On Being Controlling

im not bossy2

I really like the TV show, “Parenthood.”

Sometimes it’s hard to get my husband to watch it with me, because it hits a little too close to home. Many of the scenes displaying what it’s like to raise a young boy with Asperger’s could have been filmed in our house.* But it’s not just that. It’s also that one of the couples is a lot like my husband and me.

A recent episode addressed the wife’s control issues. It was painful to watch.

Hi, I’m Stephanie. And I am a control freak.

Being controlling is one of those socially acceptable addictions that doesn’t get called out as often as it should. But make no mistake: Being controlling damages the addict and everyone around them as well.

I’m really trying to grow in this area. For anyone else who has control issues, I thought you might appreciate these thoughts from Erwin McManus’ book, Uprising: Revolution of the Soul:

“The more self-oriented we are, the more controlling we are.”

Oh, how true this is in my own life. I have found that the extent of my control issues is inversely proportional to the amount of time with and trust in the Lord I am experiencing.

“We are willing to settle for the feeling of being in control rather than making the choices that will give us genuine freedom.”

I am learning to pause a bit when I feel that familiar urge rise up from within: The one that compels me to clamp down on everyone and everything around me. I’m learning to stop and ask myself “What is it I really want right now?” I catch myself believing that creating “order” (visualize the air quotes) will bring me the peace and security I long for. But only the Lord can provide those things.

I still have such a long way to go with this struggle. I fail more than I succeed. But with God’s grace I’m bringing it into the light and working toward change.

Fellow controllers: What resources have you found helpful as you wrestle with this issue?

*One of the producers of “Parenthood” has a grown son with Asperger’s. I am often amazed at—and always grateful for—how well he captures the experience of parenting an Asperger’s child. Not only in the big, overarching issues, but in the little details as well.

3 thoughts on “On Being Controlling

  1. Hi, I'm Casey! I'm a control freak too. And I like “Parenthood”:)
    Our staff team went through a workbook called The Gospel Transformation a couple of years ago and it was sooooo good. It really gets at idols and what is going on beneath the surface. I heard that Crusade has a condensed version called Gospel-Centered Living (it's on Crupress Green).


  2. Funny —I'm a friend of Casey's and am a control freak too! Maybe control freaks are drawn to each other! 🙂 I will def be checking out Gospel-Centered Living. I was going to say that we are reading How People Grow right now as a staff team and I was struck by this statement: “So many people's problems come from trying to control things outside of their control, and when they try, they lose control of themselves.” I read that and was like UGH — in my pursuit of control, order, etc I am actually MORE out of control and less of myself? CRAZY! But it does make sense. Good post — thanks!


  3. Thanks for the comments, fellow control freaks Casey and cafegirl! I've heard so many great things about Gospel Transformation…perhaps it's high time I actually got a hold of it and went through it! Love the quote from “How People Grow” too.


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