My friend, Tim once called it sideways energy. The amount of energy you have to expend in order to either maintain power or simply survive through a crisis. It’s energy that is being used up on everything that is not life giving. Maintaining a certain way of life regardless of whether it’s hurting you or not. You feel like you’re trying to keep all the plates spinning, but they are starting to fall. All of them. At the same time. You feel like you’re drowning and you cannot get enough air. That is sideways energy. This is losing control.
Control is a nasty disease that infiltrates our hearts in subtle ways at first. As we become more “successful” and work our way up whatever ladder we’re on, our desire for control grows more and more. It’s the idea that those who have a lot, have a lot more to lose. It’s no coincidence that those who are the most impoverished in our world are also the most generous. Those who have little understand what it’s like to have little and are willing to spread what little “wealth” they may have. And those who have a lot in this world, on paper look like they give a lot, but when analyzing it based on precentage they fall way short of their “less fortunate” brothers.
The same can be said of anything, really. Organizations, the notorious 1% we hear so much about in today’s politics, governments, even in churches. It seems that the more our reputation grows (and for some that may simply mean our portfolio), the more we aim at protecting it. Failure looks like a failure, not someone who believed in something enough to take a risk. Being generous is accepted, unless it’s becoming too generous. Then you simply look like a fool. Being wise stewards becomes code for hoarding what we have. And faith looks much more like a well thought out, methodical, flawless plan than a strong conviction in something not yet seen or has come to realization. Anything less is just unwise.
I can speak about this particular issue seeing how it is one of struggles I have. It causes distrust of everyone around you. You may not even realize it. You may be completely blind to your actions of distrust, but everyone else sees and feels it. It causes you to put yourself in the position of God, telling Him He is not worthy of that position. His sovereignty is no longer believed. It’s grasping at everything you can to maintain it, only to leave a massive wake of destruction behind you. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking.
Saul had this same problem (among many others in Scripture). He finally did himself in. He was not self aware. Becoming more self aware is an important part of growing up. Thankfully I am becoming more self aware. Though, I’ll never “arrive” at total self awareness, I am human after all. But it is a growing process.
When we need control of other people before we trust them, then our relationships are narrowed down to surround ourselves with ourselves.-Danny Silk
Control blinds us. Control is what allows us to hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see. Control is what will cause us the very thing we are trying not to be by controlling so much. I’ve noticed that as well. As much as I don’t want to be that thing over there, the more I control situations and people around me, the more I become that thing. Kind of like Paul-I do want I don’t want to do and don’t do what I want to do.
So, what’s a person to do? Well, first, if you automatically think you don’t have a problem with control, that’s a good sign that you do. Humility is part of this life of understanding Christ and ourselves in Him. If we don’t think we have problems, then are we really submitting ourselves to God?
Second, What is it that gets you worked up? In other words, what are you trying not to be? Figure out the behavior of what you don’t want to be and work backwards to see if you are acting out in some of the same ways. This will take humility, and a lot of honesty with yourself (something that many people are afraid of).
Third, spend time in quiet reflection (another thing that freaks people out). Ask the Spirit to speak to you and show you if their are phrases that you keep hearing, reactions of people towards you that keep repeating, or if people are avoiding you. There might be something deeper going on that you just aren’t able to see. Quiet reflection and….time. Time spent in the Spirit’s presence will allow Him to speak. And in that time and honesty, He will reveal things to you.
Fourth, seek out someone who is trustworthy, honest with themselves, vulnerable and who has admitted to having control issues before. They should be able to guide you and if nothing else, point you in the direction of recovery resources/groups. That sounds scary, but admitting it and starting to own it shows a weakness that Jesus can begin to show His strength. That’s called freedom.
This is not a one time through and you’re done kind of thing, it’s a lifetime of growing more aware of yourself and Christ in you. Freedom!
As you look through those four points, does anything stick out? Have you found before you read this that you had control issues? What did you do? If you have found that you have control issues after reading this, how’s your journey through this going?
be blessed today