I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Deep Thought Thursday: Control Freaks

I am a recovering control freak. No, I mean it. I used to want to be in control at all times, no matter the situation. If I couldn’t be in full control of the whole deal (whatever it happened to be) then I was content to be in control of part of it. That way I would know at least something would get done right.

Been there? Not sure? No idea what I’m talking about? Well, let me define a control freak and see if that clarifies anything.

Control: 1. To check; to govern. 2. To overpower; to subject to authority. 3. To have superior force, or authority over.

Freak: A person who is excessively enthusiastic, possessed by a frenetic zeal.

So we could say a person who is a control freak is a person who has an excessive zeal about being in charge; having authority or direction over something or someone.

Is it a little clearer now? It’s basically about being in control of things and situations in which you find yourself. Know what it reminds me of? School. And group projects.

I, for one, hated them. I was always a good student, and I’d inevitably get stuck with all the dummies. Or the lazy people. There was NO WAY I was going to let them ruin my grade, so I did all the work. I would write note cards for them to use on presentation day, and coach them all along the way to ensure they were prepared with the info I gave them. And I would make extra cards in case they lost the originals. And I would ignore any offers of information they would happen to try and contribute. The only problem with this is that my partners never learned anything, and I never had rest! I was always running, looking up stuff, writing, calling them, and complaining about all the work!

Our Christian life, like it or not, is a group project. We are one body. We minister together; organize prayer groups, Bible study, discipleship, fellowship etc. One person cannot and should not attempt to do it all alone!

I think it would be helpful to list some characteristics of control freaks so we can recognize whether we fit the definition. You know control freaks are in everything! They think that (even if they are not consciously aware of this) everything would run much smoother "if I were somehow involved". This results in several things, the first of which is:

1. Constant Burn Out

a. You never look forward to events. It's always work because you’re always in charge. You’re out six/seven days a week “doing ministry” (which seldom includes your family in one place) and you feel guilty you aren’t doing more.

b. You also can’t enjoy the ministry, because to you it’s about performance and appearances. You worry constantly about where things are placed, who is showing up, if the schedule is being followed, if there’s enough food, if the food in good enough.

c. You are resentful that no one else had stepped up and you are doing everything yourself. Again. However, people may have asked to help but you considered them substandard workers and didn’t trust them.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Weariness is a sign of unrest. Duh. But this weariness can be emotional (mental stress) or physical (actual lack of sleep.) How can we avoid becoming tired of ministry? It’s related to emotional weariness, which causes complaining. When we experience emotional weariness in relation to the Lord’s work, we need to check our motives to discover why we’re doing what we’re doing. Sometimes the answer may surprise us.

I John 2:16, 17 "All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

Worldly, fleshy attitudes can creep up if we’re not careful. Make sure you are not doing things because they make you look good, or add to your spiritual resume, but because they are the will of God for you specifically. Many times we think if something is to be done for the church, or related to women’s ministry, that we don’t need to pray about our involvement. We factor God out of it from the very beginning! Which leads to our next characteristic:

2. No Rest

Most women have (unknowingly) yoked themselves to family, friends, leadership, ministry, personal devotions, laundry, discipleship, training our kids, fellowship, entertainment.

A yoke is something that binds two things together and forces them to go in the same direction. The problem is that many times we yoke ourselves to things that pull us all over the place!

Matthew 11:28-30 says: Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29)Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

These verses remind us to yoke ourselves to Christ alone. He leads us only in one direction: to the Father! We also need to learn of Jesus because He never did anything out of pride, or because He didn’t trust others. He did only what was the will of God for Him. We can learn so much from Him!

There is much more in the study I’ve done, but I will stop here for now. If you are interested in having the full copy, leave a comment with your email. Let’s examine our hearts and motives, and see if we’re doing the will of God, or fulfilling a power craving. Jesus can set us free from this!!

And His peace is way better than any comfort I used to have from trying to be in charge all the time.


  • Anonymous

    I live in Roodepoort! Other than work hours (8:30-4:30) I am quite often more available than not. We're a bit apart and could meet somewhere in the middle. With the ministry and a full family I think you're the busier one, so let me know what your best available times/dates are!

  • Brenda

    Oh I've been there! And now I've stepped away and am watching how really unecessary all the things someone else has now taken over just might be. Because it's affecting THEIR family. I think churches are a bit too busy with "events" anyway. But that's not what this post is about.

    I think when we yoke ourselves to Christ alone, we can see how really simple God's plan for us is. We make it so hard.

  • WendyMom

    I think my tendencies in this area tend to come from growing up in a chaotic home where it was assumed that, "Wendy doesn't need anything, she's the only one whose OK"- I learned at a young age to do it all for myself, because I couldn't trust anyone else anyway. Sad.

    PRAISE THE LORD, He has delivered me from all of that mess. He continues to show me areas where I have assumed control again, and gently leads me to release to Him. Experiencing the loss of a baby this year was the final straw for me- I truly gave every aspect of my life to the Lord for His use- no holding back certain areas (like "my" kids). No more "trying" to make things work, no more "worrying" about things- it all goes to Him.

    I also ask Him to guide every step of my day from start to finish, order my time, and show me things that are getting in the way of His will for my life. It has been a great time of learning for me- do please send me the email of the rest of your study- I would love to read it. I love you my friend-

  • Janice

    Yes, yes, and yes. I actually started the practice of REALLY asking my husband his judgment on my involvement. (instead of just saying I would, and then not really because I know he would tell me to say no... and saying yes before I ever talked with him!)

    I have best learned this lesson through my kids. I am now very OK with the towels in the linen cupboard being folded in something less than exactly thirds and not color arranged! I have also learned that they do a very good job even without my constant supervision! And I have some free time now! Wow!

  • Aunt Bossy

    You know, usually I can totally relate to your posts--it's almost as if you're in my head, articulating my very thoughts. But this one...no idea what you're talking about. Don't get it at all.

    (snork, chortle, choke)

    Um, yeah. I learned to let go in the area of ministry years ago--I was blessed to witness wise leadership and observed the blessings that come when you delegate responsibilities to others. So I've had practice saying "no" (did so a few times this fall) and not feeling bad about it. Not that I could be a true Bossy and feel bad about saying "No." It's in my blood...

    But around the house? I know I'm the wife & primary keeper of the home, but right now we're childless and both working. Therefore, both of us need to contribute to household maintenance. And when we were first married, I didn't let UB do hardly any of it because he DIDN'T DO IT MY WAY. He took FOREVER and I couldn't stand to watch so I'd just do it. And then be cranky that I was doing all the work.

    Then I fell down the stairs, cracked my right arm, and had to let him help me. And, come to find out, even though it takes him twice as long to do something, he CAN do it! And that means I can do something else and it all gets done and I don't have to do it all. It's still hard sometimes--I have to leave the kitchen when he washes dishes or I just know I'll butt in and take over--but I'm getting better. And you're right--there is such freedom to be found in sharing the load.

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