It was always the hard moments. Circumstances of my past had led to a deep need to control as I walked into womanhood. When I could smoothly operate my personal sphere of influence, I was the one who benefited. If I could sway the majority opinion, I felt at ease. Having to control arose from the fear and uncertainty that came with living.
I realized that when I tried hardest to influence others with my hidden agendas, nothing healthy or meaningful came from it. Strained relationships continued, unmet goals were dashed, unanswered prayers never came to be because I was guilty of frustrating what God had in store for me. I’m learning that the need to remain in control is spiritually draining.
Why Do We Crave Control?
Controlling behaviors sometimes stems from trials and difficulties: old childhood wounds. Difficult marriages. Domineering parents. Hidden pain or insecurities. Fear of the future.
We may feel at ease when able to maintain a difficult situation. Being able to effectively handle trying times may have meant that others leaned on us when life brought its challenges. And before you know it, having to be in complete control becomes a habit.
I’m guilty of wanting to right the wrongs that my own daughters experienced as if I could prevent them from emotional pain. But maybe that wasn’t what God wanted me to do. Maybe they needed to learn from their own mistakes.
Selfishness also breeds controlling behaviors. Controlling people want their lives to go their way. We hope to influence others, regardless of their own hopes and desires.
We feel at ease if we’re able to maintain a situation. Humans are wired for control; perceived threats induce vigilance. It’s as old as ancient cave dwellers who sought safety as they hunted game and gathered grain.
But trying to remain in complete control only brings temporary security. Those who seek to reign over their environments will realize that life happens, regardless.
When You Let Go, You Let God
I was at crossroads about a month ago. My heart was set on traveling south for a writing conference. I’d paid a deposit. Checked out the workshops, circled classes which peaked my interest. I broke down the cost and even put in for personal days at work.
But more pressing matters beckoned. Important bills. Needed car repairs. Experiences that my daughters wanted to enjoy. I let go of what I was trying the hardest to control—my writing ministry. I needed to give up what would bring me temporary happiness for more important concerns.
How Does Surrender Feel?
Peace abounds when one lets go. Ulterior motives or manipulation falls by the wayside. Through surrender, God is able to shape private destinies. New paths waiting to be discovered. Experiences meant only for you. I have to remind myself that God is the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2, ESV). Maybe the story that God is writing for your life is different from what you desire. Are you okay with that?
Maintaining Control is Exhausting; Surrendering is Peaceful.
When I tried to do things in my own strength, nothing of lasting importance came to fruition. But when I let go of what mattered most—God was able to operate in His full glory. Smooth transitions came through my surrender.
What Happens When You Fully Surrender? 5 Wonderful Things:
1. You allow God to operate in the areas of life that matter most to Him. Trust that He will handle small desires and big requests in His time, not yours.
2. Relinquishing control frees you from the burden of stress. You save precious mental energy by realizing that Christ will fulfill the destiny that’s best for your unique personality…your unique calling.
3. You show others what trusting God looks like. And sometimes being a living testimony is the best way to show others what faith looks like here on earth.
4. It is through surrender that believers are illumed to key players in their unique story: people and places and things which come only by yielding.
5. Giving up our own desires and needs for the sake of God’s grander purpose is beautiful altruism which blesses others.
Individual destinies come to fruition when one let’s go of the need to maintain order. We must yield our desire to control. Our All-Knowing God knows what’s best for our lives, our children, and our destinies.
Jessica Galán encourages her readers to embrace malleability in the midst of life’s difficult moments. She spends her day teaching amazing students from diverse backgrounds in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She’s wife to a super-creative man and the proud mother of three resilient young women. She’s served as a writing facilitator for Lysa TerKeurst through COMPEL Training. She enjoys daily cups of steaming hot café con leche and breaks out in sporadic salsa dancing when no one’s looking. You’ll find her stories at www.malleableheart.com. Connect with her here: Twitter || Instagram ||Facebook