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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Control Freaks: SGI Week 2

This week in our She’s Got Issues (SGI) online study, we’re discussing Chapters 3 & 4, dealing with our Control Issues.

Chapter 3: I’m Not Controlling (I Just Like My Latte Extra Hot)

drives women crazy

Control, lately, has not been something I feel I have a whole lot of lately. A lot of things happening in my life seem utterly OUT of my control (pawn). However, because I feel our financial situation, my husband’s job situation, and my mother’s illness are out of my control—which they are—I then try to compensate in controlling other areas in my life.

Nicole Unice says there are three origins of control that are:

  1. Fueled by our beliefs (break it down to “expectations”)
  2. Tied to our understanding of God’s work in the world
  3. Our sin nature

I’m going to focus on number 1, because I fear that for a lot of women our expectations are our ultimate demise. We tend to go into nearly every situation in life with some sort of expectations, particularly men relationships. Am I right so far?

I have a dear friend who has such a desire to be in a relationship, that whenever she meets someone, she immediately starts mapping out her future with them. She begins to put those expectations on men before they even have a chance to get to know her. And she goes into those new relationships building up those expectations more and more, until they crash around her. And then she finds herself utterly crushed!

In essence, when we do this, we are trying to control our relationships, even sometimes before they happen. And we then start to burden the other person with those standards that may not be able to be met on their behalf. Then we’re devastated and miserable.

I didn’t know if I’d like my husband anymore than the friendship we had already developed before we started dating. So for the first time in my life, rather than bombard myself with “what if’s” and lengthy expectations, I instead ventured on to our first date clearly telling myself, “I like him as a friend. If nothing comes out of this, then I won’t be disappointed, because I’ll have had a very nice time with a friend.” I had no preconceived ideas of what would happen or what “could” happen. I just let it happen.

That was the best thing I ever did in my life! To this day, I don’t put expectations on my husband…even when I want to.

“The very thing she’s trying to control is controlling her.” (pg. 40)

I have like ten stars marked next to this quote. How about you?

A month before my husband’s seasonal job was getting ready to come to an end, I was already focusing ALL of my attention on our budget months down the road. I was frantic and stressed. I was scared and depressed. I spent hours and hours each day just staring at our monthly budget hoping I had made a mistake somewhere. I became utterly obsessed with it. The very thing I was trying to control was not only out of my control, but it was soon controlling ME!

Do you know what we call that? Idolizing.

Idols aren’t merely “false god” statues. They can be anything that takes our sites off of God. Our lack of finances had become my idol. I couldn’t think or see straight. It was driving me insane. I finally had to hand the budget and all of our financial details over to my husband. The worse part about that was another control issues of mine: would he be responsible with the finances? would he make sure the bills were paid? I handed over one control issue and exchanged it for another one.

“…contrary to popular culture’s promise that, as an independent woman, you’ll have freedom! Rather, ‘you are slave to whatever controls you’ (2 Peter 2:19).” (pg. 40)

“Loving others is harder when your primary concern is maintaining command over your own circumstances.” (pg. 40)

I found that during my financial breakdown, I had no time for anything or anyone else. I hated everything and everyone around me. I was irritable, angry, disappointed, jealous of others, and downright edgy.

“Fear and pride are often the deeper motivators behind our control issues… Pride disguises itself as common sense and knowledge and hard work.” (pg. 48)

Chapter 4: Surrendering the Kung-Fu Control Grip

surrendering to God

I described in a previous blog, Who We Are, several weeks ago that if we were Donald Trump’s children, we would never doubt who we were or what we were capable of achieving. Being children of God makes us inheritors to the Kingdom of Heaven…and earth!

Nicole breaks it down for us in three truths about our role in ruling:

  1. We were made to rule: “God gives us the innate desire to rule our environment, to ‘take charge.’” (pg. 53)
  2. Our influence aligned with God’s influence=unstoppable power: “Choosing to be satisfied with our positioning, orbiting around the Son.” (pg. 56)
  3. Choosing to lay down our kingdom is a lifelong event: “I’d love to know when to ‘speak the truth in love’ and when to ‘let love cover a multitude of sins.’” (pg. 56, 57)

Most people understand the concept of surrendering to God, but have no clue how to do that. It’s not that we don’t want to surrender, we just don’t get what that means entirely.

After my last horrific, abusive relationship, I found myself slipping into old relationship patterns. I didn’t WANT to be in those types of relationships, but I often found that it was all I seemed to have. I realized that maybe it wasn’t 100% of the men’s fault. Maybe—just maybe—I had something to do with this problem.

I didn’t want to go down that road again. I couldn’t. And after a very in-depth evaluation of my relationship patterns, I realized I could not be trusted in choosing a man. So I turned to God. I quite honestly and frankly told God, “I’m not good at this! In fact, I’m quite terrible! I just can’t seem to make good decisions when it comes to men. I have to give this to you, Lord, because I don’t trust myself anymore. If that means I may possibly be alone for the rest of my life, it’s better than the alternative of continuing down this destructive path. And if that is your plan for me—to be alone—then You must have a reason for that”

My prayer was much more extensive than that, but you get the gist. My point is, I had to totally let it all go. I had to accept that that part of my life was no longer in my control, but now in God’s. I decided I had to fully trust God, no matter what the outcome. And I accepted my fate.

I won’t lie. God threw some woozies at me. He tossed a few of my old “types” my way, but at the first sign of possible recklessness, I called it quits. Something I had NEVER done in prior relationships. And then God sent Jared…my husband. And with having no expectations and fully trusting God, I’m now in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in.

So then…how do we “surrender”? Nicole supplies us with a list of ways:

  • Surrender as posture: training and discipline, submitting to God’s Word as the authority of our life
  • Surrender as a habit: “God does not want our submission to be that of a cowed puppy, ears down, whimpering in His presence. Rather, our surrender comes in a shout or a whisper or a cry that says, ‘I give you all I have, and I accept what you give. Even when nothing around me looks good, I’m believing you are still—and always will be—good.’” (pg. 65)
  • Surrender by check-in: Just whose interests do you care about?
  • Surrender by acting on our God-given influence: Getting honest with God and letting God intervene. “Influence grows as a result of [her] surrendering and the change of [her] behavior.” (pg. 71)


TO DO This Week:

  • Answer the journaling exercises in the book for Chapters 3 & 4
  • Watch the videos by Nicole for Chapters 3 & 4 at http://www.shesgotissuesbook.com/
  • Pray for our group: for healing, restoration and renewal.
  • Be accountable for your progress within the group and make sure to encourage one another. Remember—we are each other’s cheerleaders!


Discussion Questions

Answer in the comment box below:

  • From Chapter 3’s, “Are You a Control Freak?”, are you a king or a pawn?
  • What areas in your life do you tend to overcontrol or undercontrol?
  • Read Isaiah 30:19-26. Where do you need to trust God to respond regularly, instantly, and specifically in your life?
  • Have you experienced God using trouble to teach you? What did you learn?

I look forward to hearing from all of you!

Have a blessed week.

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