DO you have ‘control issues’?

If you happen to be someone who knows how prone you are to feel as if you need to control things or people in your life AND you want to change, then here is the secret to that change: change what you’re most convinced of in your life.

In order to do this, however, you need to be honest with yourself (and a handful of others around you) about what you believe and what you’re most convinced of regarding what is true, right, good and best. There is a deep connection between what you believe to be true about your life, yourself, your relationships, the world around you and even God himself, and the actions and behaviors you exhibit, including the things you say and things you feel. The connection is so deep and powerful, you may not even be aware of it.

Symptoms of ‘control issues’

Here are a handful of symptoms to help determine whether you may have control issues:
From a Behavioral Standpoint:
1) You don’t accept feedback very well or request input because you know your right
2) You don’t ask for help because you don’t you feel you need it
3) You don’t delegate because it’s better if you just do it yourself

From an Emotional Standpoint:
You get Anxious, Angry, Fearful or Depressed when:
1) Others give the “wrong” feedback
2) Others don’t do what you’ve ‘kindly’ asked
3) Others ask too many questions

From a Spiritual Standpoint
1) You don’t actually pray
2) You don’t actually read/believe the Bible
3) You don’t actually serve Christ

A Visual Aid

The Control Feedback Loop (General)

This visual aid is designed to us picture this process:

, We believe something to be true, something important, something right, something good, something we hold in the highest regard.
Secondly, We live for that something. Our core belief leads us to live a life in a manner consistent with that belief.
Thirdly, We are empowered, fueled and driven by something that keeps us going day-to-day. This power is love of the thing we believe.
Fourth, Our love is taking us somewhere. In the long run, we get something out of it. In the end, we will be like something or someone. Who or what are you becoming?

We all have control issues

By this point, I’ve tried to paint a broad enough picture to help us realize that in reality, we all have ‘control issues’. The problem really isn’t so much identifying whether we have it (because we know we do); rather, the problem is to what degree, and to what degree are we aware of what drives or “empowers” our need for control.

Another way to think about this – what are you most controlled by? Our growth in understanding of what it is we are controlled by helps guide our behavioral, emotional and spiritual life toward our idealized aim. However, so many of us live for things that ultimately have no meaning, or for things that end up spoiling or fading away over time. We take hold of things and keep a tight grip on that which will turn out to be nothing on the day of our death. I like to say – we will take nothing with us when we die. If that is true, then why do we need so much control over things or others?

I want to propose to you that the gospel is our antidote to our control issues. In this case, the process of applying the antidote is us wrestling with growth toward the idealized aim of Christ-likeness. We will be empowered by the love of Christ as we believe more and more the fact that he died and rose. And he died so we may live for him…that we might be like him.

the control of Christ

The antidote to our control issues rests in the degree to which you are convinced of or the degree to which you have concluded that the gospel actually compels your behaviors.

This isn’t to say that the gospel is compelling your behaviors. Which is to say, just because you’re a Christian and you believe the gospel in your head, doesn’t mean you’ve resolved the control issue per se. Rather, it is the degree to which you have resolved in your heart and mind how the truth of the gospel will manifest in your behaviors, relationships, your emotional life and spiritual life.

The power and truth of the gospel can’t but help provoke a certain response for those who believe it to be true. The most important behaviors you can exhibit as a Christian is one of love. But not just any love – the love of Christ. The love we have as Christian has a unique orientation. Our love begins with a person and is, according to the gospel, entirely controlled by this person – Jesus.

In Part 2, I will unpack specifically what the Bible has to say about our control issues.