I love this post and would encourage men to read it!!
Currently I'm reading a book called "Prone to Love" by Jason Clark. I have not finished the book but will post another post when I have finished it. His premise of the book is that we are a culture driven by need. I need a house, a boat, a car, a better job, a fix to my mood, a snack, whatever it may be, we're driven by need. He says that the heavenly perspective and kingdom is not one that is driven by need but by love. God's love "trumps" need and when I know how loved I am need takes its rightful place.
In this field I hear needs all day and to a degree I feel my own every day. What blows my mind about God's perspective is that when I encounter His love then my need doesn't go away but no longer consumes my every thought. When I know how loved I am then it allows me to not only love myself, but then love others. As Mike Wells says, "The lesser always gives way to the greater." My need what ever it may be is shadowed by God's love.
I find it interesting when I am trying to get my "need" met in another human being, I can never love that person. Like I said earlier in contemplating Chris Legg's idea "that when I put conditions on love, then it becomes a wage," I can never give someone love if I'm trying to get something from them, whether is love, acceptance, security, sex...
I believe that it is equally important to know that now that I have Christ as my life I have a new heart and that new heart is prone to love because of Christ. No longer am I prone to wander, that's what I did before Christ (and when I do it never works), but now love is my new language like Paul says over and over in the Epistles.
As I was thinking about this an old song came to mind, "It was my sin that held him on the cross." I thought to myself "wow" but as I went down that trail the Holy Spirit whispered to me "no, Zach, it was my love for you that held me there". WWWOOOOOOWWWW!!! The lesser always gives way to the greater. When I know how loved I am, sin takes its rightful place and I shift my focus from all my shortcomings to Christ!!! What a God we serve!
Once I realize God is in control, I have a daily, moment by moment choice to let him be in control. It goes back to the original temptation, "you will be as god". When I control in essence I'm saying to myself and others, "I'm god" and don't need God.
This statement is not intended to condemn or put a guilt trip on anyone, rather to free us from having to play god in our daily lives. I know that there are a lot of things keeping me from trusting God and having a true understanding of His love for his children, but it's ironic because us trying to control our lives is the very thing keeping us from experiencing that abundant life He promised.
I have to realize I have control of myself in the sense that I have control over my thoughts and feelings, my choices and how I handle the consequences of those choices, responsibilities and boundaries. It is very empowering when I realize that I can control these things, I don't have to worry about controlling others or my environment. God frees us from offense (others actions controlling me) when I begin to trust Him to be in control and take ownership of the things that I can control.
There is a great definition of progress. It's not where I end up, rather it's finding out along the way what doesn't work and then making appropriate changes to change course. A control freak doesn't realize they are controlling, but when God starts to reveal it then heal it, a control freak needs to have the grace on his/herself to realize they are a work in progress.
Control in itself is not bad when in the appropriate hands, but when in the wrong hands it can be devastating.
What are your thoughts?
I have been interacting with a lot of people who have had struggles with control. I myself am, to some degree, a control freak as well. I like to have things a certain way and when they don't go as I planned, I find myself stuck in paralysis of analysis. My family will tell you that it takes me a while to adjust to doing something different if I have a certain thing or way of doing things stuck in my mind. Part of that is personality and part of that is control.
The scary part is when we begin to control others because we feel to a degree that we can't control ourselves. Control is both a learned behavior and a coping mechanism to feel safe. People try to control every aspect of their lives, from their pets to their kids, from their friends to their spouses, from their yard to their money. Control comes in a variety of flavors like manipulation, guilt trips, grooming (giving wanted items to get desire behavior), anger, gossip, depression, anxiety, and all other degrees of our flesh (trying to do things apart from Christ). It's interesting that in Galatians 5, Paul addresses these very issues as things that bind us rather than free us.
I think the first part about being free from control is recognize that one, I'm trying to gain it in a situation, or two I've given it away to another. When I'm angry and my "buttons" are pushed, I give my control over to another because I allow them to cause a reaction in me. If I'm trying to gain control I use my anger to make others cower in my presence. Either way most of the time people don't realize they're doing it. Maybe subconsciously, but when others bring it to their attention they usually deny it. Recognizing and admitting it is a big first step!
Once I recognize it, I have to realize that the only person I can control is myself and sometimes that's hard. I also have to realize how little control I have and ultimately the one who is in control (God) is bringing me to a point where I see that only he is in control....
to be continued....