A few months back, I wrote a post about the importance of Simplifying My Life and why I have chosen to do so. Since then, I have found that, above all – above simplifying my wardrobe, organizing my clutter or getting rid of any toxic relationships – the number one thing that I need to simplify are my emotions – specially my tendency to control everything around me.
I have chosen to be intentional about simplifying, knowing that it will bring freedom, just as clearing clutter brings a breath of fresh air. Some of the emotions that we allow to reign in our lives are stifling. What emotion suffocates you? At this point in my life, mine is control. It is a mindset that mentally and physically exhausts me.
I strive to control, to the best of my ability, everything in my life: my husband, my schedule, other people’s timing, other people’s sin, how friends and strangers view me, the obsession of wanting to be a perfect mom with an immaculately clean home – the list is endless. I have become so accustomed to this control that I often live it out without even realizing it.
I am controlled by a (very illegitimate) fear of my husband having an affair because of my history with extremely unhealthy and ungodly relationships. In response, I have found myself acting as Jesse’s God rather than as his wife – trying with all of my heart and might to “save” him from certain struggles or preventing specific actions. Instead of breathing life into our marriage, I am draining it of joy.
I am controlled by worry of not “being enough” as a mom. In response, I exhaust myself by controlling our schedule and filling it up until we no longer have time to rest.
If I’m honest with you, I am so incredibly exhausted. It’s draining to live my life this way. When I control people, my intentions initially begin with a desire to “help”, but instead, I destroy. And my destruction quickly becomes demolition. Isn’t that ironic? I have somehow convinced myself that by controlling, I am building up and “fixing” the people around me, when instead I am breaking them down.
Here’s the thing: I never realized how much this struggle could affect my life. In moments when people would lovingly address it with me, I refused to see or hear the truth. I didn’t want to believe that I needed a lot of work in this area. I ignored the signs right in front of me and turned the opposite way.
Sweet friends – what do you see in yourself, or do others see in you, that you know needs to be changed but you choose to turn the other way?
Do you struggle with control?
Here are a few examples of how control can reign in our lives:
Constantly correcting others.
Talking excessively rather than listening.
Isolating people from other friends or family.
Providing chronic criticism instead of praise and encouragement.
Offering conditional love based on other people’s accomplishments.
Feeling frustrated when someone doesn’t take your advice.
Spying, snooping or desiring constant disclosure from a spouse or friend.
Teasing or joking with a demeaning or spiteful undertone.
Manipulating a situation to make someone feel guilty for something they didn’t do.
It’s likely that we know a friend or family member who struggles with some of these. There are also some that we personally battle with daily. I pray that we will fight the urge to control others in our lives and realize that this struggle can break down the people that we love the most.
I wish I could say that I have overcome this. The truth is that I’m not even close. I must continually ask for forgiveness and turn from this struggle in the moments when I find myself choosing control over freedom. I pray for a simplified heart, one that lives in peace knowing that I can just “accept” rather than “fix” because God is in control of all things. I will continue to seek Jesus through His word which has proven over and over again that it has the power to change my heart; I can’t “do more” or “try harder” to be a good person; I have seen that my own efforts to do so are often futile and temporary, but Jesus has always shown me that His pruning is valuable and permanent.
I strongly believe that the Enemy loses his power over our struggles once they’re brought into the light. Bring your battle to the light today, let freedom and peace rule your heart and choose to stop believing the lie that you can’t conquer these emotions. You have all of the ability to do so through Christ who strengthens you.
I have to acknowledge, again and again, that I am an incredibly imperfect person who needs a Savior. I can choose to accept the sweet, free gift of Grace offered to me by my King who brings Hope. A King whose grace is so much greater than my sin. A King who restores what I have broken – over and over again. And with that, I just have to rest. To be still and know that He is God.