Friday, November 04, 2016

The Bondage of Controlling Other People

Monroe County

Some people are control freaks, and some are controlees. Many marriages are the coming together of these two types. Every control freak needs a controlee, and vice versa. There are a lot of "Master/slave" marriages out there.

We all struggle with the control thing. I know I have. "Control" is the antithesis of "trust." Trust is huge in the Jesus-life, and life in general, since we control so very, very little. Keith Miller writes: "control is the major factor in destroying intimate relationships." (Compelled to Control: Recovering Intimacy in Broken Relationships, 7) This includes our relationship with God, because without trust it is impossible to please Him.

Why do we do this? Why do we try to control others (even while we can't control our own selves, being out of control and lacking self-control)? Miller writes:

"The fear of being revealed as a failure, as not being "enough" somehow, is a primary feeling that leads to the compulsion to control other people. When we were children, the fear of being inadequate and shameful was tied to our terror of being deserted or rejected and we had little control over getting what we needed. To counteract that basic terror, we have evidently been trying all our lives in various ways to "get control" of life. This includes controlling other people." (14)

A controlling person is an un-free person. I like the way Richard Foster once put this: God wants to free us from the terrible burden of always having to get our own way. "Walking in freedom" and "controlling other people" ("always getting our own way") are antithetical.

I'm praying to be less controlling, and more trusting in God when it comes to other people. Note: this is about trusting God even when you don't trust other people. To trust God when around distrustful people
is an experiential act of freedom. Plus, we really cannot control another person, right? A controlling master might get a slave's body to obey, but they will never capture their heart.

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I have, for a long time, admired the writings of J. Keith Miller. Many years ago Linda and I read The Taste of New Wine. I read Keith's A Hunger for Healing, which was a killer book for me.

Note: If you are a controlee who cannot set boundaries, you must read Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No.