Control vs. Trust
by DJ Sherwood
Like so many other hurts, hang-ups, and habits, trying to control others can be a way of coping with insecurities. Is there really anything to fear? Perhaps your own safety, the safety of others, or survival in this journey of life is at stake. If your sense of trust in God, other people, and especially in your parents or close family members was broken you may have used control to cope with circumstances and other people. You also may have been affected at an early age due to a natural disaster, illness, or war, for example, you learn to cope alone and try to control as much as you can without relying on others. This can cause you to become over-protective and hyper-alert to your surroundings—often making it difficult for you to get a good sleep, enjoy vacations or just relax in general.
Let’s use sleep as an example. The act of falling asleep requires you to let go of the conscious mind control and to trust your sub-conscious. After all, when you go to sleep, it’s only the conscious part of you that rests while the night shift takes over. When you stop trying to control everything your autonomic nervous system, smooth muscles and sub-conscious mind continue to work, digesting your food, replacing damaged cells and looking for creative solutions to keep you healthy. Letting go of conscious control, however, can be very difficult if you don’t trust that you’re connected to a larger support system beyond your conscious mind and its struggle to remain in control. Do you find yourself fatigued from stress and circumstances and have a difficult time getting to sleep or sleeping through the night? God built you in such a way that your body needs you to turn over your conscious mind every day to function in a healthy productive manner and the necessary step is to relinquish control and trust. Similar to falling asleep we must realize that we cannot control circumstances, relationships, finances, thoughts, feeling, and the overall pain of life but must let go of it all and trust God to take it and as we rest in Him He continues to work by digesting the circumstances, replacing the damaged emotions and thoughts, and looks for creative ways to keep you healthy.
Control Is Addictive
Just like many other addictive behaviors, once you’ve had a taste of control, you’ll find you always need more; you won’t be able to have enough control to feel secure, safe and invulnerable to loss and pain. Why? Because our security in this world is limited and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be invulnerable to hurt and loss. If, for example, you have a family history of money worries, you might try to control your spouse’s spending by creating a strict budget. Trying to control his or her spending won’t solve your addiction to control or your insecurity about money. Even more money won’t cure your habit of trying to calm these worries; you’ll just be grabbing for more control. You may have been abused as a child and you set out to protect your child by controlling every area in his/her life. Trying to control your child’s every move won’t solve your addiction to control or your own insecurities of being abused yourself. The more you control the less trust you have in other people and in time you will isolate yourself from everyone around you including God.
The Solution: Let Go and Realize You’re Supported
When you first learn to swim, you use your muscles to struggle and stay afloat. When you’re exhausted from all the hard work, you then discover the water holds your body and you can float almost effortlessly. It’s the same with learning to let go of struggle and control – stop trying to stay afloat God will keep you above the water. Simply let it go and trust God to take it. Relax and let Him do his thing. Next is find a support group of some kind in your area, I recommend a Celebrate Recovery® “Open Share” or “Step Study” group so that you can share your experiences with others that have been through exactly what you have been through and they can share their own experiences, strength and hope with you. Once you have found a group you can openly share with you will discover the blessing of being supported and realize that if you are not in control the world around you will still function and you can begin to enjoy life. Lastly, I recommend reviewing the 8 Principles found on this website. If you can begin making healthy choices these principles will help you in your journey towards giving up control and trusting God and God through others.