Love Focused Living
Strengthening ourFaith ~ Growing in Love
©2013 Bob and Judy Hughes, Love Focused Ministries, All Rights Reserved
Why Do We Try To Control?
By Bob Hughes
The answer is quite simple. We think control guarantees us the life we want. We try to control because we’re trying to guarantee the outcomes we think we need. Obviously, the benefits to having control are very attractive. We think if we can achieve our Outcome Focused Goals, we could create heaven on earth and we would be perfectly happy. Unfortunately, trying to create heaven on earth is more likely to create hell on earth for others and ourselves. Ironically, our efforts to try to control things can often cause us to be more out of control.
The need to control destroys individuals, families, marriages, relationships, churches, businesses, and even whole nations. Instead of getting a message from a controller of love, acceptance, and care, a person is more likely to get the message that he or she is incompetent, worthless, unacceptable, inadequate, and unloved.
What Lies Beneath Control
Fear and anxiety drive controllers. At the core of their anxiety is a fear of not having their needs completely met. As a result, they are driven by a fear of failure, being hurt, criticized, abandoned, disappointed, rejected, or humiliated. Controllers hate to be vulnerable, and consequently try to control all areas of their own lives, as well as everyone else’s. They commonly think, “If I’m not in control, then someone else is,” and that is too scary to allow.
Missing from the controller’s belief system is the conviction that God will give him the grace to deal with the pain of living in a fallen world. Thinking he is on his own, he becomes obsessed with getting rid of the reality of a fallen world. He is likely to spend much of his day unknowingly focused on trying to fix things in his world that are broken or that have the potential to cause pain. But God has never commanded us to repair the damage of the Fall. He simply asks us to trust him one day at a time until one day He makes things right.
Because control is such a core part of our fallen human nature, so is the false belief that there is an A action that will lead to the B result we want, if we can just figure out the right formula. I remember one client who told me the most terrifying thing we discussed in her counseling sessions was the reality that she did not have control over people and things. I remember her asking me with anger in her voice, “You mean I have to give up all my control to God?” After I reminded her she didn’t have any control to “give up to God,” I encouraged her to begin acknowledging the reality that she did not have control, but God did.
Rather than trusting God to be in control, my client had unknowingly become committed to trying to control her own world. When we think we have control, there is no need to trust God. Consequently, the more we accept that we do not have control, the more it makes sense to trust God.
Since we try to control because we think we need things to be a certain way, the solution to trying to control is to trust God for the outcomes of our life. Instead of believing that our way is best, we need to trust that God's plan is better. Because God is in control, I can trust Him to work things together for good (Romans 8:28). I do not have to try to control things because God already has things under control. Believing that, I can trust Him for the outcome, relax, and focus on what I do have control over, namely loving Him and loving others.