
Do I know true freedom? Could I release this bitter desire within me to take control for something more sweet?
I was very frustrated that night.
I went to my room and I doodled words. Words are beautiful aren’t they? And they reveal so much truth to my aching, thirsty, heart.
This is what the Lord gave to me that night…
Psalm 91:1, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
I chase after control all the live long day, because I am desperate to feel safe.
I listen to the lies, because what they offer is temporary shelter.
And yet, my God offers me a permanent shadow...and not just any shadow. The shadow of the “Almighty.” And all I must do to receive this safety, is to dwell and be present with my Father.
That sounds so beautiful.
The most peaceful music…
I prayed one of the most honest prayers of my heart that night. It was a prayer that was not concerned with bringing my best self to my Father. It wasn't filled with the makeup, and the coffee, and the smiles. It was authentic and breathless, and full of tears, and honesty. I think that night, I may have given up, at the very least, a tiniest bit of control. Baby steps. I think I might just be on my way to freedom...
Give up control.
Choose a deeper relationship with a Father who will offer you more safety and peace that control could never give you.