Secrets keep you “sick.” It’s truth.
If you want to beat a compulsion or addiction the first step is to admit there’s a problem. You have to admit it to yourself and then to other people. The Bible even recommends it: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
Hello. My name is Mimi. I’m a control freak.
Over the years I have caused myself so much anxiety and unnecessary stress because my little perfectionistic, likes to have a plan, very busy self feels like I know how things should be. My tendency is to, often subconsciously, try to manipulate and control people or situations to get the outcome I think is best. Just being real, peeps. Anyone feeling me out there?
I’m blessed to have some people in my life, who, along the way have helped me (and still help me) to see this problem and gently bring me to those so important places of realization which leads to being humbled which leads to saying I’m sorry which should lead to me doing less of the aforementioned attempted controlling. That is the ideal anyway!
I can remember a Sunday years ago when my husband (the pastor) woke up sick and our associate pastor was home with a broken foot. I got to church and started trying to figure out what to do for the service. Our associate’s wife, Sister Toni, suggested I call her husband for some input, so he could share some words from the Lord to help with the message. I said, “That’s okay, I think I’ll be fine” to which she replied, “You’re not going to call a man of God to get a word from the Lord for today?” Point taken. Inside I repented of thinking it was all up to me and called Pastor Harlem. He did have a word for me to share. Then my friend, Courtney stepped up and led some songs with his guitar. My friend, Deborah, said she could offer a praise dance, and the service was beautiful: the community of faith all contributing to worship. It was so much better when I let go and stopped trying to work it all out by myself.
This year, so far, a common theme keeps coming to the forefront in God’s side of the conversation when I pray and while I’m going about my day: humility is good, pride is not. Control freaks have a pride problem. It’s not fun to think about or pretty, but it’s true.
Trying to get the outcomes I think are best means I think my way is best which is pride.
Trying to “help” people in my family have better relationships with each other or have a relationship the way I think they should have one means I believe they need to relate the way I relate to others, or communicate the way I’m most comfortable, blah, blah = pride.
I confess that sometimes I don’t delegate like I should or share certain tasks because I want to be sure it’s done “right”, or in other words, the way I want or like. Arrogance.
I don’t enjoy sharing all of this but I’m trying to beat the beast inside by outing it.
Have you ever found yourself wearing your “Holy Spirit Jr.” cap and holding your proverbial clipboard up to God to convince him that your plan or dream or preference is the way to go? Neither have I.
I have apologized to my girls a few times for trying to help too much at times while they were growing up which revealed I didn’t trust them to make good choices on their own. Sometimes I hovered a little too closely which sends a subtle message of “I don’t think you can do this on your own so I’m helping.” In a way I was also telling God that I didn’t believe HE could guide and help them without me. Really, Mimi? It’s embarrassing.
God really called me out about seven years ago and showed me that I had, throughout all the years of ministry up until then, subtly (or not so much) tried to influence the way John, my husband, did his job as pastor. Whether oversharing opinions, giving feedback about how he was interacting with others, or even in the inner dialogue of wishing he would do this or that differently – of course, the way I thought he should – I was trying to control. My heart hurt. I apologized to John and told him that the next church we went to, I was intentionally stepping back and trying not to do that anymore. He graciously forgave me, but did say he felt that I was trying to “help” a little too much sometimes. I hate that I made him feel that way. Who am I to think I know better? My actions conveyed that I didn’t think he was good enough, either that or I didn’t believe God can lead and grow John without my help. Yikes.
Do you have those moments when you see the real you (before or without Jesus) and shudder? That sinful nature I was born with is sure ugly. I wish it wouldn’t keep cropping up. Even though I’ve asked Jesus to forgive me and I’m learning every day about living in His grace and freedom, I know I’ll have to keep battling that old nature until I get to heaven. I can’t wait to be free of that part of myself.
The only thing I can control is to acknowledge God is in control and surrender to Him. That is it. I can open my hands and let go of false control. I can stop striving so much to finish this journey of life as a solo act. Over and over I remind myself that He is God and I am not, that He is Creator, I am the created, that He knows best and I am waiting for Him to say what, where, when, and how.
I joke with God that I don’t like to pray for Him to humble me, because that means He is going to…humble me. It always hurts, sometimes a little, often times a lot. But that is nothing compared to God-in-the-flesh Jesus kneeling before his friends, ordinary men, and washing their feet. Nothing I endure could compare to him facing ridicule, torture and death willingly for my sake, for yours.There is no place for pride in following that kind of Savior.
Father God, Papa, You know how much I need Your help. Please forgive me my prideful attitude, humble me, and remind me as often as I need it that YOU are in control and I should just trust and follow You. I love you.
“It’s time to get down on my knees and pray, ‘Lord, undo me. Put away this flesh and bone til you own this spirit through me, Lord. Undo me.'” – Jennifer Knapp