Tackling Control Issues Ruled by Fear

I am a control freak.

It’s not fully my fault. As my mother and I discussed the other day, I am a control freak who was raised by a control freak.

It makes for a terrible combination.

One of the biggest problems with this is it really gets in the way of living by faith. Have you ever seen the OneTimeBlind skit about the girl who puts Jesus in the driver’s seat, but then keeps taking back control over the little things, until finally Jesus is no longer leading in any way?

I have a massive habit of doing that. I go through this big spiritual revival, and I hand everything over. There is a commitment made on my part, but then life gets rocky.

Life gets hectic, life gets shitty, and I start to take back the reins.

Those of us who have control issues take control back for a myriad of reasons. Some, it’s because they feel they can do it better than God, others they can’t trust; for me, it’s a need to prove I can do it.

We recently started a series at one of our study groups called ‘Breathing Room’ by Andy Stanley, and one of the things he talked about as a driving factor behind how we run our lives was fear.

Though I have spent years trying to deny this, everything I do is driven by the fear of disappointing. By the fear of not being good enough. By the fear of failure.

An example of this was when I recently had to face the fact the depression caused by my Bipolar was too much for me to handle. Even though the logical, rational side of me knew this is simply the nature of the beast, I had to ask my psychiatrist if this was my fault–if I was a failure for not being able to keep the depression at bay.

I have to control everything because if I can control it, I can make myself avoid failing.

At least, that’s what the control freak whispers in my ear.

The past two years have been odd with my faith. I have both been closer to God than I have ever been while simultaneously being further from God than I have ever been.

This isn’t entirely a new revelation for me; I realized almost a year into my deconstruction process that while I’ve been trying to figure this all out, I have kept God at an arm’s length.

Close enough to reach out and connect with him when I feel I’m doing well with something in my faith. Far enough away that I can prove I can deconstruct and reconstruct all on my own.

It took listening to the first part of Andy Stanley’s series to finally realize I can’t do it on my own.

You see, I’ve allowed God control when it comes to helping me understand and recognize new things. I’ve let the spirit guide me in fully understanding things about scripture I never did before.

But much like the way I dealt with my schoolwork, my relationship with God has become purely academic.

When I sat down to really think and pray about this, the reasoning rooted within the fear became clear. Much like I set too high of expectations for myself on my writing, my art, my everything, I have done it with my faith.

I set the bar for myself, saying I could not be near to God again until I had everything figured out. Prayer was not possible because of how I felt about the ways we pray and treat God. Giving him my heart wasn’t possible because I was skeptical of the feel-good ways of North American Christianity, and I didn’t want to give him my heart until I knew what a relationship with him should look like.

Though I have toted the line ‘God meets us where we are at’ so many times to other people, I’ve set the bar for myself higher than that.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to reconstruct. How to take the knowledge I have gained and get back to a full relationship with God.

It turns out, the answer has been right in front of me the whole time.

God needs to be in control.

I’m not 100 percent sure how that will look yet, but if I want to move forward, I’m going to need to let go.

Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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