Who is in Control?


“I’m in control, never gonna stop, control to get what I want Control, I have to have a lot, control, now I’m all grown up” (Janet Jackson – “Control” 1986)

Janet’s song topped the charts because of the strong dance rhythms and catchy words. In addition, it topped the charts because most people desire control and can relate to the song.The need to control is an insidious powerful compulsion that can wreck relationships and even lead to murder in some extreme cases. Police can attest to the amount of restraining orders and domestic violence calls they receive because a person feels they are losing control in a relationship and resort to stalking and violence to regain it. The compulsion to control is characteristic of many people who experienced ongoing emotional pain during childhood.

When you grow up in a chaotic, dysfunctional environment, everything seems out of control. Stability is lacking everywhere. The child learns to not trust anyone because of the onslaught of disappointments they faced growing up. Control then becomes a survival mechanism to deal with the turmoil. The philosophy of the child becomes, control feelings, control situations, control people because if you succeed at controlling you won’t get hurt.

The problem arises when you realize you can’t control people, situations or in some cases your own feelings. Now what do you do? You become afraid of these feelings thinking that they can and will destroy you. So you bury these feelings yet they still live and sprout up to make you miserable. We daily see the bitter fruit of this compulsion to control in teen age pregnancies, addictions of many and varied sources, the “pimp and player” syndrome where it seems impossible to commit to one relationship, street violence and an increasing divorce rate even in our Churches.

The compulsion to control is repulsive and satanic. It along with pride and fear is at the root of every addiction. We mask that spirit in a cloak of denial confessing “I just have a strong personality”. The devil is a lie! A lack of trust in God is the real culprit that feeds this compulsion to control. Because we’ve been let down so much in our past it’s extremely hard for us to trust anyone – God included. In the back of our minds those little voices whisper, “Can I really trust that God loves me unconditionally? Will God do what He said He would do? Will God leave me like so many other people I loved left me?

These doubts nag at us and feed our compulsion to control people and situations believing the lie that we have more power than God. Here are 7 simple suggestions to build our trust in God and to overcome our compulsion to control:

1.) Acknowledge that the compulsion to control is a problem in your life and then ask the Holy Spirit to help you pluck it up by its roots. This may mean allowing the Holy Spirit to expose and heal some painful areas of your past – (Hebrews 12:15) “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;”

2.) Forgive people in your past who may have hurt and abandoned you. If they’re living pray and ask God to give you an avenue to express that forgiveness. If they aren’t living write them a letter of forgiveness; then burn it up releasing any negative emotions that are still present in your spirit – (Mark 11:25-26) “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

3.) Memorize at least 10 scriptures on trusting God. Then meditate daily on those scriptures until they saturate your spirit and you feel the compulsion to control loosening it’s grip on your mind and spirit – (Joshua 1:8) ”This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

4.) Realize that you CAN’T control people and most situations. The only area we CAN control is ourselves and our reactions to people and situations. Ask God to deeply plant the fruit of the spirit, self-control in our spirits, minds and heart – (Galatians 5:22,23) ” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and SELF-CONTROL…”

5.) “Let go and let God”! – (1 Peter 5:6-7) “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”