“Hi. My name is Nathan and I’m a ‘control freak.’ I haven’t tried to assume autonomous control of every aspect of my life for at least the past 30 minutes.”
Urban Dictionary says a control freak is: “Someone who has a compulsive need to control all aspects of his or her own life…”
If we’re honest, there’s a little control freak in all of us. Some have tamed the beast better than others, but every now and then it lurks its ugly head.
I’ve been thinking about what I observe to be man’s almost insatiable desire to control. How should Christians stand apart in this area from the world? As I reflected, I thought of 3 ways in which Christians can crush their “inner control freak.”
Remember the Gospel
If you remember the gospel, you’ll crush your inner control freak.
Remember, the bad news of the “gospel” is that you cannot save yourself. You are guilty before a holy God and are without hope within yourself. Redemption is totally outside of your control. However, the good news of the gospel is that another, God Himself, has taken control of redeeming a people for His glory. God is the One who is active in sending His Son to redeem a people. Jesus is the One active in the sense of willingly living, dying, and rising to redeem a people. The Holy Spirit is the One active, like the wind which “blows where it wishes” (John 3:8), drawing a people to the Father.
Our internal desire to “control everything” is a part of what we inherited from the first control freak. What was it that Adam did as soon as he experienced guilt and shame, realizing that he was naked? He took control, hiding from God and attempting to cover himself. His instinct was to cover himself when he should have called out to the only One who could cover him; God.
When your inner control freak rears its head, remember the gospel.
Return to Prayer
If you return pray, you’ll crush your inner control freak.
Just as a baby cries out to her mother when she is in need of food, revealing the baby’s helplessness, so Christians should cry out to their “Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9), revealing their helplessness. If you don’t pray often, or at all, have you considered it may be because you don’t think you need to pray? In your mind you’ve got things under control. Your intellect, charisma, wealth, or whatever, will get you through the day. The act of stopping to pray is an external, physical, symbolic, yet real expression that you don’t have everything under control. Prayer is you saying, “I’m not a control freak! God, please sustain me today in Your grace.”
Sometimes, one of the greatest blessings from trials and suffering is that it forces you to see your helplessness and it moves you to a deeper season of prayer. Don’t wait until life gets out of control to learn to depend on God in prayer. You need Him. He knows it. And He commands you to pray.
When your inner control freak rears its head, return to prayer.
Rest in God’s Sovereignty
If you rest in God’s sovereignty, you’ll crush your inner control freak.
God’s sovereignty in no way minimizes your responsibility to plan, prepare, and to use wisdom in all of your life, but it enables you to have right perspective. You can’t control everything. Being a control freak is a futile endeavor.
What do you call the One who has ultimate control over all things? God. So when your energy (obsession) is to focus on controlling things, it’s a subtle attempt to be god. You might not be trying to control the universe, but you want to be the god of your own life, or the god of your office, or the god of your current major project. It can be a fine line sometimes, but there is a difference between subtly usurping the place of God, and ruling, managing, leading, serving, under God in the area in which He has placed you.
When your inner control freak rears its head, rest in God’s sovereignty.
This week, as you’re desperately trying to control everything and its stressing you out and frustrating those around you, take a deep breath and:
- REMEMBER the gospel;
- RETURN to prayer;
- and then REST in God’s sovereignty
I needed this reminder. Did you?